If I had to choose one thing that would make the biggest impact on a space it would definitely be updating the throw pillows. If you have ever purchased a full set of throw pillows you know that it isn’t cheap. So today I am going to show you how to make your very own Easy DIY Throw Pillow Covers.
This is probably one of the easiest DIY projects and in my opinion, it saves the most money because let’s face it, most of us cannot afford to go drop $500 to $800 on a set of designer throw pillows. Once you learn how to do this you will be stunned at how easy it is and never have to purchase throw pillows again.
The best part about making a pillow cover is that you can toss them in the wash anytime they get dingy or baby spills a sippy cup on one. Purchasing pillows from a professional seamstress will no doubt get you a higher quality product and I am in no way saying that you won’t get what you pay for by going with a professional it is just that not everyone can afford to do so. Guess what? I am “everyone”!
The first time I tried this I had not sewn anything at all since junior high and I was a bit terrified I was going to totally mess up the fabric but they ended up turning out pretty good. So good in fact we were able to get two years worth of use out of them, which in my opinion isn’t too shabby.
So if this is your first time sewing I would recommend that you first get familiar with your machine. Get a basic knowledge of how to thread the machine, thread a bobbin and back stitch. The machine I have is perfect for small projects like this one and I have been able to figure it out very easily by just practicing and reading the manual.
The one I chose for myself is very affordable, you can find it here and I asked for it for Christmas which made it better in my mind since it was a gift and I didn’t have to just go out and buy it. The machine will no doubt pay for itself, I know mine sure has.
Again if you are brand new to sewing I recommend getting some scrap or cheap fabric and practice sewing a straight line before you dive in head first with expensive designer fabric.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information please see my Disclosures here. Please be assured I only add links to products I have personally used and/or recommend.
Fabric Calculate Yardage Needed
Thread (same color as fabric)
Note: For a 20″x20″ pillow cover you will need a 22″x22″ insert. Always go up a size so the pillow looks nice and full.
Step One: Measure and cut fabric to desired length and width, always make sure you leave at least 1″ to 1.5″ of extra fabric on all the way around to give yourself some breathing room. A good rule of thumb is to make your throw pillows at least 20×20. This is the typical size that most designer pillow covers are purchased as. If you would like to go larger you can do 22×22 or 24×24. Unless they will be used on a bed I wouldn’t go any higher than 24×24. On this set, I left around 2″ all the way around.
Step Two: Place fabric pieces pattern side down against each other and pin the sides.
Step Three: Place zipper (unzipped) face down against the bottom edge of the fabric and pin down the width of the zipper. Note If the zipper is too long for the pillow do not panic this isn’t a big deal at all and we will take care of that later.
Step Four: Now you are ready to sew one side of the zipper. Line the pinned area up and drop the needle down right around the head of the zipper. Begin to sew down the entire edge of the zipper, being careful not to sew onto the teeth (it will break the needle, trust me).
Step Five: Repeat step three on the top portion of the fabric. Pinning zipper and fabric in place.
Step Six: Repeat step five on the top portion. This side can be a little tricky for me because I am right handed, you will basically be starting at the opposite end than you did in step five.
Step Seven: Make sure the zipper closes correctly before proceeding to the next step. If it does not you will need to rip the seams you just put in and start over. If you do your best when lining the zipper and fabric up together this likely won’t happen and to date, it has never happened to me. Unfortunately, I forget to photograph this small step but do you remember that extra length of zipper we had hanging off? Go ahead and cut that even with the fabric. Don’t worry that you are cutting the stopper off because it won’t work wadded up inside the pillow anyway. Once you are sure the zipper closes correctly reach inside and unzip the zipper a quarter of the way, leaving plenty of room to get your hand inside once the top and sides are sewn closed.
Step Eight: Line up the fabric and drop the needle at least an inch in from the side as shown above. Begin to sew the side of the pillow closed, you will be sewing over the sides of the zipper teeth during this step and backstitching at each end. My machine has a small arrow button on the side that you can press and it will automatically back stitch for you. Seen in photo below.
Step Nine: Once the pillow is completely sewn shut we have two more small lines to sew that will act as your zipper stops. If you have purchased zippered pillow covers before you will see that right before you get to the end there is a two to three inch area that is sewn together. This is pretty hard to explain but I will do my best to show you in the photos above. Basically, you want to be on the inside of the zipper track and sew a straight line for a few inches then back stitch a few times to ensure it holds in place. You are basically just pinching that area together so the zipper will work properly.
Step Ten: Stick your hand inside and turn your pillow cover right-side out. While doing this check for any gaps or anything you may have missed. The first time I made one I actually sewed too close to the edge and there were several gaps in the fabric. This is why you want to make sure you start sewing at least an inch in. Use a chop stick or a pencil and gently push the corners out. Tada, you did it! You have just saved yourself a ton of money and I bet your pillow cover looks so good!
Pictured is the pillow cover I just made next to two pillow covers made by a professional. Yes, I have no doubt the professionals will most definitely last a bit longer since they have many things they do to ensure it doesn’t fall apart but I am perfectly happy with investing a little money and some free time into creating my own. The last set I made lasted for two years and typically I don’t leave the same covers on that long anyway since I change them several times a year depending on the season.
So let’s say over time you invest in the materials to make two to four sets and alternate them with the seasons, that means any one set won’t be getting too much use. In doing so you can easily have new looking pillow covers every few months and have spent about half the money. My favorite place to shop for fabric is Tonic Living and Fabric.com. If you sign up for their emails you will receive coupons and be notified of any sales they may be having.
Now that you have that sewing machine you can also check out my DIY Designer Curtains tutorial to save yourself even more money! Don’t forget to show some love and pin the image below!