DIY: The Easy Way to Sew a Throw Pillow Cover (a Beginner's Tutorial)

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by Robin

I love what throw pillow covers do for a room.  Pillows can take a boring couch you've had for 8 years and make you a little less bored with it - maybe even fall in like with it again!  They can bring a trendy colour or pattern into an otherwise neutral (or dated) room.

Throw pillow covers require very little commitment or cash.  Especially if you sew them yourself. 

An envelope style pillow is easy to make.  No really, it is!  They are quick and require only the ability to measure, iron, pin and sew in a straight line.  I know you can do it.  

Over the last few days I've made 5 pillows with a view to making a very simple tutorial for readers to follow, even if you've never sewed before.   (Truth be told, I also wanted to perk up my porch with some colour and softness.  Now that spring is here, I plan to log many hours lounging there.)

Don't you dare buy a sewing machine to do this.  I am willing to bet you have a friend or neighbour you could borrow a machine from.  Or maybe you've got a little handheld jobbie?  That's probably enough too.  The sewing bit of this pillow amounts to 6 straight lines.  You can totally do that.

Here's the tutorial...

The Easy Way to Sew a Pillow 

a Beginner's Tutorial


  • Pillow Form
  • Upholstery Fabric
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk



1. Measure your Pillow Form.  (My example here is 16"X16").

2. Use this formula to mark your fabric cuts with chalk.  (So far I've made 5 pillows with this same formula and they've all worked out great..if I do say so myself.)
  • Short side + 1 inch = Length (My example = 17")

  • Long side X 2.5 = Width  (My example is 16 X 2.5 = 40")

3.  Measure again to double check.  (Like my dad always says, "Measure twice.  Cut once!")

4.  Cut your fabric.

5.  With the best side of the fabric down, turn down the edges on the short side 3/4".  Press.  (Ironing can seem like a tempting step to skip - don't!  Nice crisp edges will make a world of difference to your finished pillow.)

6.  Turn down again 3/4".  Press.

7.  Pin.  Repeat on both short ends.

8.  Using a sewing machine, sew a straight seam along the edge of the fold.

9.  Repeat on other end.

10.  Centre your pillow form on the fabric.  Pull up the edges you just finished and overlap them.  With the fabric somewhat snug on the pillow, pin the overlap.

11.  Remove the pillow form.  Turn best side inside.  Make the overlap seam centred on the pillow.  (It won't look centred on the wrong side, that's ok, it only matters what the right side looks like.)

12.  Pin the open edges.

13.  Stitch a 3/4" seam on each side.  Go over both seams a second time (so that when your kids are bonking each other on the heads with them your pillow will remain unharmed).

14.  Turn right sides out. (The photo below makes me giggle.  Doesn't it look like it's saying, "Hey baby, how you doin'?" a la Joey from Friends?...ok, maybe it just looks that way to me...back to the tutorial...)

15.  Insert the pillow form.

16.  Pour yourself a glass of wine and toast your handiwork.

So, what do you think, are you going to give this a try?

If you're looking for more simple, useful sewing projects, check out these:


  1. This is exactly what I did in my living room with one important exception. I used old cushions that I didn't like anymore or didn't match my new couch and used those as pillow forms.

    It also meant that I could use a washable kid-resistent fabric!

    1. Thanks for your comment! Recovering old cushions is even more frugal! Indoor/outdoor fabric is great to resist kid dirt. ~ Robin

  2. Decorator pillows are a quick and easy way to perk up your decor. They can be very expensive to buy, but very easy and inexpensive to sew your own. Here is how to sew an easy, decorative pillow cover that takes very little time or effort. Even a beginner can do it!


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