Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pillow tutorial


I like throw pillows but there’s only so much room on the sofa and the bed.  There’s also only so much room in the closets for storage. The solution?  Make pillow covers that I can change out as the mood strikes.

To make a cover for an 18” pillow form you will need:
  • 18 1/2” top (I like it quilted, but a square of pretty fabric will do as well)
  • 2  fabric rectangles 18 1/2” x 13”
  • 2” piece of hook and loop tape (like Velcro) (optional)
  • 2 yards of 2” double-fold binding (optional)
Preparing the back of the pillow


Step 1: Take one of the 18 1/2” x 13” rectangles. Call it Rectangle 1.  Fold one long edge over 1”, wrong sides together, and press the fold.

Step 2:  Fold the fabric another inch, enclosing the raw edge.  Press the fold.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this step!)

Step 3:  Topstitch about 1/8” away from the folds, all along the length of the rectangle. Rectangle 1 should now measure 18 1/2” x 11” and one long side is hemmed with a 1” double-fold hem. 

Step 4:  Repeat steps 1 to 3 with the second rectangle.
To add a Velcro closure to your pillow cover, follow steps 5 to 7.

positioning velcro on pillowIMG_8784

Step 5: With wrong side of fabric facing up, position the the hook side of the Velcro halfway along the hem of Rectangle 1 and sew it securely in place.

measuring for velcro part 2 moire detailIMG_8786

Step 6: With hemmed edges overlapping, lay out both rectangles so that together they form an 18 1/2” square.  Measure the distance B (marked with a red arrow in the diagram above) from the outside edge of Rectangle 2 to the edge of the Velcro on rectangle 1.  The distance should be about 7 1/2”.
position velcro 2IMG_8794

Step 7:  Remove Rectangle 1.  With right side of the fabric facing up, position the loop side of the Velcro halfway down rectangle 2, a distance B away from the unhemmed long edge of the rectangle.
The back flaps of the pillow are ready.  Now you need to decide if you want to finish the pillow with or without binding.  The example on the left below has no binding.  The example on the right has binding.

Hearts pillowIMG_4647

Finishing without binding


Step 1: Layer the pillow top and Rectangle 1, right sides facing, matching raw edges, as shown above left.  Layer rectangle 2 over this, right side down, overlapping hemmed edges and matching raw edges of pillow top (see picture above right).  The two halves of Velcro should line up.  Pin everything in place.

Step 2:  Sew with a 1/4” seam allowance around all four sides of the square, backstitching at beginning and end to secure the stitching.

Step 3:  Turn pillow cover right side out, insert pillow form through the back, velcro the back shut and enjoy!

Finishing with binding

Step 1: Lay the pillow top wrong side up.  Layer Rectangle 2 over it, right side up, matching raw edges of rectangle and top (picture above left).

Step 2: Position Rectangle 1, right side up, overlapping hemmed edges and matching raw edges of pillow top (picture above right).  Velcro halves should line up.

Step 3:  Pin everything in place and baste all around the square with an 1/8” seam allowance.

Step 4: Bind as you would a quilt, using your favourite binding method.

Step 5:  Insert pillow form through the back of the pillow cover, Velcro the back shut and enjoy!



  1. I tend to stuff my pillows and sew them up. I never thought to swap coverings. LOL. I need to start doing that!

  2. I also add Velcro to my pillow covers. Glad to know I'm not the only one. Great tutorial.

  3. I have made many pillow covers like this, but haven't really ever changed them to something different. Great idea! Now, I need to think about making some more pillow covers! Hey! Maybe a snowflake pillow cover would be good for winter!

  4. I don't make a lot of pillows for the same reason: lack of storage space!
    Thanks much for the great tutorial which should solve that problem. ---"Love"

  5. Great tutorial, Joanne! I'm make a maple leaf pillow and I like the way you've done your pillow back, so I've pinned it for later.


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