How To Make Pillow Covers With a Sewing Machine

The easy sewing technique to make a pillow cover of any size Without needed a purchased pillow sewing pattern from the fabric store.

I made four very easy pillow covers for my daughter’s apartment. Two using turquoise fabric from JoAnn Fabrics and two using woven rugs. 

Yes, woven rugs can be used to make this easy pillow cover using this method as well as any type of fabric or size pillow. You will see it at the end of this post.

How to make an a pillow cover for any size pillow the easy way. You can use fabric, rugs, or any textile to make a cover. Step-by-step photo tutorial shows you how over at In My Own Style. #pillowcover #DIYdecor #fabricpillowcover #pillows #easysewhomedecor

I only had 2 yards of fabric to work with and I wanted to cover the hand-me-down pillows for her bed as easily as I could since my sewing skills go no further than straight line stitching.

How To Make a Pillow Cover With a Sewing Machine

supplies needed:

  • Fabric – yardage will depend on the size of your pillow. For these large day bed style pillows  – I used a 2 yard length – cut in half length-wise. This was enough to cover two large pillows.
  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors

Since these directions are for any size pillow – you will first need to determine how much fabric you are going to need to cover the size of your pillow. After that is determined, the steps are the same no matter what size pillow you have.

To figure out how much fabric you will need to make a pillow cover:

Important: Wash fabric and dry to allow for shrinkage so if you ever want to wash the pillow cover, it won’t shrink on you and not fit when you go to put it back onto the pillow.

Measure the width and length of your pillow and double it, plus add a little extra to cover the loftiness of the pillow.

If you have fabric already – wrap it around the pillow to see if you have enough to cover it. I made two pillow covers using one – 2 yard length of fabric that I cut in half lengthwise so I had two long pieces of fabric.

Remember if your fabric has a pattern on it  – you will want to center that pattern on the pillow – so add that into the yardage needed.  Once you figure out the amount of fabric you will need – the rest is super easy.

In the photo below you can see how I wrapped the length of fabric around the pillow. The opening for the pillow will be where the two ends of the fabric meet and you must have enough fabric that these ends overlap.

Easy to make pillow cover tutorial

1.  Lay the fabric right side down and center a pillow on it. If you need to center it on the fabric pattern – do that.

Once you like the placement, bring the two opposite sides up and around to the top of the pillow and overlap them about 7 –inches on the top of the pillow.

If your fabric is longer, cut away the excess. (Once you finish the edges  – you will be left with a 5- inch overlap – plenty for stuffing in a pillow easily and keeping it from bulging out once it is inside the cover.)

Easy-to-make-pillow-cover tutorial

2. For the width of the pillow:  On one side of the pillow – bring the top and bottom fabric to meet at the center area on the side of the pillow – make sure you have extra for seam allowance.   Repeat on the other side.  If you have too much fabric – cut away what is not needed.

How-To Sew The Pillow Cover:

Lay the fabric right side down. You want to create finished edges where the overlap on the back of the pillow cover will be.  1.  Simply turn over one raw edge about 1/2 –inch. Press.  2. Fold over another 1/2-inch. Press. 3. Sew a straight line of stitches over the folded area.

Repeat on the other side of your fabric.

How-to-make-a-hem tutorial

It should look like this:


3. Lay the fabric right-side down on your work table and then fold over the finished edges to the middle of the fabric.

If you want the opening to be more to one end on the back of the pillow – that is fine. 

Use a ruler to mark 5 – inches for the overlap. (7-inches was what you measured for, but with an inch for each finished edge subtracted –you are left with 5-inches)


4.  Pin the sides together and sew a seam along each side. Remove pins

No Sewing pattern needed pillow cover

5. Turn fabric to right side.

No Sewing Pattern needed Pillow cover

6. Stuff pillow in.

Easiest-Pillow-Cover-to-sew tutorial

Optional:   This pillow had rounded corners. I left the corners on the cover squared-off, but you could sew a rounded line/seam around all the corners to get a more fitted look. How to make a pillow cover out of fabric without using a pattern

I didn’t get to take too many photos of my daughter’s bed once we had her all moved into her apartment.  This is the only one that did not come out blurry.  As you can see I used a small woven throw rug for a pillow that I found at Ross for $4.99.


This pillow cover made using a rung was even easier to make than the fabric version as as all the edges on the rug were already finished. 

All I had to do was wrap the rug around the pillow to see how much overlap it created – mark that measurement, turn the rug right side down on the work surface, bring the ends up to overlap, pin the sides together, and sew two seams – not too hard to make.

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  1. Great tutorial. Thank you

  2. I am trying ti find out how long is a full size bed pillow

  3. Julia @ It's Always Ruetten says:

    What a great tutorial! I am so glad I found your post via Pinterest! I have leftover Ikea fabric and an extra pillow laying around! I know what I’m doing tonight! haha!

    Thanks again!

    It’s Always Ruetten

  4. This was perfect timing, thank you so much! I had bought some vibrant, large flowered outdoor fabric to make pillows to go with our zero gravity chairs, but had put off making them because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do them….folded closure or zippered. Yesterday I decided I had procrastinated long enough and grabbed the 12×17-inch pillow form I’d gotten along with the fabric. Using your example, I quickly made my own and it’s GORGEOUS, if I do say so myself! Now, I’m off to JoAnn’s to get several more pillows….I need a few more….they really are outstanding against the white Adirondack chairs, too. Thanks again, Diane!

  5. We are expecting some of our friends overseas this weekend. So I’m in a rush to get some extra pillopillowcases done to give a vibrant look to our guest room. Thank you so much. You made my day.. it’s just wrap and stitch. .

  6. Thanks for this – I have some fabric, and now I have a no zipper cover I can make – easily! Your photos really help (and lovely fabric!) I’ll let you know if I write a post about it.

  7. Thanks so much for this tutorial– I’ve made 2 so far and thought it was a clear, easy-to-follow set of instructions! I sewed up the sides so that each side of the pillow had a seam, giving it a more “finished” look in my opinion. I loved that you didn’t have specific measurements, just enough information to customize it to the pillows I had. Thanks again!

  8. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    Fun and easy!! I like those projects best. I’ve done that for pillow shams for my bed…but silly me….never thought about doing that for decor pillows. I especially love the rug turned pillow!!!

  9. I’ve sewn for years, but your tutorial streamlined the process. I recovered two pillows today for my daughter’s dorm room. Thanks!

  10. Judy Clark says:

    Good tutorial to make a really neat pillow and do easy.



  11. Designed Decor says:

    Thanks, I have wanted to make pillow covers for my old pillows I have on my couch. This is great because my sewing skills are even less than yours, straight lines can be a challenge for me! This inspires me to just make them!

  12. FineHouse says:

    Great tutorial! The pillows turned out great!