DIY Pillow Covers : The Quick Version

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With minimal fabric cuts and minimal sewing, you can whip together a cute envelope pillow cover in no time!  Discover my super quick version for pulling together some diy pillow covers.   Get the full tutorial here.  

DIY Pillow Covers

I can’t exactly remember where I first learned how to make envelope pillow covers.  But it involved cutting three separate pieces of fabric, sewing all kinds of seams and ensuring everything lined up just so.   It can take a lot of time, patience and concentration.  One of the toughest things for me has always been cutting my seams straight.  How about you?  (Hint:  find your straight edge and line it up with the edge of a square table or counter.)

My version here has you making minimal cuts and is so easy and quick to complete.  No one will ever know you did it the cheap way.

Especially if you use the right pillow insert.  That is the key.  That’s really the key with all pillows – the insert just elevates it completely.

So, I had this super soft chambray fabric that I picked up on a whim.  I saw it on Amazon and thought, that’s a good price and I like the subtle texture and the pretty blue color.  So I bought it.  And it sat here just staring at me.  I finally decided I would make some diy pillow covers with it.

To give the pillow some more character, I also added some cute rope tassels to the corners.  And of course I stuffed it with a nice fluffy down insert.

Here’s how you do it …

Blue Pillow Cover
Blue Pillow Cover with Tassels

Materials Needed:

  • Sewing Machine and thread of your choice
  • Optional :  Rope for tassels (don’t laugh but all I had was cotton butcher’s twine.  And yep it worked like a charm. )
  • Fabric
  • Pillow Insert

Tutorial for Quick and Easy DIY Pillow Covers

I made a handy little diagram to help you visualize how to do this.  If you are making a different size pillow, just make the necessary adjustments.  The formula for the length of fabric needed is included below.

Diagram for sewing DIY Pillow Covers
  1. Start by washing and ironing your fabric.  The fabric will lay flatter after ironing and you can cut as straight as possible.  You won’t be making that many cuts but having everything nice and straight makes the process so much easier.
  2. Determine the size of your pillow insert.  For this tutorial, I used a 20 inch square insert.  So I wanted my finished pillow cover to also be 20 inches.  (I like my covers nice and snug!)  To determine the length of your fabric, take your pillow size X 2 and add 8 inches.  Example :  20 inch cover x 2 = 40 inches + 8 = 48 inches.  That ensures a nice overlap in the back.
  3. So, as you can see from the diagram above – you are going to cut ONE LONG PIECE that’s 20 inches wide by 48 inches long.  Make sense?
  4. I sewed a double hem along the two sides of the long piece of fabric.  I didn’t really measure – you can sew a 1/4 ” or 1/2 ” or whatever.  If you iron your seam down, it’s much easier to sew.   You don’t need to do sew the double hem, but it just makes it more finished and the overlap fabric won’t unravel on you constantly.
  5. Keep your center portion at 20 inches or whatever the size of your pillow insert is.  FOLD the left and right sides in to line up with the center (right sides facing each other).  You should have a neat 20 inch square.  The fabric in the back will overlap nicely.
  6. Now just sew the two open sides shut and you are finished.
  7. Flip the pillow right side out and insert your pillow cover.  So easy!

You will not have any seams on two sides but if you use a nice pillow insert, it won’t make any difference.

Attaching Tassels to your Pillow

I made four cute little rope tassels for each of the corners.  I love how it gives it a neutral, kind of beachy look.

To make the tassels, follow the steps in this tutorial.  I wanted my tassels short and stubby so I used just a little piece of cardboard and wound it around about 15 times.

PS:  This might not be the “right” way to attach tassels, but this is how I did it.  

  • I flipped the cover inside out and snipped each corner a little tiny bit so there was a little hole in each corner.
  • Then, I took the two threads from the top of each tassel and poked them through the holes (the actual tassel will be on the inside.)
  • Finally, I sewed the hole shut while also securing the tassel threads to it.  It’s a hot mess on the inside but when you flip it right side out the tassels hang out of each corner so nice and neat!  You really can’t tell at all.

I think it turned out really, really cute.  And this cover was made from ONE SINGLE PIECE of fabric.  And with really only 4 straight seams to sew!  Brilliant!

Don’t forget to get a nice insert.  I really love Crate and Barrel’s inserts and they are not too expensive.

Did you know you can wash down inserts?

You can!

Here’s how I do it:

  1.  I wash two feather inserts at a time (to balance the washer).  Warm water, extra rinse cycle and high spin speed.
  2. Dry them on low heat (to avoid shrinkage) with a few clean tennis balls to help fluff them up.
Close up of a pillow with tassels
DIY Pillow Covers

What do you guys think?

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial for quick diy pillow covers.

Let  me know if you have any questions in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading and visiting with me today,

xo Karen

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