The 10 Minute DIY Pillow Cover

Can you believe it used to take me like an hour to make myself a pillow cover? I knew it wasn’t supposed to be considered a big, complicated project, but it kinda was. And you know I’m not a big fan of complicated. Back in the dark ages, I used to cut out three different pieces of fabric for each envelop pillow cover that I made, and that gave me three chances to mess it up on each pillow! And I did mess it up often, of course.


Until, I agreed to do a project using these beautiful Premier Prints fabrics from Online Fabric Store and decided I wanted to make some new pillows to help me with the living room happification (technical term) that I’ve been secretly working on. And I told them I wanted to make a bunch of them. So they sent me the supplies and then I had to do it and couldn’t wimp out of making them all. So I hummed and I hawed, and then I got smart.

And I got some pretty great pillows of the deal too, don’t you think?

These are the fabrics that I used, from back to front:

Premier Prints Gotcha Summerland Gray/Natural Fabric

Here’s how I made them in (I’m not kidding) 10 minutes flat!

I started out by cutting out just one single piece of fabric per pillow and quickly ironing it in these few key places. These were the measurements to make a 16″ pillow. Add a few inches accordingly for larger pillows. I just made sure the center portion was 16″ and didn’t worry too much about the two outside pieces. The 36″ inch length overall ensures a nice overlap. And I didn’t mark it down on the image above, but the fabric is 17″ wide.

I folded it together with the wrong side facing out and sewed ONLY the two side seams. Sewing the folded over bits that make the opening is completely unnecessary and leaving this part out cuts your sewing time in HALF! Trust me, they stay put and you’d never know they’re not sewn. I feel so sneaky.

And proud of myself. Kind of how Chuck looks in this picture. :)

So then it was 40 minutes later and I had 4 pillow covers that I loved. But the trick is this: If you’re going to go to all of this (sorta) trouble, you want your pillows to look their best, right? The thing that really makes the difference between really great professional pillows and just so-so pillows is the type of insert that you use.

A great down pillow form brings the pillows to life (not literally. eek.) and makes them fluffy, comfy, and wonderfully chop-able. Please tell me you love a good pillow chop as much as I do.

That’s the stuff. It makes all the difference.

Also, having a dog that matches your decor really helps, but that will be on next week’s lesson. I’m kidding. Maybe.

Until then, that’s how you can DIY yourself some great pillows lickety split! If you’re like me and didn’t know this before, now ya do!

More on my living room change up coming as soon as I cross off the other 1700 things on my list. At least now I’ve got the pillows! And the dog.




    • Sarah says

      Where do you get these great down forms you refer to. That is a great idea and addition to any pillow project like this one. I love this new insight! Thank you.

      • Courtenay says

        Mine are from online fabric store. There’s a link in the post. They really stand up to a lot of abuse and they’re cheap too!

  1. says

    Like the project, but I’m a MAJOR dog person, and am curious about Chuck. He’s obviously a mixed breed or some new one I’ve never heard of! LOL! Looks to me like a cross between a Fox/Rat terrier and a Shar Pei. What is he???

  2. says

    The pillows look great, Courtenay. Love the fabrics and the sneak peek of your living room. You know I love making pillows and I should really make some new ones for our family room since I switched the leather couch with the white slipcovered couch. I’m of the ‘one can never have too many pillows’ camp lol. Chuck is cute, I love his colouring.

  3. says

    The pillows look great. Like your dog, too. :-). At least he doesn’t do what all 3 of mine do–if there’s a pillow on the couch, it has to go to the floor. Not one of their best behaviors.

  4. Laura says

    Love.this! Love your doggeh too! I’m going to use this technique to make pillow covers out of some old dress shirts.

  5. Jeanne says

    Don’t you just LOVE Online Fabric Store!!!! Just rec’d delivery of 10 yards muslin for porch curtains and some fabulous prints for outdoor pillows! i’m way out of my usual color palette, going with knock-out prints with yellow, orange & grey! (I’m more a shore kind of girl). The hubs painted my bench a vibrant yellow, and the whole thing will rock once I have it all together. I’m going to use your easy-peasy pillow technique! Thank you! BTW, how on earth do you manage all that white with a dog that appears to be a Great Dane? (the head). we have a darling English Bull Mastiff who’s drool is everywhere on everything. Good thing he is so lovable!

    • Courtenay says

      Chuck’s actually a Sharpei/Jack Russell cross as far as we know, but he does know how to get messy and roll himself in some creek mud every now and then. The trick is that we have an old fashioned style kitchen with a door on it and a mud room too. If he gets really wet or dirty, he has to stay in one of those rooms until he can have a bath! Love your idea about using muslin for porch curtains, by the way! Good luck with the pillows!

    • Courtenay says

      It all depends on the size of the pillow, but I find about 1/2 a yard per pillow is usually the perfect amount, and I get some scraps left over to play with too!

  6. Gina says

    I would like to make some pillow covers for my 18×18 pillows. What dimensions should I cut the fabric? I am sewing challenged so I love this post! lol
    Thanks! Gina

  7. says

    Hi, love your pillows but my question is how do you keep your white sofa so clean especially with a dog ? I would love to have white slip overs but am afraid my messy family would ruin them. thanks, Diane

    • Courtenay says

      Well, Diane, I have to be honest about a few things: First of all, we don’t even have that white sofa anymore. We ended up getting a dark grey one last month. Secondly, that sofa really did get trashed, but mostly due to cats scratching it and me not having the time to wash it often enough this last year. When I did wash it, everything actually came out looking pretty great. The last thing is that white sofas are really really photogenic. :) So even though there were probably a ton of little stains and spills all over it when I took these pictures, they just don’t really show up on camera. So that’s the truth about that! It was pretty though, wasn’t it?

  8. Kathy says

    Love them all, you did an awesome job? One question, by not hemming the back side, when u wash them won’t that be a unravelled mess?

    • Courtenay says

      Mine have been totally fine, Kathy! I think because they’re folded in and sewn in place on the two sides so that kind of keeps it all protected in the wash.

  9. Christine says

    I’m new to sewing but have a bunch of pillow covers to make, eek! I want to try your way because it simplifies EVERYTHING so tidily. Cutting is the worst for me. I wasn’t even going to comment until… I saw Chuck! Oh my God, he has the cutest wrinkly muzzle ever!!! Thanks fir sharing. :)

    • Courtenay says

      Hehehe. No one can resist our Chuck! He’s one in a million, that’s for sure! Good luck with your pillows, Christine! :)

  10. Natalie says

    Great, practical idea, and THANK YOU for pointing out that hemming the edges is unneccesary.
    But the real reason I’m commenting, is of course, Chuck. What a unique and awesome guy! Seriously, pillows are cool and everything but Chuck, well, you could devote an entire blog to Chuck. He is *that* wonderful!

  11. says

    Nice, but I think I would add two minutes and increase the length of the fabric strip by a 1/2″ and then sew 1/4″ seams down the folded side edges — making the finished pillow look like you cut the usual 6 pieces.

    • Courtenay says

      You totally could do that, Cindy! I never even notice the lack of the extra seams, maybe because I like to iron them so well, but you know what kind of thing will catch your eye and bug you! 12 minutes for a pillow cover is still pretty good! :)

    • Courtenay says

      Thanks so much, Jessie! He really is a strange kind of handsome isn’t he? He’s half Sharpei and half Jack Russell…. probably… we think. :)


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