I love switching up my throw pillows to update my decor. It’s a quick change that can make a big difference in a room. Unfortunately, new pillows can be pricey. Clearance or thrift store pillows are cheap, but they tend be ugly or tattered. Don’t worry! This tutorial for removable pillow covers is super cheap and super fast. If you can hand-sew a moderately straight line, you’re all set! That’s right — no sewing machine is required! One pillow cover will only take about 15 minutes, but it’s so easy you might want to re-do all of your pillows.
If you’re searching for throw pillows at the thrift store, choose clean-ish pillows that don’t smell like smoke. It’s okay if they’re not perfect, we’ll be covering it up anyway. At home, wash the pillow(s) on hot and dry on high heat with a tennis ball. It will bounce around in the dryer and knock the moisture out of the pillow stuffing.
Before we start, what are your thoughts on this hideous pineapple pillow I picked up for $1.50 at a local thrift store? Ugly, yes, but it’s in good condition and the perfect size for a throw pillow. Score!
Okay, on to the tutorial!
Lay out your fabric and place your pillow toward one edge, leaving 1-2 inches for seam allowance and to account for pillow fluff. Leaving 1-2 inches of fabric on the edge, trim off the excess fabric. Some people choose to iron the fabric at this point in time, but I don’t really care. A pillow stuffed into a well-fitting case will remove most of the wrinkles, and our couch pillows are used so often they’ll be back to wrinkled in no time.
Position the pillow in the center of the fabric (“wrong” side up), and fold the bottom part up. On the top, fold over a three to four inch piece.
Fold the top piece over to see what your pillow will look like. There should be a lot of overlap between the top and bottom pieces, which will eliminate the need for buttons and ensure the original pillow won’t show through. If there’s way too much fabric, you can cut off the excess.
Remove the pillow and, keeping the 3-4 inch fold in tact, flip the fabric over. The “right” side should be facing up. Fold over the section with the 3-4 inch fold.
Fold over the other half of the fabric. You can place the pillow over your fabric if you need a size guide. Pin along both open edges of the fabric.
Thread your needle with thread that’s pretty close in color to your fabric. The seams will be on the inside so it’s not a huge deal if the color is a little off. I like to pull off a long strand of thread, fold it in half with the needle at the top, and tie the open end together with a double or triple knot.
Sew along each edge, trying to be as straight as possible. Pillows are puffy and forgiving, so don’t worry if your stitches aren’t perfectly straight! When you’re finished with a side, tie a knot at the end and cut away the excess thread.
To double-check the size of your pillow cover, keep it inside-out and insert your pillow into the pillow case. Sometimes I find that I didn’t properly account for the puffiness of the pillow, so don’t worry if the pillow cover seems to be a little loose. Just push the pillow to one edge and press down the excess fabric on the opposite side. Measure from the edge of the pillow to your original seam. Remove the pillow and sew a new seam, based on your measurements. You can cut away the extra fabric, including your old seam.
Turn the pillow cover right-side out and insert your pillow. That’s it! Super easy, right? You can add decorative buttons if you want, but there’s enough overlap to prevent the need for actual buttons.