DIY Guide: Crafting and Caring for Your Hand-Sewn Pillow Covers

Ever thought about adding a personal touch to your home decor? You’ve come to the right place! Sewing your own pillow cover is a simple, yet rewarding project that can transform your space in no time.

Not only is it an affordable way to refresh your home, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to unleash your creativity. Whether you’re a seasoned sewing enthusiast or a complete beginner, you’ll find this guide easy to follow.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right fabric is crucial for your sewing project as it determines the pillow cover’s comfort, durability, and how well it fits in with your décor. Common choices include cotton, linen, silk, and velvet, each with its unique characteristics.
  • Precise measurements are critical when creating a pillow cover. Added to the pillow’s dimensions, an extra inch is typically factored in for seams to ensure a well-fitting cover.
  • Proper sewing procedure begins with pinning the ‘right sides together’ of your fabrics and then stitching with tight, clean stitches. Leaving an opening for the pillow insert is fundamental in the sewing process.
  • Adding embellishments can personalize your pillow cover. Decorative threads, colorful ribbons, buttons, or delicate lace trims can provide a professional finish and reinforce stitching if applied carefully.
  • Regular maintenance, proper cleaning practices, and appropriate storage methods can extend the lifespan of your pillow cover. It’s worth noting that different fabrics necessitate varying care procedures.

Choosing the Right Fabric

Before you jump into this sewing project, it’s crucial to first consider the kind of fabric you’ll use. This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly – the fabric you choose can greatly impact your project’s end result.

Why does type of fabric matter? The fabric plays a huge role in a pillow cover’s comfort, durability, and overall aesthetic. It’ll dictate how your pillow feels, how well it withstands wear and tear, and how cohesively it blends into your home decor.

In general, consider the following aspects when choosing your fabric:


Different materials have varying characteristics. Some are more durable than others, and some feel softer to the touch. Here are a handful of common choices for pillow covers:

  • Cotton: This material is soft, breathable and versatile, making it an excellent all-around choice.
  • Linen: A luxury material, linen offers a unique texture and high durability.
  • Silk: For an opulent touch, silk provides a lavish look and feel.
  • Velvet: This fabric brings a touch of elegance and warmth, perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere.

Pattern and Color

The pattern and color of your fabric will strongly influence the mood and style of the room where you place the pillow. There are countless options to consider – from solid colors and subtle patterns to bold prints – so it’s crucial to think about what will work well in your space.


An often overlooked aspect of fabric selection is texture. A pillow’s texture adds depth and interest to your decor. Smooth textures like silk and velvet bring a sense of luxury, while rougher textures like linen can add a rustic feel.


Always keep in mind where this pillow will be used. If it’s for an outdoor setting or a frequently used couch, opt for sturdy, durable materials like canvas or heavy cotton. For decorative purposes, feel free to explore delicate materials like silk or lace.

Choosing the right fabric for your pillow cover is a delicate balance between aesthetics, comfort, and durability. Albeit overwhelming at times, making an informed decision will guarantee a rewarding result. After all, the dream pillow cover starts with ideal fabric selection.

It’s time to grab those scissors and make that cut! Because sewing your own pillow cover isn’t just about creating something useful – it’s a personal journey of creativity, passion, and discovery.

Measuring and Cutting the Fabric

Now that you’ve unraveled the significance of the fabric types and how they impact comfort, durability, and aesthetic appeal, let’s move further into the process of making your own pillow cover. The next step in your creative journey is to measure and cut your chosen fabric.

First off, accuracy is key in this process. Your measurements need to be precise, as any error could lead to a poorly fitting pillow cover. It’s advisable to use a ‘grid ruler’ for measurements or a ‘square quilting ruler’ for accurate square cuts.

For a standard pillow, the dimensions are typically 18×18 inches. However, this could vary based on the dimensions of your pillow. After determining the measurements, add an extra inch for the seams. The formula to remember: Pillow dimensions + 1 inch seam allowance. For example, if you’re sewing a pillow cover for a pillow of 18×18 inches, your fabric should measure 19×19 inches instead.

Measuring and marking your fabric before proceeding to cut:

  • Lay your fabric on a flat surface
  • Use a fabric marker or a chalk to mark the measurements
  • Ensure that your lines are straight and clear

Once marking is done, it’s time to cut the fabric. Remember, straight and clean cuts make sewing easier. A fabric scissors or a rotary cutter on a cutting mat can help you achieve the precise cuts.

  • Cut along the marked lines carefully
  • Try not to rush, as haste can lead to errors or misalignments

As you navigate this step, remember that nothing rushes creativity. Making your own pillow cover is an art. You’re not just cutting and sewing, but crafting an item of comfort and aesthetics. Your patience and craftsmanship could result in a masterpiece, combining functionality and style to enhance any living space.

Sewing the Pillow Cover

After successfully measuring and cutting the fabric, you’re all set to jump into the actual sewing. Let’s break down the process into manageable steps ensuring the perfect assembly of your pillow cover.

Begin by taking your two pieces of fabric and placing them on top of each other with the ‘right’ or patterned sides facing each other. This setup is often referred to as ‘right sides together’ in the sewing world. That’s one less jargon to worry about!

Next, align all the edges neatly. It’s critical at this stage to ensure that all the sides match up exactly. If your fabric moved while cutting or measuring, now’s the time to realign it. Pinning the fabric together as you go can help keep everything in its rightful place.

Your sewing machine should be ready with thread color that matches or complements your fabric. Start at one corner of your pillow cover. For most projects, a basic straight stitch will suffice. For added strength, you may prefer a zigzag stitch along the edge. Don’t forget to leave an opening on one side for the pillow insert – a common mistake for those new to the game!

Make sure your stitches are tight and clean. The quality of your stitch can make a difference between a pillow cover that lasts through many a couch party and one that frays or comes apart after a few uses. Also, remember to trim any excess threads after sewing to maintain a clean look and prevent any future unravelling.

The final step is to turn your pillow cover right side out, double checking that all the seams are secure. Pro tip: Use the blunt end of a pencil or a chopstick to help with corners.

A well-sewn pillow cover not only adds a fresh look to your living space, but also brings a sense of accomplishment and the joy of creation. Remember, sewing is a combination of skill and artistry. Practice and patience can enhance your proficiency, leading to more intricate and personalized projects.

Adding Embellishments (Optional)

Though not necessary, you may wish to add a little extra flair to your pillow covers. Embellishments can also double as reinforcement to your stitching. These small details can make all the difference in giving your work a truly professional finish.

You’ve got a wide range of choices like decorative threads, fancy ribbons, colorful buttons, or perhaps even delicate lace trims. It’s all down to personal preference and the style that you’re aiming for.

Attaching these extra elements requires attention and care. Do not rush the process. Proper placement and application of these adornments can enhance the overall beauty of your pillow cover.

Decorative Threads

One of the simplest ways to add a splash of color and design to your pillow cover is by using decorative threads. Metallic, variegated, rayon, or silk threads can give an instant uplift. As you sew, the exposed threads will create a vibrant design.


Another idea involves weaving ribbons through the fabric or sewing them along the edges. Take note that if you’re using ribbons or any other kind of band, ensure they are colorfast to avoid staining the pillow cover once it’s washed.


Buttons are popular too and can serve a dual purpose. They can be used purely for ornamental purposes, or for functional reasons as well. You can place these in the center or on the sides of your pillow cover. Just make sure to tie them securely!

Lace Trims

For a classic, timeless look, consider lace trims. These can be sewn on the edges of your pillow cover or across the fabric. These trims add an exquisite, feminine touch to any piece. Choose a style and color that best suits your design.

Remember, less is more. It’s tempting to add as many embellishments as possible, but too many can make the pillow cover look busy and unrefined. It’s best to strike a balance between design and usability, ensuring that your pillow cover remains comfortable to use while showcasing your artistic skills. By expressing creativity in your work, sewing will become even more rewarding, enjoyable, and therapeutic.

Tips for Care and Maintenance

After sewing your tailor-made pillow cover, the next key step is taking proper care of it to keep it looking its best. Regular maintenance not only preserves the aesthetic value of your cover but also extends its lifespan. So how can you ensure your masterpiece retains its quality and charm over time? Let’s journey together through some of the best care and maintenance tips.

The first crucial factor in caring for your pillow cover is understanding its fabric. Different fabrics have unique care instructions. For instance, a pillow fashioned from silk won’t have the same care procedure as one made from cotton. It’s essential to take a moment to read the care label instructions to avoid any mishap. Knowing the fabric enables you to make informed decisions on cleaning and handling.

It’s also important to regularly clean and air your pillow covers proper hygiene and to keep them fresh. Washing should be done as per the fabric’s care instructions, which may involve hand-washing, machine washing, or professional cleaning. Additionally, airing helps to remove any trapped moistures and odors.

Avoiding harsh and aggressive cleaning agents is another method to ensure the durability of your pillow covers. Some detergents contain substances that might fade the color or degrade the texture of your pillow’s fabric over time. Opt for gentler cleaners designed for delicate fabrics as it’s a safer choice.

Consider storing your pillow covers properly when not in use. Improper storage can lead to creases and wrinkles which might damage the integrity of the material and affect its visual appeal. Tips for proper storage include:

  • Storing in a dry, well-ventilated place: High moisture levels can cause mildew or mold.
  • Folding them neatly: This prevents unnecessary creases and wrinkles.
  • Keeping them separately: This avoids any color transfer or staining from other items.

Beautifully-made pillow covers are worth the effort you put into their care and upkeep. Armed with these tips, your pillow covers can continue to bring you joy and comfort while brightening up your living space.


So, you’ve made it! You’ve learned the art of sewing your own pillow cover and how to keep it looking its best. It’s about more than just crafting. It’s about understanding your fabric, adhering to care instructions, and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule. Proper storage is also key. These steps ensure your handcrafted pillow covers last longer and keep adding charm to your living space. Remember, every stitch you sew adds a personal touch that can’t be bought in a store. So keep sewing, keep caring, and watch as your living space transforms with the beauty of your handmade pillow covers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key tips for maintaining tailor-made pillow covers?

Caring for tailor-made pillow covers involves understanding the fabric, following specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer, regular cleaning, and proper storage. These steps help in preserving their quality and charm.

Why is it necessary to understand the fabric used for pillow covers?

Understanding the fabric helps in determining the cleaning methods and products appropriate for the pillow covers. Some materials require delicate care, while others are more durable and can withstand regular washing.

What do specific care instructions for pillow covers entail?

Specific care instructions outline the ideal cleaning methods, frequency of cleaning, and storage recommendations for the pillow covers. Following these instructions ensures that your pillow covers remain in good condition for a longer time.

How important is regular cleaning for pillow covers?

Regular cleaning helps to remove dust and prevent the accumulation of allergens. It also maintains the aesthetic appeal of the pillow covers, enhancing the beauty of your living space.

What are the proper storage techniques for pillow covers?

Proper storage techniques often involve keeping the pillow covers in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. This prevents the fabric colors from fading and preserves the overall quality of the covers.