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Pillowcases are one of those fun, simple projects that every beginning seamstress should try. They are easy to make and great to have around the house!
While they can be a crucial decor in a room, it’s difficult to find that one cover you bring your room together. Stores can offer the same boring patterns, with the wrong textures and sizes.
There are online stores where you can make your own custom cushion covers, but they can be pricey, especially for something you can do on your own.
And yes, you can make your own cushion covers, even if you’re a complete novice!
So, if you’re up for the challenge, get out those threads and needles and let’s talk about making cushion covers.
Table Of Contents
- Choosing the Right Fabric for Making Cushion Covers
- Cushion Cover Patterns
- How to make cushion covers
- Making a cushion cover from old shirts and scraps
Choosing the Right Fabric for Making Cushion Covers
You can use almost any fabric for your cushion cover, but pay attention to how it will be used.
Do you make a decorative pillow cover or a sleeping pillow cover? Is it decorative or will people rest their faces on it?
If the latter is the case, avoid dust that can cause allergies. These fabrics can be fabrics with a lot of loose fluff, which can irritate the throat and nose.
Coarse and rough textured fabrics can also irritate the skin. If you have the means, it is best to go for hypoallergenic substances.
Fabrics made from natural, non-synthetic fibers are also a superb choice. Good fabrics to choose from are linen, cotton and silk.
Pillowcases are often subject to a lot of rough handling. Whether sitting on, lying around or a pillow, cushion covers need to be sturdy and durable.
Unlike fabric that is free of allergens, it is also it is best to choose a fabric that can withstand a lot of pressure and pull.
Fabric that is thick and bulky can be impractical to work with, but can save you a lot of work save headaches down the line. Upholstery fabrics like wool and cotton blends can make great cushion covers.
Finally, make sure your fabric is easily washable. Since many people , and possibly drinks too, stains will be an unavoidable problem for cushion covers.
In that regard, choose a fabric that is stain resistant, or at least case one that you can easily throw in the wash or clean.
Cushion Cover Patterns
There are two main patterns for cushion covers: the first is with a zipper and the other is an envelope design.
It doesn’t matter which pattern you have If you are looking, there are many designs online, whether from independent bloggers, fabric stores or magazines.
When learning how to make a cushion cover, think about the pillow you want for yourself, as well as the skill level you are comfortable with.
Below we have two patterns to get you started.
How to make cushion covers
Prepare your fabric
Prepare your fabric, wash it on the recommended setting, especially if it of natural fibres. Then smooth out the folds.
This ensures that we can gauge your fabric and processed better.
How to make a cushion cover without a zipper
Beginners would do well to learn how to make a cushion cover without a zipper.
The envelope cushion cover is a great pattern for this purpose because you can easily place the inner cushion without a special closure. Although they look easy, zippers can be a challenge for new seamstresses.
Since it has no closure, this pattern is best for smaller pillows. If you are using a larger cushion, it is also possible to add a button or a small piece of Velcro to secure the flap.
These steps from Hey There Home.
- Make your mates
For an envelope cushion cover, you need two sizes.
First measure one side of your inner cushion. This is measurement A. Then divide this measurement in half and add five inches. This is size B.
- Cut out your fabric
You need to cut out three pieces of fabric for one cushion cover: one for the front and two for the back.
The front would be equal to Side A on all four sides. The back covers should have a width equal to Side A and a length equal to size B.
For example, pillows are often 20×20 inches; this means that your back covers should be 20 inches wide and 15 inches high.
- Sew the edges
Sew the bottom of your top piece, as well as the top edges of your back pieces.
To do this, fold the fabric about an inch from the edge. Ironing, as well as adding pins, can be a great help, especially for beginners.
- Assemble the pieces
Put the front piece down first, right side up. Arrange it so that the pattern goes in the direction you want for your finished pillow.
Then place one of the bottom pieces, right side down, on top. the fabric, aligning the edges from above or below. Then lay the last piece on top of this layer, right side down, on the other side.
Put a pin on all edges to secure it in place.
- Sew all pieces together
Sew the pieces together with a backstitch, leaving a seam allowance of ½ inches from the edges.
You can do this with a sewing machine, but hand can also do easily it.
- Sew the edges
Finally sew the edges to prevent fraying. You will need a zigzag stitch for this.
You can do this with a sewing machine, sewing so that the needle extends just outside the outer edge of the fabric. You can also do this by hand.
- Add your pillow insert
Now all you have to do is turn your cushion cover inside out, and it’s ready for your cushion insert!
Here’s a video showing an example of how to make a cushion cover without a zipper.
How to make a cushion cover with a zipper
Although it is a bit more complicated than an envelope cushion cover, the zipper cushion cover is also perfect for beginners.
Love to Sew gives us two variations of the zipper cushion cover. Regardless of the type you choose, they both do a good job of hiding the zipper from view.
Pillow cover with zipper
- Cut out your fabric
The size of the fabric should be the same as the pillow insert you plan to use. For extra thick pillows, add some surcharge on all sides. Cut out two pieces.
- Arrange the pieces
Lay out the first piece, right side up. Then lay the second piece right side down.
Align the edges. Then place the zipper right side down in the center of the underside of your fabric.
Mark where the zipper begins and ends on your fabric.
- Sew the zipper edge
With a ½ seam allowance from the mark, straight stitch from the edges to the mark. Then sew as loosely as possible between both markings. We will have to remove this stitch later.
Then put the zipper back down. Pin it in place. Open both pieces of fabric, still face down.
Sew the zipper along both edges with a zipper foot. Then remove the loose stitch where the zipper is.
- Sew the edges
Sew the rest of the edges of your cushion cover. Finish the seams to prevent the fabric from fraying. Then turn the cover inside out and you have a new cushion cover!
If you put a cushion cover in the store, they often hide the zipper behind one seam. This variation is trickier than the covered zipper technique, as it takes a few adjustments to hide the zipper.
First you need an invisible zipper. This zipper has finer teeth than your regular zipper, which means we can easily hide it in your pillow seams.
This zipper should also be shorter than the length of your pillow, so you may need to shorten the zipper. Second, you’ll need a sewing machine with a zipper foot or an invisible zipper foot.
For complete beginners who don’t have their first sewing machine yet, this can be a deal-breaker. Of course, it’s always possible to borrow a sewing machine from a friend.
Although it may seem daunting, a few attempts at using the zipper foot will suffice. a hang of your new machine.
To make this Invisible Zipper Cushion Cover, I adapted these steps from Katie’s Sew Katie Did.
- Cut out your pieces of fabric
First cut out two pieces of fabric. Their measurements are the same as the measurements of your inner cushion.
Then align your zipper to the front piece and pin it face down on the right side of the fabric, on the bottom.
Sew the zipper. Check out Sew Katie’s tutorial to see the specific feet she uses for both types of zippers.
- Sew the zipper edge
After sewing the zipper to the front piece of fabric, you can now align it with the back piece.
Place it right side down on the right side of the fabric, at the bottom, and sew.
- Finish the edges
Now it’s just a matter of sewing the rest of the open edges of the cushion cover.
Then you work the seams. And you now have your cushion cover with invisible zipper!
Making a cushion cover from old shirts and scraps
Many people sewing because it’s a great way to save money. With that in mind, what better way to save money than by reusing what you already have lying around?
A cushion cover is an expert use for waste or clothing that you no longer use or wear. It can renew all that material in your interior.
Using residual materials can for beginning seamstresses, but it’s still doable.
If you choose additional pieces of material, sew the pieces together until they form a large enough piece is for the cover.
This works well for smaller pieces of fabric, as more stitches would make the cover more durable.
Using old T-shirts
Using old T-shirts is a great way to recycle unused clothing. If you have a shirt that you just can’t throw away because of the memories it holds, upcycling into a cushion cover is a great way to keep it with you. Plus, you can hold it close while you reminisce!
Another added benefit of old t-shirts is that they are less work than the usual pattern of a cushion cover.
The structure of a t-shirt lends itself to fewer stitches when upcycled. Therefore, it is a much friendlier approach for beginners and people can easily sew the pattern by hand.
This tutorial by Georgina Burnett guides us through turning an old shirt into a cushion cover. We’ll start by washing and ironing the shirt as you would any fabric for a sewing project.
Then turn the shirt inside out. Using sewing chalk, draw the dimensions of the cushion around the center of the shirt. Pin both sides of the shirt. Cut around the shape and sew!
This pattern is great to use with button-down shirts, as the buttons are ideal for changing the inner sleeves. As a plus, they’re a delicate touch on the pillow itself.
If you’re using shirts that aren’t button-downs, you can add a zipper, a button, or a piece of velcro, in the middle.
This video shows an example of how to make pillow covers with a shirt.
Pillow cases are a great way to add fresh decor to a room, and they are an incredibly fun project to make.
Since their design , trial and error allows you to work your way through the process and gain skills. As a bonus, you can make them out of just about anything with just a little of sewing.
So pick your favorite pattern and prepare your fabric; your new pillowcase is waiting for you.