How to Sew a Pillow Cover by Hand

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It's amazing how pillows can dramatically change the look of a sofa or a bed. Decorative throw pillows can liven up just about any couch when covered in fabrics that please the eyes. Bedrooms look more inviting when beautiful pillows are placed on the bed. Pillow covers are simple to make, so if you'd like to add a few pillows to your sofa or bed, here's how you can sew a pillow cover by hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Large table to work on
  • Square pillow insert
  • 1 1/2 yards of fabric suitable for a pillow cover (cotton works well)
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread to match the fabric
  • Box of straight pins
  • Tassles (optional)
  • Spread your chosen fabric out on the table.

  • Place the pillow insert on the fabric, near one of the corners so as not to waste material. (Note: You will be using your pillow insert to determine how much fabric to cut.)

  • Look at the fabric you've placed underneath the pillow insert and determine how much fabric you'll need to cover one side of the pillow, allowing for an additional ½-inch of fabric for the seam.

  • Cut the fabric in the shape of the pillow insert. This piece of fabric will cover the front of the pillow.

  • Fold the cut piece of fabric in half and place it on the remaining fabric, close to the edge of the fabric.

  • Measure 4 ½-inches from the end of the folded piece of fabric and cut around three sides of the folded piece and at the point where the additional 4-½-inches end.

  • Cut another piece of fabric the same size as the one you just cut.

  • Take the piece of fabric you cut in the previous step and fold ¼-inch of fabric under twice, at the end of the longer side of the piece of fabric. Make a hem using your needle and thread. Do the same for the matching piece of fabric.

  • Lay the first piece of fabric you cut on the table with the right side of the fabric facing up.

  • Lay the other two pieces of fabric on top of the first piece of fabric, side-by-side and with the right sides facing down, positioning the hemmed edges in the center and overlapping. Make sure all sides of the three pieces of cut fabric meet at the edges. (Note: The hemmed edges will remain open to allow for insertion of the pillow insert.)

  • Pin the three pieces of fabric in place, making sure to put pins through the overlapping middle section.

  • Sew all around the pillow cover by hand, ½-inch from the edge of the fabric.

  • Sew tassles to corners of pillow cover.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash fabric prior to cutting if you think it may shrink when washed.
  • Use a thimble when sewing by hand to avoid pricking your finger with the needle.

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