How to Make a Cover for a 16x16 Pillow

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Making your own covers for your throw pillows has two advantages: You can remove the covers for washing or dry cleaning when they get dirty, and you can easily change the look of a room by rotating the pillow covers as you get tired of them. Purchase fabric that fits your decorating scheme with trim to complement it. Once you get the hang of it, the pillow cover should take only an hour or so to make.

Things You'll Need

  • 45-inch-wide fabric, 3/4 yard
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread to match
  • Trim, 2 yards
  • Pillow form
  • Lay out your fabric on a work surface with the wrong side -- the side that will be on the inside of the pillow cover when it is finished -- facing down. With a tape measure, measure and mark with a fabric marker the following pieces: 1 square, 17 inches on each side; 2 rectangles, each 17-by-10 1/2-inches high. Cut out the pieces of fabric using scissors. The square forms the front of the pillow cover, and the rectangles will overlap on the back of the pillow cover, forming an opening through which you insert the pillow form.

  • Fold over one long edge of one of the rectangles 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press the fold. Fold the edge 3/8 inch again, in the same direction. Press this fold also. Looking at the wrong side of the fabric, you should now see a 3/8-inch fold-over of the right side of the fabric along one long edge. Pin along the fold-over using straight pins placed perpendicular to the edge and spaced every 3 inches. Repeat for the other rectangle of fabric. Sew along the edge of each fold-over using a sewing machine, taking out the pins as you go.

  • Lay the 17-inch square piece of fabric on the work surface. The right side of the fabric should be facing upward. Pin the trim all around the perimeter of the square. The trim must face in toward the center of the square, overlapping it. The sewing band is on the outside edge of the square. Butt the two ends of the trim up against each other so it forms a continuous band around the square.

  • Pin one rectangle to the square. The right sides of the rectangle should face the right side of the square and the wrong side of the fabric should face you. Arrange the rectangles so that the finished edge -- the one you already sewed -- is at about the middle of the pillow. Line up the raw edges of the rectangle and the square and pin carefully, keeping the trim inside the sandwich formed by the two pieces of fabric. Catch up all three layers, the square, the trim and the rectangle, as you pin, removing the pins you used to hold the trim in place as you go. Pin the second rectangle to the other square along the opposite side, again putting the finished edge near the middle of the square. The finished edges of the two rectangles will overlap in the middle of the pillow.

  • Sew all around the pillow, using your sewing machine. Use the sewing band of the trim as the seam allowance. Measure the sewing band, then set the presser foot of the sewing machine that same distance from the raw edges of the pillow. Remove the pins as you sew to avoid breaking the sewing machine needle. Turn the pillow cover inside-out and insert the pillow form.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a reversible pillow, use different fabric to the front and back.
  • Add tassels to the corners for additional style.
  • To prevent shrinkage, pre-wash and dry your fabric before you begin to sew.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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