How to make a pillow cover

You can take almost any small embroidery and turn it into a lovely pillow cover with a little sewing and some beautiful fabrics and trims. See the step-by-step photos below to learn how.

Supplies needed

note: these supplies are for finishing our Grecian Urn #2 into a pillow cover using a fat eighth; larger embroideries will need additional fabric to make a larger pillow cover.

One 10 x 18 inch “fat eighth” velveteen (we used Lady Dot velveteen in “Blue Corn”)

One pillow 9 x 17 pillow insert (we made our own with scrap fabric and batting)

22” decorative trim of your choice (we used our Antique Metallic Galloon upgrade)

1/3 yard backing fabric of your choice (we used Kaufman’s Kona in “Sand”)

Step One: press velveteen and mark the center line with pins​

Step Two: press embroidery and mark the center line with pins.

Lay embroidery over velveteen, aligning center line of embroidery with center line of velveteen. Pin embroidery to velveteen.

Step Three: mark a line 1" out on either side of the edge of embroidery and trim embroidery.

Make sure NOT to cut through the velveteen!

Trim top and bottom of embroidery even with velveteen.

Step Four: center antique metallic galloon (or your desired specialty trim) over the cut edge of the embroidery and sew over it on both sides of trim. Repeat on other side of embroidery. Press.

Step Five: now, make the backing of the pillow cover. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 10-1/2 x 12 inches (fabric of your choice). Hem on one short side of each piece with a 3/8" doubled hem.

Step Six: Lay your embroidery/velveteen piece face up and then position backing pieces on top, right sides together and matching corners and overlapping them in the center.​

Step Seven: stitch around entire pillow with 1/2" seam allowance. 

Trim corners to reduce bulk.​

Step Eight: Turn pillow cover right side out through the overlapped back section and lightly press (be careful not to squash velveteen). Place a pillow insert inside and enjoy your handiwork!

Note: if you cannot find a commercially made pillow insert, simply make one by sewing two 10x18 inch pieces of fabric together, leaving an opening of about 4 inches on one side. Stuff with batting or recycled fabric and then stitch opening closed.

Ancient beauty for the modern world
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© 2020 by Krista West