DIY Slip Pillow Covers

I had the notion to sew myself some pillow slip covers after shopping around for some that I needed to dress up my coat closet I had reno’d into a cubby bench, I had forgotten how ridiculously expensive pillows are. Like, ridiculously! That’s it, I’m putting my foot down on this and going DIY again! I had some really nice pillows stashed away in my linen closet. Really nice, like, feather pillow with a velvet pattern fabric nice. But they were horribly mismatched for any room in my house, so they were thrown into my linen closet, hidden away from sofas, beds, and benches until one day they were to emerge and rise again as beautiful decorative pillows. Well, throw open the linen closet and bring those pillows forward because today is the day those pillows get a new lease on life. They are getting a full body makeover and honey, when all is said and done, those pillows are going to look fabulous! Literally in about 15 minutes, you can have a whole new pillow for a fraction of the cost of a new one and, bonus, you can change out the slip covers whenever you want for either a new look or to match the holidays. Plus, they are so much easier to throw in the wash to clean. I don’t know if you all have kids and animals that make a mess at home, but I sure do! Pillow slip covers are totally the way to go!



Upholstery fabric works best for this because it can deal with a little more wear and tear than a thinner fabric. When I had my fabric cut at the fabric store, I asked for half a meter which is roughly 19 ½” even though my pillows are 20” wide. They usually throw in a few extra inches to account for uneven cuttings on the fabric and that difference gives me enough fabric to work with. I just hate having to get more than I need and end up having wastage.


Begin by measuring the size of the pillow from seam to seam. My pillow was 20” squared so I needed to cut the fabric out to that width including a ½” seam allowance for each side making my fabric cut out 21” wide.


Make sure the fabric is nice and straight before cutting it. Fold the fabric in half and line up the factory edges together, you know, the edges that have the bit of fringe on it, then fold it in half again. I like to use a rotary cutter and straight edge to cut fabric for projects like this. But if you don’t have one, use a marking pen and straight edge to draw out a cutting line to follow.

I like to mark the edge first and cut it off to make sure I have a straight edge to follow when I cut my width. Then I cut the width of my fabric out. 

Because this slip cover is going to have the same idea as an envelope with a 4” overlap on the flap, the fabric is cut out in one piece and sewn together. I need a ½” on each end for hemming the edge, 20” to make up the front, 20” to make up the back, and 4” for the overlap making my length cut out 45”. Follow? I hope so!


Now that the fabric is cut out with a measurement of 21” x 45”, I can get to sewing! First, the ends need a finished edge and I did this by rolling the edge over ¼” then again another ¼”, forming a tube. Then I sew it on the machine keeping the stitch centred on the roll. Both sides.


Lay the fabric out onto a table face up. Fold the fist edge over about 14” then the other edge over top the first overlapping 4”. Pin in place and sew down each side with a ½” seam from the edge. 


After I sewed my seam I ran each edge through my serger just to prevent fraying and give it a more finished edge. This isn’t necessary, but it sure looks nice!

Perfect, now turn the slip cover right side out and push out each corner to make it square. You can iron it first, depending on the fabric used, to make it look nice and crisp.


Tuck the old pillow into the new cover and you’ve got yourself a snazzy new pillow, totally DIY. Uhhh, that’s amazing! And I bet no one would ever guessin a million years, that pillow didn’t come the way it did. Sneaky!


Cami TannerComment