How to Make Easy DIY Pillow Covers

Learn how to make easy DIY pillow covers with a flange border. Upgrade your basic envelope-style pillow with this quick sewing tutorial.

Stack of DIY envelope pillows with flange borders on a bench

Hello Friends! Follow along with these simple instructions and learn how to make easy DIY pillow covers that give your living room or any room an instant upgrade!

Today, I’m sharing a super easy home DIY for creating and sewing pillowcases or cushion covers that look store-bought.

They are a bit more tailored than your basic envelope-style design. And it only involves one extra step.

The secret sauce is an additional topstitch that creates a flange rim edge around the perimeter of the pillow.

More DIY Throw Pillow Projects

Monogram Pillow
Envelope Pillow

Painted Pillows
No-Sew Christmas Pillow Covers

All Sewing Projects

I recently compared a few old pillows that I made years ago to a couple of Pottery Barn pillow covers I purchased.

The only difference was a collared flange or bordered flap edge.

I don’t really know what to call it, but I like it! 😂

This one easy extra stitch makes a big difference in the professional home decor look of your homemade pillows!

Pillow Inspiration (Flange and Envelope Style)

This pillow technique will work equally well for any space in your apartment or house.

For example, try decorative throw pillow covers for your couch, outdoor cushions for the screen porch or patio, or bed pillows.

For inspiration, below are photos of this pillow style and sewing construction method.

Don’t miss these bar stool cushion DIY and this bench cushion tutorial, too.

serena & lily inspiration
etsy inspiration
serena & lily inspiration

Beginner Sewing Project

This method is perfect for beginner sewists! It only involves FOUR stitches. No, seriously, you can do this!

And, if you have an iron or can borrow one, that will take the workmanship of this pillow to the next level.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to write them in the comments below or send me a note. I am happy to help!

For more room upgrades, be sure to check out this ottoman cover tutorial, too.

Project Supplies

Below are the sewing materials you will need for your pillow project. The underlined products contain affiliate links.

Fabric for Pillow
Matching Thread

Straight Pins
Ruler or Tape Measure
Sewing Scissors or
Rotary Cutter
Sewing Board or
Safe Cutting Surface
Pillow Insert/Pillow Cushion Insert
Sewing Machine
Scotchgard Fabric Protectant optional

Prepare your Fabric

Prewash your fabric before cutting it. This will prevent shrinking and potential fit problems if you intend to wash the pillow cover in the future.

How to Make Easy DIY Pillow Covers

Below are step-by-step instructions on how to make your own pillowcase.

Determine how much fabric to buy

To determine the size of the fabric for your pillow cover, first measure the size of your pillow form.

You can find the dimensions on the pillow tag or measure from side seam to side seam using a tape measure fitted close to the pillow.

To add a flange trim, also add the width of the flange to all sides.

You can make a flange any size you want. The typical flange size is 1/2 inch up to 3 inches deep.

Do not add a seam allowance if you prefer a fitted look for your pillow.

My pillow covers are looser than I intended. I added 1/2 inch of seam allowance by accident! Do as I say, not as I do! 😁

Equations to Determine Fabric Cutting Dimensions

Use this simple math to find out how much fabric is needed.

Fabric needed for the height or shorter side of the fabric
Pillow Height + (Flange x 2) = Height

Amount of fabric needed for the width or longer side of the fabric
that wraps around the pillow

(Pillow Width x 2) + (Flange x 2) + 6 inch Overlap = Width

Note The two lengths are interchangeable. You can wrap the long edge horizontally or vertically so that your opening pocket in the back of the pillow runs either way.

The Pillow Equation
My insert is 20 x 20 inches, and I am adding a 1/2 inch flange all the way around, so my math looked like this:

(20 x 2 = 40 inches) + (1/2 inch x 2= 1 inch) + 6 inches = 47 inches for width
20 + (1/2 inch x 2 = 1 inch) = 21 inches for height

This pillowcase has a looser fit because I accidentally added a 1/2 seam allowance to the math above. Do this only if you like a looser look and fit.

Finishing the Overlap Fabric Edges

The first step is to finish the raw fabric edges on both ends of the pillow material.

The choice is yours, whatever finishing technique you choose.

I finished the outer flap with a double-fold hem (far left, below) for my pillow.

This is a hem made up of two folds. First, press or fold the raw edge over 1/4 inch (6mm). 

Now, press the hem over one more time. Stitch close to the open folded edge.

I used a zigzag stitch (middle, below) on the inside pillow flap because I wanted a flat, low-profile finish that would not show on the outside of the pillow.

Likewise, you could also use an overlock stitch with a serger (on the right, below).

After that, with the right side of the fabric facing up, fold both finished ends in towards the center so that they overlap.

Adjust the fold lines where you want them, overlapping in the location you prefer on the back of the pillow cover.

Meanwhile, if you have a patterned fabric, remember what you want to be centered on the front of the pillow.

Similarly, you can choose where the opening on the back of the pillow.

Sewing the Pillow Cover Together Step by Step

1 Finish the raw fabric edges on both ends of the pillow material.

With the right sides of the fabric together, fold both finished ends in towards the center so that they overlap. Pin.

2 Stitch the top and bottom opening closed with a straight stitch. This is referred to as an envelope-style pillow.

3 Carefully clip all four corners on the inside to eliminate bulk.

Creating the Flange Edge

4 Turn the pillow right side out at the back opening. Press with an iron and gently push corners out.

5 Topstitch the perimeter of the pillow to create the flange. Most flanges on pillows look best between 1/2 – 3 inches deep. I made a 1/2-inch flange.

6 It’s time to gently insert and stuff your down-filled or poly-filled pillow into your swanky new pillow covers.

You’ll need to adjust the corners of the inner pillow cushion so it fills the form nicely.

Give it vertical and horizontal karate chops from both sides, and you are good to go!

I love how easy these throw pillows are to make—and the fact that they don’t have zippers is even better! I hope you enjoy this easy DIY pillow project, too.

Let me know if you make your own or if you have any questions in the comment box below.

Certainly, I’m always happy to help! You can ask me a pillow case question or any question at all.

Please let me know how the project goes in the comment box below. I love to hear from you. Be sure to subscribe or follow me on social media for more inspiration!

xo,
Cindy

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