How to make a cover for a 16x16 pillow

Written by tanya lee
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How to make a cover for a 16x16 pillow
Throw pillows look great on a bed as well as on a sofa. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Making covers for your throw pillows has two major 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 pillow covers as you get tired of them. Once you get the hang of fit, this pillow cover should take only an hour or so to make.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 3/4 yard 45-inch wide fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • 2 yards trim

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  1. 1

    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 inches wide by 10 1/2 inches high. Cut out the pieces of fabric using scissors. The square will form the front of the pillow cover. The rectangles will overlap on the back of the pillow cover, forming an opening through which you insert the pillow.

  2. 2

    Fold over one long edge of one of the rectangles 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press. Fold over that edge again, in the same direction. Make this fold 3/8 inch. Press. 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.

  3. 3

    Lay the 17-inch square piece of fabric on the work surface. The right side of the fabric (the side you will see when the pillow is finished) should be facing upward. Pin the trim all around the perimeter of the square. The trim must facing in toward the centre of the square, overlapping it. The sewing band is on the outside edge of the square. This is counterintuitive, but it is the only way to make the trim face the right way when the pillow is finished. Butt the two ends of the trim up against each other so it forms a continuous band around the square.

  4. 4

    Pin one rectangle to the square. The right sides of the rectangle should be facing the right side of the square and the wrong side of the fabric facing you. Arrange the rectangles so that the finished edge (the one you already sewn) 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 square other 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.

  5. 5

    Sew all around the pillow with your sewing machine. Use the sewing band of the trim as the seam allowance. To do this, measure the sewing band, then set the presser foot of the sewing machine that distance from the raw edges of the pillow. Remove the pins as you sew in order to avoid breaking the sewing machine needle. Turn the pillow cover inside out and insert the pillow.

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