How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?
Cover bed pillows with decorative pillowcases or pillow shams. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

It is common practice to cover pillows, with pillowcases and shams in the case of bed pillows, and with decorative fabric in the case of couch pillows. No matter what type of pillow you are covering, you can easily calculate how much fabric you will need for that specific pillow and type of cover; just measure the existing cover on a throw pillow or the pillowcases that fit your bed pillows. These covers become an easy pattern for new covers.

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Throw Pillows

The most common size for a throw pillow is 16 inches square, but can be much larger, and not all throw pillows are square. Measure a plain throw pillow from seam to seam and add ½ inch seam allowance on each side, or use a seam ripper to open one seam on the pillow you want to cover with fabric; this is best when the pillow has trims such as ruffles or rope that disguise the size of the actual pillow insert. Slide out the inner pillow form. Lay the cover flat and measure the dimensions. Add ½ inch to each side for seam allowances. Purchase enough fabric for a front and back cover. For a 16-inch square pillow, you will need 18 inches of fabric that is at least 36 inches wide.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?
Use small decorative pillows to accent the decor of the bedroom. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Standard Bed Pillow

Standard bed pillows range from 20 by 26 inches to 21 by 31 inches. A pillow case is usually 2 to 3 inches longer than the pillow, and the pillow case opening has a deep hem of 3 or more inches. To cover your pillow, measure the pillow cases you use on your pillow. Add 1 inch to the narrow measurement; add an extra ¼ inch to this if you want to provide some ease and make it easier to fit the pillow into the case. Add 3 inches or more to the long measurement. You will need enough fabric for two panels of this size. Also keep in mind that you should wash your fabric before making cases so that the fabric will shrink.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?
Standard pillows are commonly used on twin beds. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Queen Pillow

Queen-sized pillows range in size from 20 by 30 inches to 22 by 34 inches. Measure the pillow cases you use for your pillows. Add 1 inch to the narrow measurement; add an additional ¼ inch if you want for some ease. Add 3 inches or more to the longer measurement. You will need two panels of fabric for a single pillowcase. If you select fabric with a pattern, you will need additional fabric to match the pattern.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?
Queen-sized pillows are longer than standards and common to most larger beds. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

King Pillows

King-size pillows range from 20 by 36 inches to 22 by 36 inches. Measure the pillow cases you use for these pillows. Add 1 inch to your narrow measurement; add an additional ¼ inch if you want for some ease. Add 3 inches to your longer measurement. For shams the front will usually be 27 by 43 inches and the back will be two panels of 27 by 25 inches, with an overlap in the middle. For shams there is typically a 3-inch border around the outer edges of the casing on all sides.

How Much Fabric Do I Need for Pillows?
Pillow shams on the pillows liven up the look of the bedding. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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