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How to make a cover for a 16 x 16 pillow

Updated November 21, 2016

Making pillow covers is a simple project, and for a square 16- by 16-inch pillow, it is particularly easy. A new pillow cover can spruce up a room, and add comfort to any living space, from living rooms to bedrooms. You can make a cover to replace an old pillow cover, or you can buy a pillow form and make a cover for it. You can cover the pillow using fabric from a fabric store, or leftover fabric from around the house.

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  1. Pin the fabric squares together, with the right sides together.

  2. If you are going to add a cord or piping to the pillow, this should be done now. The cord should be pinned between the fabric squares, with the decorative portion inside the square. The non-decorative edge of the cord should be aligned with the edges of the square.

  3. Sew along three sides of the square, leaving a 1-inch seam allowance. You can leave less or more, up to 2 inches, depending on how fluffy the pillow is. You should allow less of a seam allowance for thicker pillows, and more of a seam allowance for flatter pillows and a tighter fit.

  4. If the pillow you will be covering is stiff or heavily stuffed, you should be particularly careful to sew a tight seam, since the seams will stretch when you put the pillow inside the cover.

  5. Sew your desired fastener to the fourth side of the pillow cover. For buttons, turn the cover right side out, sew buttons on one side, and add buttonholes on the other. For a zipper, sew the zipper into the fourth side, then turn it right side out. For snaps, turn the cover right side out, then attach the snaps using a needle and thread.

  6. Alternatively, you can place the pillow inside the pillow cover, then sew it shut. Obviously, with this option, you will not be able to remove the pillow for cleaning or stuffing without ripping open the seams.

  7. Tip

    You can make creative pillow covers from old, unwanted clothing, household textiles such as dishtowels or curtains, or embellish a basic pillow cover using sequins, pom-poms or jewels.

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Things You'll Need

  • 18-inch by 18-inch fabric square
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Trim (optional)
  • 12- to 14-inch zipper (optional)
  • Buttons (optional)
  • Snaps (optional)
  • Embellishments (optional)

About the Author

Based in northern Virginia, Rebecca Rogge has been writing since 2005. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College and has experience in teaching, cleaning and home decor. Her articles reflect expertise in legal topics and a focus on education and home management.

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