MAKE IT YOURSELF // Pillow Covers

I made my own pillow covers because I couldn’t find pillows that I liked that were also affordable. Today I am sharing how to make these from fabric and vintage linens.

how to make pillow covers

After shopping everywhere for pillows, I decided to make my own pillow covers. I wasn’t happy with the fabric selection of the ready-made pillows and the prices were crazy (ranging from $35 – $90). After a quick trip to the Ventura flea market, the fabric store (Joann’s) and IKEA (for down pillow inserts) I was all set. 

fabric for pillow covers

The fabrics shown and notions in the photo represent everything you will need to make pillow covers. I thought I would share how easy it is to make them!

Cost Breakdown (for one pillow)

Fabric: $7

Antique Small Linens: $1.50 (bought two)

Down Insert: $6 from IKEA

Zipper: .50

Total: $10 – $15 for one pillow 

What You Will Need to Make Pillow Covers

  • 20″ x 20″ down pillow insert (you can use any size but you will have to adjust your measurements) 
  • 2/3 yard fabric (45″ wide) 
  • 18″ zipper 
  • Thread
  • Iron and ironing board

Step By Step Instructions

Step  #1 

Cut one piece of fabric 22″ wide x 43″ long. I left the fabric folded and cut a piece 22″ wide. The width of the fabric was 45″ wide, so I cut off 2″ from the width.

Step  #2

how to make fabric pillow covers

Fold the fabric so you have a folded piece measuring 22′ x 21 1/2″. Measure 2″ in from both sides of the 22″ length side and mark with chalk. The opening in the middle between the chalk mark is for your zipper and should measure 18″.

Step  #3

sewing pillow covers

All seam allowances for the pillow covers are 1/2″. Sew a two-inch seam from the edge to your chalk mark on both sides. Baste the remaining zipper opening with a long stitch. Do not backstitch.

Step  #4

MIY for linen pillows (E) .jpg

Press open the basted seam and pin the zipper on top.

Step  #5

Using a zipper foot, sew in the zipper. Remove basting thread.

Step  #6

MIY linen pillow cases (F) .jpg

Turn the fabric right side in and fold the fabric above the zipper down 2 1/2″. This allows room for the 1″ sewn border that we will add at the end. (If you put the zipper on the edge, you can’t add the 1″ border.) Pin both sides and sew a 1/2″ seam on both sides. Be sure to open the zipper about 6″ before you sew the edges or you won’t be able to turn it right side out! (I found this out the hard way on the first one)

Step  #7

MIY pillow cases (G) .jpg

Turn pillow cover right side out and press. Stitch a 1″ border all the way around the outside edge of the pillow. Insert down pillow form. You’re done!

For reference, I made three different pillow covers. One with each of the vintage linens and one plain one. All three are pictured below. 

Made with linen fabric purchased from Joanne’s Fabrics.

MIY pillow case (H) .jpg

Made from vintage linen pieces

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

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  1. I love IKEA down pillows, they are SOOOOO soft and scrunchable, and your linen & lace covers are BEAUTIFUL!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! The pillows at IKEA are not only soft and scrunchy but they are also so cheap!!! Best deal in town.

  2. Hi Leslie!
    How did you mount the vintage linens? Did you baste or sew them on top of the Joann linen? Before you did the zipper?
    They are beautiful. It’s a great way to use family heirlooms to enjoy them everyday!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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