Join me for a quick and budget friendly sewing tutorial on how to DIY a pillow cover from tea towels. It’s an easy and simple way to make an adorable pillow cover to use in your home decor.
Anybody else love changing out there pillow covers to match the season or decor in a room? I certainly do, because beautiful pillows are a simple way to change decor and make on impact in any room. Join me today as I share with you how to DIY a pillow cover from tea towels.
Why Tea Towels?
Tea towels are generally inexpensive and easy to buy, whether from a Walmart or a dollar store. There are often beautiful prints made on tea towels that match the season or really any colour or design in your home. I love picking up a cute towel to match the spring theme in my kitchen for example. Kitchen towels are the perfect size with just enough fabric to make an easy pillow cover. Look for tea towels that are at least 20″ wide and this will be perfect width for your cover.
Pillow covers on the other hand are a bit more expensive and sometimes I just can’t find the right colour or style. The same is true for fabric. I don’t have a fabric store available nearby me and even a small amount fabric can be expensive.
While I still enjoy using fabric to make a cushion cover, in fact I even have a tutorial on that, I wanted to share another option for making a pillow cover.
Only Basic Sewing Skills Needed
Please don’t worry if you don’t know how to sew well. This sewing project requires only minimal sewing skills. If you know how to use a sewing machine and can sew a straight line in a basic stitch, you’ll be set. (Check out your sewing guide that comes with the machine for extra help is needed.)
- 2 tea towels ( 20″ x 28″ approximately) https://amzn.to/3I2qaND
- pillow insert https://amzn.to/3XEVsA8
- Sewing machine https://amzn.to/3YQqyFH
- thread https://amzn.to/40PYapb
- Scissors https://amzn.to/3E8iSql
- Measuring tape https://amzn.to/3YvVNq1
- Pins https://amzn.to/3IoM9Q8
- Marking pen https://amzn.to/3IrAJLL
- Iron https://amzn.to/3YV62E5
Sewing a DIY Cushion Cover
You can find the basic supplies to make your pillow cover at your local fabric store, Walmart or online at Amazon.
Pillow inserts are often called throw pillow inserts. They come in various sizes, but for this project I’m using a 20 x 20 inch pillow. They are usually filled with a polyester or microfibre fill. You can also buy down filled pillows. If you invest in some good quality pillow inserts, they will hopefully last for a while, as you are only changing the covers on them.
Here are some basic sewing supplies needed for sewing your DIY cushion cover. You will need a sewing machine. A machine that only needs to sew a simple straight stitch and a zigzag stitch. You will also want an iron for pressing your fabric. Thread that matches the colour of your tea towel, fabric scissors, a measuring tape, straight sewing pins and a marking pen finish off the supply list.
Cutting Out the Cover Pieces
The first step is to measure your pillow insert. I am using a 20 x20″ pillow form, so I will cut the pieces of fabric to fit this exact size because its always nicer to have the pillow cover a couple inches smaller then the pillow form. This is a good trick because it makes your pillow look fluffier and fills out the pillow cover well once you insert the pillow form. When you allow for the seam allowance, the finished cover will be an inch or two smaller then your insert.
Tip: If the tea towel you are using is less than 20 inches wide, just use a 18 x 18” pillow form. You can also open up the side seams of the tea towels long edges to give you a little more width. It’s a bit of work with a seam ripper but gives you more room to make a bigger pillow.
Lay your new tea towels out on a flat surface. Measure, mark and cut one tea towel into a 20 x 20 inch square. Mark on the wrong side. This is the front piece of the cover. You will have excess fabric to cut off.
With the second tea towel, measure, mark and cut the tea towel exactly in half. These two pieces should be approximately 20 x 13″ each. These pieces are for the back of the pillow cover and it’s okay with they are longer than 13”. This will just create a deeper envelope fold at the back and will also save time as the ends are already hemmed for you.
Iron the Pillow Cover Pieces
Iron the pieces of fabric to smooth out any creases or wrinkles in your material. Make sure your iron is on the correct fabric setting for the type of material you are using. As you are ironing use a water spray bottle to gently mist your fabric if you’re having trouble getting the wrinkles out.
Sewing the Pillow Cover Together
It’s time to assemble your pillow pieces and sew them together. Lay the large 20 x 20″ piece right side up on the table. Place one of the smaller back pieces on top with the right sides together and the hemmed side facing the middle. Line up the outer edges of the pillow. Next place the second back piece, right sides together on top of the other side. Again with the hemmed side facing inward. The two back pieces should overlap in the centre. This creates the a neat, easy envelope opening, where the pillow insert goes in.
Pin all around the edges of the pillow pieces to make sure they stay in place as you sew.
Sew around the outer edges of your pieces with a 5/8″ seam allowance using a straight stitch. Next sew a zig zag stitch between the seam and the edge of the fabric. This will prevent the fabric from fraying.
Clip all four corners of the pillow cover to help the corners look good once you flip it right side out. Trim all your threads.
Turn your pillow cover right side out. It can be helpful to use a blunt end of a pencil to help gently push the corners out.
The final step is to insert your pillow form into the back of the pillow cover and gently fluff your pillow.
Find a beautiful spot to place your decorative pillow and enjoy how pretty it looks added to your home decor.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and that I’ve inspired you to try this DIY project and make a new pillow cover too.
If you are interested check out my post on how to make a pillow cover from fabric. https://behomeinspired.com/2022/03/16/diy-pillow-cover-sewing-tutorial/
Until next time…. Have a great day and happy sewing your own DIY first pillow cover from tea towels!