How to Sew Pillow Slipcovers

I had two faded pillows that I made a few years ago for our front porch. I used outdoor fabric; however, they faded over time. I decided to make spring/summer slipcovers for them. (I am eventually going to make slipcovers for every season. So far, I just have Christmas slipcovers and these floral slipcovers.)

The first step was to measure the existing pillows. I flattened them the best I could to get an accurate measurement. I determined that the slipcovers needed to be 16.5 inches and I wanted a 1/2 inch seam, so this equated to 17.5 x 17.5 inches total.

Once I determined the size, I needed to square my fabric, so I would have two perfect squares. I used a triangular ruler and a yardstick. 

Below, you can see the pencil line that I drew to square my fabric. I cut this edge off. And cut this unfinished edge off too. Below I show how I cut the fabric into two pieces after measuring. And then ironed both pieces. Every time I iron when sewing, I remember my Mom’s advice to stop and iron along the way to ensure that everything is lined up correctly. Great advice, Mom! ❤️I keep an extra ironing board in my craft room for sewing. (My craft room sort of spills out until my office in our loft.) I LOVE my craft/workspace because I can see the lake and I feel like a bird on a perch looking down into the main area of our living space! 😃 Buddy our cat 😺 likes our loft too when he decides to have a lazy day inside. Now I have two perfect squares and I am ready to sew. It had been a while since I sewed a zipper and I am still working on my technique, so I must give credit to this Hobby Lobby video. I have bookmarked it on my laptop and watch it as a review each time I make a pillow slipcover.

I pinned the two pieces of fabric together with the right sides together. I then used a pencil and marked the top of my zipper, right above the metal pull. And marked the bottom of the zipper right below the metal stopper (notice the location of my pencil mark). I also marked (used a series of dashes) a half inch seam all the way around the pillow. In this picture, you can also see the straight pins holding the two pieces together. I then sewed the one side (bottom of the pillow slipcover where the zipper will go). I used the largest stitch possible on my sewing machine. Then I pressed this seam open. I then placed the zipper over the pressed open seam. I checked my pencil marks to ensure that it is lined up correctly and then sewed the zipper in place. Here is what it looks like after I sewed the zipper in place. 

And another look at this. My stitching is a little messy at the end of the zipper. 😳 I will improve over time. I doubt anyone will look that closely at the bottom of my pillow. 

Now I am ready to rip out the original stitching (basting) with my seam ripper.

Now I am ready to sew the other three sides. I just started using these clips instead of straight pins. I purchased them on Amazon. I think they work great! Once the three other sides are sown, then I turn it right-side out and stuffed the old pillow into the new slipcover. Then I repeated the process for the second pillow. Here is a closeup of the zipper at the bottom of the pillow. One pillow slipcover finished and one to go! Here are both pillows. Both finished pillows on our front porch bench from. 

Click here to see my blog post on chalk painting my front porch bench. It is now off-white.

Below are Christmas pillows I made (blog post coming soon). They are made the same way, except I stitched all the way around each fabric panel once I cut out the square because they are made with burlap and I did not want the raw edges to ravel over time. As you can see, we have updated our front porch bench since the picture above.

Here are more pillows I made for our porch swing. These do not have zippers. Fabric adds color, which is one of the reasons why I like to sew. It is an instant result!

Here is how I chalk painted my porch bench.

Below are desk seat cushions I made for my daughter Emmy and her college roommate Anna Kate when they lived in a dorm several years ago. Emmy and Keith now use these on their front porch rockers at their new home. 

Thanks for reading my blog post. Please comment and share!

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Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

6 thoughts on “How to Sew Pillow Slipcovers”

  1. For a novice like me, what sewing machine would you suggest for me to buy for simple projects? I’d love to learn to see things like this! I do lots of repurposing at my house and always look for ways to do things on a budget! You are SUPER TALENTED! I have loved looking at your blog! ❤️

    1. Thanks LeeAnn for reading my blog post! I have a Singer sewing machine (model 1120). It is very old, but works great! Neal and my children gave it to me for Christmas MANY years ago (when our kids were toddlers) and now they are 24 and 27. 😳 For a beginner, I would suggest a Singer or Brother. Walmart carries both. You could start off with a Singer that does basic stitches (maybe spend around $100+). Here is one I found at Walmart that might be a good option. I am looking at upgrading to a Brother that does embroidery. That is my first purchase once I learn I will be a grandmother (but not rushing this)!

      Good luck to you and keep the questions coming! Thanks again for reading my blog!

      1. Thanks for the tips! I can’t wait to dive into this part of crafting! I hope you share more sewing ideas soon! You are inspiring me! 💪

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