Easy DIY Embroidered Pillow Cover

  • 01 of 06

    Make an Embroidered Pillow for Home Decor or a Gift

    Basic Pillow-Making Supplies
    Mollie Johanson

    The next time you're thinking of getting new throw pillows, consider making your own and adding some of your embroideries to the front! It's possible to buy pillow covers on which you can stitch directly, but if you have basic sewing skills, you can make them yourself. It's so easy!

    An embroidered pillow also makes a nice gift because, like any embroidery, it can be customized for the recipient. 

    There are lots of ways to sew covers for throw pillows, and this tutorial will create an envelope-style cover. You can adapt the size and shape to fit the pillow you want to make.

    The pillow in the photos starts with some oversized stitching and the free Choose Joy embroidery pattern. You can start with any embroidery you like, as long as the fabric around it is large enough.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Pillow Cover Supplies and Preparations

    The pillow shown in this tutorial measures 12in x 16in, and materials are listed accordingly. However, instructions are included for customizing the size.


    • Finished embroidery with fabric measuring at least 13in square
    • Contrasting fabric - 1/4 yard
    • Backing fabric - 1/3 yard
    • Pillow insert - 12in x 16in
    • Basic sewing supplies
    • Sewing machine


    For each of the pieces, the easiest way to cut the fabric is with a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat. If you don't have that, measure and mark out a paper pattern for each piece. 

    Cut the embroidered piece to 13in square. 

    Cut the contrasting fabric to 4.5in x 13 in.

    Cut two pieces of backing fabric to 11 x 13in. 

    If you are making a cover for a pillow of another size, measure the pillow and add 1in to the dimensions when figuring the size for the front. For each of the two back pieces, divide the width of the pillow in half, then add 3in.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Sewing the Front and Back Pieces

    Make the Front

    Pin the contrasting piece to one side of the embroidered piece, with right sides together. Sew the pieces together with 1/4in seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end.

    Press the seam with an iron. You can press the seam open or if you have one fabric that is thicker than the other, such as linen, you can press the seam to one side. In this case, the seam is pressed toward the contrasting fabric.

    Make the Back

    Hem one 13in edge of each back piece. Press the edge to the wrong side by 1/2in. Sew the hem down 1/4in from the folded edge, then sew a second line 1/8in from that. This second line is optional but adds a nice detail. 

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Sewing the Pillow Pieces

    Sew the Cover Together

    Pin the front and back pieces of the pillow cover right sides together. Line up the raw edges of the back pieces with the edges of the front. The hemmed sides should overlap with each other.

    Sew around all four sides with a 1/4in seam allowance. Backstitch when you start and stop, as well as on the hemmed edges of the back pieces. Those areas will have extra stress when inserting and remove the pillow form, so having some backstitching will prevent the seams from ripping.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    FInishing the Pillow Cover

    Inserting the Pillow Form
    © Mollie Johanson


    Trim the four corners of the cover to remove bulk, but take care not to clip the seams. Turn the pillow cover right side out and poke the corners into place with a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil.

    Your pillow cover may need a bit of ironing. Be sure that you iron the embroidery without crushing your stitching.

    Slide the pillow form into the back of the cover, then push the other side in so that the other half of the back can cover it. Adjust the pillow inside so that it is straight and fills in the cover nicely.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Completed DIY Embroidered Pillow

    Your finished pillow would look great on your sofa or a bed. You could even make a set of pillows! And once you've made one, you can make more covers that easily swap out and fit the same pillow form. Rotate them seasonally or as you're ready for a change!

    With just a little bit of math, you can make embroidered pillow covers in more sizes. You can also sew extra contrasting fabric to extend smaller embroidery into a larger pillow. 

    The next time you're wondering what you can do with your finished embroidery, consider making this easy pillow!