How to Sew a Pillow Cover for a 16 by 16 inch Pillow Form

After I learned how to use my sewing machine, sewing pillow covers was one of the first projects I learned. An envelope cover is so so so simple to make. If you are a beginner seamstress, and you are looking for a project, starting with an envelope cover is perfect.

If you’re wanting some color or texture changes around your home, sewing a pillow cover can be a really wise investment of your time. Buying a half of a yard of fabric can cost much less than a new decorative pillow.

Below I have created a simple tutorial for sewing an envelope pillow cover specifically for a 16 inch by 16 inch pillow form. This same tutorial can be used for other square sizes, but be sure to add or subtract inches where necessary.

The fabric I used was Emmy Grace by Bari J. for Art Gallery Fabrics. I mentioned in another post that Art Gallery Fabrics has really been producing some beautiful lines of fabric. Has anyone else noticed this?

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
1. Start with finding or buying a 16 inch by 16 inch pillow form. Before you run out and buy one, be sure to check your closets or bedrooms for extra pillows lying around. This is a wonderful project for updating some outdated pillows.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
2. Cut a piece of fabric 16 inches by 16 inches. This will be the panel for the front of the pillow cover. You may ask: But what about seam allowance? Don’t I need my fabric bigger than my pillow form?

I like my pillow covers to fit snug and crisp. I almost always sew the cover a bit smaller than the pillow form to ensure a tight fit.

If you prefer a lose fitting pillow cover, vary your measurements accordingly.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
3. Cut two more pieces of fabric each measuring 16 inches by 11 inches. These two panels will form the back envelope section of the pillow cover.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
4. On one long end of each back panel, fold over an approximate quarter of an inch. Iron the crease. This will create finished edges on the back of your pillow.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
5. Stitch the little folds down from the above picture. I used about an eighth of an inch seam allowance.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
6. Lay your large front panel face up on your table. Then lay one of your smaller back panels face down. Note that the hemmed edge is in the middle of the pillow cover.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
7. Lay the second panel for the back face down on top of the other two panels.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
Here’s another look below at the stack of fabric.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
8. Pin all the way around the perimeter of your fabric. They are kind of hard to see, but I have pins every three inches or so in the below picture.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
9. Sew around the entire perimeter of your pillow cover with a quarter of an inch seam allowance. When you are sewing and come to a corner, stop sewing, leave your needle in the fabric, lift up your presser foot, rotate your fabric, and then keeping going again.

Once you have sewn the entire perimeter and come back to where you started, be sure to back stitch to secure your stitch. Back stitching prevents your thread from unraveling.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
10. While your pillow cover is still wrong side out, snip off the corners to create a blunt corner. This will result in a sharper point when you flip your cover right side out.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
11. Using the opening you created in the back, turn your pillow cover right side out. It should look very similar to the below picture.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
The back of the pillow should appear like this:

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
12. Stuff your pillow form into your new pillow cover.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
My husband and I have slowly been updating our entry way, and the plan is to leave this on a chair right by the front door. The varieties of color in this fabric give me much freedom with my decorating options.

Emmy Grace, Bari J, Art Gallery Fabrics. Sewing a cover for a 16 by 16 pillow form.
If you are looking for additional inspiration for sewing pillow covers, click through to a recent post titled: Four Tips for Improving your Pillow Covers. Learning this trade called sewing has been such a journey for me, and I just keep sharing as I keep learning.

Four Tips for Improving Quilted Pillow Covers. How to Sew a Pillow Cover.

What about you? Have you made pillow covers like this before or do you have a different method??

 

(Please note that affiliate links have been used in this post.)

7 thoughts on “How to Sew a Pillow Cover for a 16 by 16 inch Pillow Form

  1. Thank you for these clear and straightforward directions! This beginning sewist was able to complete a pillow cover today, which is no small feat. I’m looking forward to delving into more of your tutorials!

    1. Hi Glenna! I’d have to agree with you that zippers are a better option than envelope covers. 🙂 I was so intimidated by the zipper a couple years ago and envelope covers were a great solution for me. Good for you for learning and using zippers!

  2. I love this straightforward tutorial! I’m getting ready to make a couple of 18×18 pillows tonight, just have to adjust the measurements a bit.

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