How to make a Cushion Cover for your throw pillow

This is a tutorial to sew 2 different types of cushion covers – a cushion cover with a hidden zipper opening in the back and another with a simple slip-on opening.
how to make a cushion cover


A square throw pillow is the best way to change the decor and vibe of any room. It is one of those moveable home decor things you can change at will, to completely transform a room into something else.

Sewing a cushion cover for your cushion is easy for anyone with basic sewing skills; you can simply sew two square pieces and keep the cushion insert inside and close with hand-sewing stitches for a really simple cushion cover.

But you can make a  much more professionally finished cushion covers with proper openings just as easily. 

Here are two ways to deal with the opening of your cushion cover – first is with a zipper opening hidden with a simple lapped construction and second is a basic envelop style of opening.

Cushion cover sewing – fabric

Preferably, make your cushion covers in natural fabrics like cotton, silk, flax, and wool because these fabrics are very comfortable against your body and they accommodate and adjust to the temperature and humidity of your atmosphere and give you great comfort.

Other favored fabrics for making cushion covers are Viscose, rayon, bamboo, and even some good quality blends. For decorative purposes you can use upholstery fabrics, fabrics with unusual weaves, embroidered fabrics and other textured fabrics.

You can check out this post on this pinterest board for some beautiful pictures of cushion covers which you can use to embellish your own.

You can make patchworked fabric or make the front piece with a mitered border. 

Measure the side of your cushion. Take this as X 

The standard pillow insert measures a 16-inch square. I am making the covers for my 16-inch square throw pillow.

Cushion cover with a hidden lapped zipper opening

For making this cushion cover, cut out fabric pieces of the following dimensions:

cut fabric pieces for the cushion cover - 17 inch squre; 17 inch by 14 1/4 inch piece; 4 1/2 inch by 17 inch piece
Cut fabric pieces for the cushion cover – 17 inch squre; 17 inch by 14 1/4 inch piece; 4 1/2 inch by 17 inch piece

Front piece : Cut one fabric square piece with sides equalling X + 1″.

Back pieces :

Fabric piece A measuring width = X + 1″; Length = (X + 1) minus 2 3/4″

Fabric piece B measuring width = X + 1″; Length = 4 1/2″

Zipper of any length

How to sew the cushion cover 

Keep the zipper face down on the 17 inch edge of your B piece.  Sew with a zipper foot, so that you can sew close to the zipper edge.

Keep the zipper face down on the 17 inch edge of your back B piece

Flip the fabric so that the zipper is turned to the other side. Top stitch along the zipper teeth, to keep the fabric neatly to the side.

Flip and top stitch the zipper in place

Take the other fabric piece B. Finish the edge with a zig zag stitch to prevent unraveling.

Fold the top edge 1 1/4 inch to the inside.

sew a cushion cover -turn the top edge 1 1/4 inch to the inside

Keep the Fabric A on top overlapping. The zipper is over the folded edge.

Keep the B piece over the bottom piece, zipper overlapping over the folded edgemake cushion cover

Sew the zipper to the other edge – the red line is the stitching line. The small red lines denote the end of the zipper – this line on your zipper will depend on how long is your zipper. 

Sew in place- the red line in the picture shows the stitching line for the cushion cover

On the other side, the stitching will look like this.

make a cushion cover

You will have the back piece like this – with a covering over the zipper.

How it looks on the front when stitching is complete - the zipper is hidden

Open the zipper.

Now keep the two fabric pieces, front and back, right sides together.

Keep the two cushion cover fabrics - back and front - rightsides together
Keep the two cushion cover fabrics – back and front – rightsides together

Sew along the perimeter, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Sew with 1/2 inch seam allowance

Bring the cushion cover, rightside out through the zipper opening.

cushion cover making tutorial

Method 2. Basic Envelop style cushion cover

how to sew simple envelop style cushion cover

This is the most basic cushion cover – you insert the cushion insert through the overlapping opening on the back of the throw pillow (Picture above). For making this simple cushion cover, Cut out fabric pieces of the following dimensions:

cushion cover making tutorial - cut 17 inch square; 17 inch by 12 inch; 17 inch by 12 inch pieces

Front piece : Cut one fabric square piece with sides equalling X + 1″.

Back pieces : Cut 2 fabric pieces ; Fabric pieces A & B measuring width = X + 1″; Length X divided by 2 plus 3 1/2 inches.

Finish the edges of the back pieces – just turn under the edges and stitch in place.

Keep top overlap fabric rightside down over the front piece right side up. Sew along the edge.

make cushion cover

Now keep the other fabric piece at the bottom. Sew along the edge – red stitching line.

Bring the cushion cover rightside out through the opening.

Another way is to make this with a single piece of fabric.

Width plus 1 inch; Double the length plus 11 inches

So for my 16 inch square pillow you need to cut 17 inch wide and 43 inch long fabric piece. Finish the edges of this piece- just turn the edges to the inside twice (1/4 inches) and stitch in place.

Do this for both the edges. Now keep this fabric rightside up in front of you.

Mark and fold 13 inch and then 16 from the left edge. You will have 13 inches extra – this is for the overlap. Fold this over the other side – this will overlap over the other side. Pin this in place. Now stitch the sides. Turn your cushion cover rightside out.

Piped and corded cushion covers.

Piping can add a definition to the cushion cover edges. To make a cushion cover with piping SImply cut out your piping and insert between the fabric pieces in the final step of sewing the periphery edge.

A corded cushion cover can have the same effect or even more beautiful effect than the piped one.

To make a cushion cover with beautiful cord attached along the edge, you need to take a hand sewing needle and thread and simply stitch the cord along the edge – yes, it is that easy.

Start somewhere along the middle of an edge. When you start attaching the cord, leave an inch of the cord unstitched at the start.

Start sewing with a matching thread, catching the cord and the edge with your sewing needle and sew with tiny stitches. When you reach 1 inch where you started, cut off the extra cord leaving 1 inch extra.

You can join the two cords, by unraveling the cord and cutting some thread from both the edges- you can twist the two ends together and then after everything is neatly twisted into a new cord, stitch the cord to the remaining space.

Cushion shell (Inner case for the cushion)

This is a mandatory inside cover for your cushion if you want to protect your cushion insert from stains, dust, etc. You can use this cushion cover inside your main cushion cover. This can be made with a thin muslin cotton fabric – or just cut the fabric out of an old cotton bedsheet. As it is used inside, it does not matter that the color of the fabric is faded or not.

Measure the sides of the cushion and add 1 inch extra to this. Take 2 fabric pieces of this measure and then cut this out.

Keep this piece folded, right sides together. Sew the side edges together and some inches from either side from the top edge.

Leave a big gap to insert the pillow form inside.

Now bring this cover right side out, through the hole you have left.

Take your pillow form and insert it through the hole. Sew the sides closed by hand sewing. You can use a ladder stitch for this.

For more techniques to make covers check out this post on sewing pillow covers.

Related posts : How to sew a cushion cover with piping

envelope cushion cover

How to sew a bedsheet

sew bedsheet

 How to sew a baby blanket; How to sew a pieced and quilted blanket; Types of hand sewing stitchesBedsheet – standard sizes ; Best fabrics for bedsheets

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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