Making A Quilted Pillow Cover: A Step-by-Step Guide Update 05/2022

How many of you have considered trying your hand at quilting but are unsure where to start? Making a complete quilt?

That sounds daunting, but there are other simpler projects you may do first.

I’ll show you how to make a quilted pillow cover today. This is a fantastic way to try quilting while having a lot of fun!

This is a beginner-friendly project, and we’d like to assist you in getting started! Let’s get started!

Quilted Pillow Cover Tutorial

A pillow cover is an excellent opportunity to try your hand at quilting and sewing without feeling intimidated by a large job.

I’ll show you how to make a zipped pillow in this tutorial. If a zipper is still too daunting for you (I’ve been there and know how it feels), you can easily change this into an envelope-style pillow. That will be discussed later.

Pillow covers are so much fun because you can make a new decor element in only a few hours that can completely transform the look and feel of any home. It can also allow you to use your imagination and create something unique that no one else has. What a fantastic idea!

Let’s go right into the tutorial and make this quilted pillow cover together, shall we?

Quilted Pillow Cover Supplies

  • For this technique, I used an 18″ cushion insert, but you can use any size you wish. As an alternative, you could utilize an existing throw pillow as the insert.
  • Sewing Materials: Sewing machine, thread, rotary cutter (or scissors if you don’t have one), ruler, or whatever to use as a straight edge to trim the edges of your cloth
  • Fabric for the pillow’s front: The amount will vary depending on the shape of the pillow top, but in general, the pillow top should be 1″ smaller than the pillow insert. This will give your pillow a fluffy and complete appearance. So, since my pillow insert is 18 inches square, I’ll make my pillow top 17 inches square. If you choose to use a solid piece of fabric instead of piecing together the pillow top, simply cut it to 17″ square.
  • For your quilted pillow top, you will need batting. I use cotton batting only. For the quilting procedure, cut the batting square at least 1″ bigger than the pillow top. So I’m going to cut my batting into 18″ squares.
  • Fabric for the pillow’s back: Two components are required. I cut one piece 9″x17″ and the other 12″x17″ for my 18″ pillow (the backing piece should also be 1″ smaller than the cushion insert).
  • Binding fabric for the pillow: I cut a 5′′ x 42″ piece into two 2 12″ x 42″ strips (step 5).
  • I used a 16-inch zipper.
  • Basting Spray or Pins

How To Make a Quilted Pillow Cover

Step 1: Choose the fabric, pattern, and size of the pillow insert.

Because I wanted to make a basic pattern for this tutorial, I used fabric from a jellyroll. “Jellyroll” is a funny name for 2.5″ wide fabric with a length determined by the width (WOF).

If you are a beginner, this would be an excellent choice. Simply cut the strips to the length you need them to be (1″ smaller than the pillow insert) and sew them together lengthwise until the appropriate width is reached; mine took exactly 7 strips.

You may find all kinds of inspiration and ideas for what pattern to choose by searching on Instagram or Pinterest.

Step 2: Create your pillow top and make your “quilt sandwich.”

Now comes the exciting part! Sew all of your cushion top pieces together using the design of your choice.

After you’ve stitched together your pillow top, you’ll build your “quilt sandwich.” There will be three layers to the sandwich:

  • Top of pillow
  • Cut your batting 1″ bigger than your pillow top.
  • Fabric for the back of the cushion (This will only be seen on the inside of the pillow, so don’t use anything fancy; I just used white broadcloth). -cut your fabric to the same size as your batting.

The three layers should be pinned or sprayed together. You’re now ready to quilt. Yay!

Step 3: Quilt as desired and trim edges to ensure your pillow top is square.

On this pillow top, I decided to quilt straight lines. For this sort of quilting, the seams serve as excellent guides. This is a beginner-friendly quilting technique. I also like how modern it looks.

Once you’ve finished quilting, clip away any excess batting or backing fabric and check for square edges.

Take a moment to appreciate your progress – you’ve just finished quilting your lovely pillow cover!

Step 4: Attach the zipper to the backing fabric.

I utilized a hidden zipper on the back of the pillow cover in this example.

If you don’t want to use a zipper, this guide can easily be modified to make an envelope-style pillow cover instead.

Instead of attaching a zipper, hem the two edges that will join together in the middle of the cushion, as I suggested in the supplies section.

Whether you use a zipper or want to make an envelope cover, we want one piece to be longer than the other so they overlap properly. I would divide the length of the pillow top by two to adjust this to a different sized cushion insert. Add 12″ to the bottom piece (for the hem) and 3 12″ to the top (for the hem plus 3′′ overlap).

If you’re constructing a cover for a 20-inch cushion insert, for example, you’ll cut:

  • Bottom: 10″x 19″
  • Top: 13″x 19″

Hem them by ironing the edge over 14 inches, folding it over, and ironing it again. When you wash the pillow cover, the double fold ensures that it will not fray. Clean hemmed edges are achieved by topstitching over the fold. Because the rest of the edges will be hidden by the binding, they can be left alone.

Make sure your completed backing piece matches the size of your pillow top.

After you’ve double-checked that both cushion pieces are the same size, place them together right sides out. The zipper will be on the back, just like it will be when the pillow is finished, and your pillow top will be facing out.

Tip: I prefer to bast the pillow’s perimeter with an 18″ basting stitch. This will prevent the layers from shifting while you apply the binding.

Step 5: Bind the pillow.

Because my pillow cover is 17 inches square, I’ll multiply 174 to get the length of my binding. In addition, I prefer to add 6″ to ensure that I have enough binding.

17×4= 68+6= 74″

So I’ll need a little less than two strips of a standard quilting cotton fabric, which is typically 42″ to 44″ wide. The binding width should be 2 12″. To make your binding, sew the pieces together and then fold the long strip in half.

Sew the binding to the pillow top with a 14-inch seam, then flip it over and stitch it to the back of the pillow cover by hand or with your sewing machine.

Step 6: Stuff the cover with your pillow insert and ENJOY!

Congratulations! You finished an entire quilt project!


I hope you learned how to make a quilted pillow cover from my tutorial and now have the confidence to make your own! You can practically customize and construct whatever size pillow you want or need with this fun and adaptable craft.

These would also make wonderful gifts! This new ability you’ve learnt has limitless applications! Have fun sewing!

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