Art & Design DIY

DIY: Sew a Pillow/Cushion and Envelope Cover

You know those pillow and cushion covers on interior design websites. Want to sew your own? Learn how to make a pillow insert and then also make your own cover for it.


  • sewing machine
  • sewing pins
  • scissors
  • fabric for pillow (two) 18 x 13″ (45.72 x 33.02 cm) rectangles
  • fabric for pillow cover (two) 20 x 15″ (50.8 x 38.1 cm) rectangles
  • fiber fill (8 oz. / 226 g bag)

Sewing Machine Used

Singer Heavy Duty 4423

The fabric that I used for the actual pillow insert was a super soft t-shirt (above, left) that got holes in it from the washing machine. A different shirt (above, middle) was too small for me.

Step 1: Cut Up the T-shirt

Cut each of the side seams of the t-shirt. You’re basically cutting both sides until you have one long piece of fabric. Then cut the sleeves off too. Lastly, cut along the top neck part so that you have two rectangle pieces of fabric.


Step 2: Sew the T-Shirt into a Pillow

Face the smooth sides of the fabric with each other. (Technically you don’t have to because you won’t see the pillow. It’s still a good habit to get into.) Use a zig-zag stitch to sew three of the sides together. (The zigzag stitch allows the stitch to stretch with the fabric without the thread breaking.)


Don’t forget to do a back-stick at the start of each stitch so your work doesn’t unravel.

Leave one of the shorter sides open to make filling the pillow go by faster. (I sewed 75% of the last side. This left me with a small hole and filling the pillow took so long.) Once you’re sewed the three sides, flip the pillow inside out and fill it with the fiber fill.

Keep moving the fiber fill around as you fill the pillow so it’s not lumpy. Now it’s time to close it.


Bring the ends of the opening together and pin it. If you kept one whole side open, you will need more pins than I did.

Now stitch it closed. The stiches don’t have to be pretty because the pillow will be going inside of a cover.


Step 3: Cut Up Second Shirt

Start with the fabric/old shirt of your choice. Then cut the side seams just like on the t-shirt.

You will also need to cut the top and sleeves off as well. Just like before.

You now have two long rectangles of fabric. One rectangle will be used for the back and the other rectangle will be for the front.

Step 4: Sew the Pillow Cover

The front will be the side that everyone will see. Decide which side you want that to be. This shirt had a neck decoration and I wanted to incorporate that into the front of the pillow.

Take the second rectangle. Cut that into two pieces horizontally (above, left). You will want two wide pieces that equal the size of the front rectangle piece.

Sew a hem stitch for each of those sides. If you are working with a shirt, one side will already have a finished hem (below).

Next you will pin the two pieces you just cut, onto the large front rectangle piece. Face the vibrant sides of the fabric together. (That will be the side of the cover everyone will see.) Make sure there is about 1/2″ (12.7 mm) of overlap of one of the smaller pieces over the other. This will ensure there is an “envelope” so that the pillow inside the cover won’t show.

Take a closer look at the overlap (below).


Now stitch the two smaller pieces onto the larger front rectangle piece. Sew across the long sides and then the end sides.

When you finish you will have a pillow cover with an “envelope” opening on the back.

Use the opening to insert and remove the pillow. Voila! How are you going to style your new pillow and cover?


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