New pillow covers instantly update a room.

How to Reupholster a Pillow

by Anna Rose Johnson

When updating a living room, bedroom or formal sitting area, new pillows are the easiest way to bring new life into a dated room. Easier yet is how simple it is to make new pillow covers for those you already have. If you can sew four straight lines, you can reupholster a pillow. Visit your favorite home decor stores and get an idea of what patterns, colors and designs are current. Then head to a fabric store to pick out fabric and get to sewing. In 30 minutes sewing time, you'll have new pillow covers.

1 Take the old cover off of your pillow form. Measure the size of the old pillow cover and add ½ inch to each side for seam allowance.

2 Fold your fabric in half and cut out two identical squares. Place those two squares together with the right sides (patterned side) facing each other and pin together.

3 Sew one side using a ½-inch seam allowance with a straight stitch on your sewing machine. Open the seam and press flat with an iron.

4 Pin your zipper directly on the seam you just sewed and pressed open, face down on the seam. Sew around the zipper, using a zipper foot on your machine, stopping 1/2 inch from the end.

5 Turn the fabric over to the patterned side and carefully unpick the seam with a seam ripper. Unpick the seam until you're 1/2 inch away from the end of the zipper. This will reveal your zipper.

6 Fold the fabric together with the right sides facing each other again. Unzip the zipper halfway and sew up the remaining three sides.

7 Turn the finished case right side out and insert your pillow form.

Items you will need

  • Pillow form
  • 1/2 yard fabric (per pillow)
  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper foot
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Zipper (two inches shorter than the side of your pillow)
  • Seam ripper


  • Choose a bold fabric. The best part about pillow covers is that they can easily be changed. Pick a pattern you love in the moment. You can always switch it up later.
  • Prewash and iron your fabric before use. This will prevent shrinkage later if you ever need to wash your pillow cover.
  • Use a zipper that coordinates with your fabric. While the entire zipper won’t show, some of it will and it looks more professional if it matches.
  • If your pillow form feels flat, wrap quilt batting around it. This will add softness and plumpness to the finished pillow.


  • Always pin the fabric together, even if you think it is unnecessary. It’s better to do it right the first time than unpick seams later.

About the Author

A wordsmith at heart, Anna Rose Johnson has been writing about DIY home decor since 2009. Johnson has a successful DIY blog, The How-To Gal, where she documents her home renovations. Johnson is an avid thrifter and loves restoring a misused piece of furniture back to its original glory.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images