Easy DIY Holiday Pillow Recover

Posted on Nov 7, 2013

porch chairs with fall  pillows

 The Inspiration


Last week I went on a walk in my neighborhood and realized I had really let my yard go.  I’m a life long gardener, so my standards my be a little higher than average, but I was really embarrassed at how little effort I’d put in lately. I always love a good cottage garden and on my walk, I was delighted to see a real beauty with it’s curved path, smattering of flowers and great use of color on the chairs by the front door.  It was then that the swift kick in the pants hit me and I knew what I needed to do: a makeover on my outdoor pillows!   I’ve recovered pillows before, but never for outdoors and never specifically for a season.  Usually I like the flowers to be the only color in my garden, but it was high time for a change and goodness knows my front yard needed it.  No it didn’t address my ugly garden that needed work, but it was a good starting point and a lovely distraction:0).

Using pillows you already have and just making a new “slip cover” for them saves you the expense of having to pay for whole new pillows and you don’t have to store bulky pillows all year.  Plus, once you have them made, you can change them as you wish for years to come!


pumpkin porch collage

 My Interpretation


Another advantage to making seasonal a pillow “slip cover” is I don’t feel stuck to one color scheme or one pattern, even the original. { Its a flaw: I get bored.}

This project does require some sewing and a zipper, but it’s so easy that you can even stitch it by hand if you don’t have a machine. You can do this for indoor pillows, too, but if you’re doing outdoor pillows, take care to get outdoor fabric that will retain it’s color  from year to year.


Here’s how to do it:

1. Measure your pillows so you know how much fabric you will need.  It depends on their size and how many you intend to make.  I only did the two main pillows on my front porch in order to get the most impact. Get a zipper the same or close to the same length as your pillows.

Measure pillow


2. Mark the cutting lines on your fabric leaving one edge on the fold (it’s one less seam to sew). Whatever your pillow width is add 1/2″ seam allowance on both sides.  For the side opposite the fold add 1/2″ seam allowance as well.

measure fabric for pillows


3. Cut the fabric.  On the side opposite the fold, fold the edges under 1/2″.  I just use my fingers to press the edges under.

Pillow slip cover


4. Pin one side of the zipper to a folded edge (so the zipper and the edge are both facing up) and stitch. You can overlap the edge of the fabric on the zipper a bit to help hide the zipper later.  There’s nothing tricky.  Just stitch straight down. A zipper foot is a big help here if you’re using a machine.  Close the zipper repeat with the other folded edge and the other side of the zipper.  Just stitch straight down again.  Voila!  You now have a zipper!  And a piece of fabric in a ring shape.  You’re already almost done!

5PP pin zip1     Pin Zipper     10PP sew


5. Open the zipper just enough so you can fit your hand through and turn your ring of fabric inside out.  Line up the outside edges and stitch both sides. Put your hand inside and open the zipper all the way.  It takes a little coordination :0).

8PP pin sides      9PP open zip


6. Turn the whole thing right side out and slip it on your pillow.  Voila! A 15 minute make-over!

11PP ready   12PP case

What’s great about recovering an existing pillow is that you can put it on for the season and take it off when the season is over.  Simply stash the cover with any other seasonal items and use it again next year.  It’s so easy I’m already looking at fabric for Christmas pillows:0)

More Inspiration:

Julian, California
The Best Apple Pie Recipe!
7 Top Organizing Tips for Christmas Decorations
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