We are in the process of moving, and last weekend we tackled the dreaded deed of emptying out the earth-floor basement. Sifting through the dusty plastic storage bins in the backyard, we pieced together an archeological  survey of our living room decór.

The deepest (and oldest) strata told of the ‘Mumbai Tea House’ era, complete with tasseled orange silk duponi roller shades and fuchsia pillow covers for the rattan day bed. Swinging wildly to the other side of the spectrum, we had the ‘Black and White’ era, in which the chairs were upholstered with this fabric from Michael Miller. (Get it? Chairs!)

Somewhere near the top, I found the pillow cover pictured above. Let’s call it the ‘organic modern’ era. It’s an aesthetic unassuming enough to not even warrant capitalization.

This is pretty much still my style. The pillow’s basement fate says nothing of how much it’s loved, but more about the breakneck speed with which I update and change things.

Pillow covers are probably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to change a room. My favorite pillow covering technique is fast, easy (no zippers or buttons!) and removeable for when that urge hits next.

The back of the pillow has overlapping panels that allow yoverlap_sizedou to forego any type of fastener. The pillow cover itself is a great beginner sewer project. The detail on the front can be scaled up or down, depending on skill and how much time you want to spend.

What You Need:

1/2 yard fabric or more if you’re covering a large pillow (I used a wool blend)

scrap fabric for the details (linen, in this case)

sewing machine


fabric glue

chalk (for design placement and marking)


What To Do:

1. Measure your pillow. Add 1″ to each side measurement and cut one square of fabric this size for the front panel. My pillow was 15″ on each side, so my square was 16×16″. I made a quick paper pattern to use and then stash for when I want to change the pattern_sizedpillow cover next time.

2. For the back panels of the pillow, cut two fabric rectangles that are the length of the front panel and 3/4 of the width. So, according to that calculation, my back panels are 16″ long and 12″ wide.stem

3. Embellish the front pillow panel. I marked an organic curve with chalk and then stitched three rows along the line to make the stem of my design. I used a dot of fabric glue to glue the kidney bean and petaloval-shaped linen fabric leaves and petals to make an abstract flower bloom. Then I painstakingly stitched around each edge with tiny machine stitches.


4. Once you have your front panel looking as you like it, iron a hem into one long side of each back panel and stitch.

insideout5. Lay each back panel on top of the front panel (right sides together) so that the hemmed edges of the back panels are towards the center and overlap. Stitch around all sides.


6. The pillow cover now has overlapping edges.  Turn it right side out and insert the pillow.