How to Make a Pillow Case for a Box Pillow

By Michelle Powell-Smith ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Decorator fabric
  • Piping or trim, as desired
  • Zipper of appropriate length
  • Sewing thread
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine
  • Compatible zipper foot

Do you need to revamp some old porch furniture or add a touch of color to your dining area? Box pillows or cushions are common in upholstered furniture. With only basic sewing skills, you can add color, comfort and style to your living space. You could also make box pillow pillowcases to make old cushions work for a cozy reading corner for the kids or a great meditation space for Mom.

Measure your pillow. You will need to measure the top of your cushion or box pillow as well as the distance around the edge of the pillow. A box pillow is typically rectangular or square, with a fairly generous depth. Making the box pillow pillowcase will require that you account for both that depth and the squared-off corners of the box pillow. You should note the length, width and depth of your pillow.

Create your pattern for a box pillow pillowcase. Allow an additional inch in each direction for seams. If your pillow is 14x16, cut your pillowcase top to at least 15x17 inches or even 16x18 inches if you prefer a more generous seam allowance. The bottom of the pillowcase needs an opening in order to allow you to place the pillow inside the case. A zipper is ideal; however, an overlap or hook and loop will also work well. You will need to cut two pieces for the top and bottom. Take your edge measurement and subtract your desired zipper length. Add 1 to 2 inches to this for seam allowances. Make this piece the depth of your cushion plus a 1- to 2- inch seam allowance. Finally, make the last pattern piece the length of the zipper. To determine the width of the pattern piece, take your side panel depth and subtract 1/4 inch for the zipper. Divide this measurement in half and cut two pieces the length of the zipper by this measurement.

Cut your pattern out of your decorator fabric. If you expect to wash your finished cushion cover, you should prewash and iron your fabric. If you will not be laundering your box pillow pillowcase, you will not need to worry about prewashing. You should also cut any piping or trims to your edge distance measurement plus seam allowances.

Install the zipper. When choosing a zipper, look for the longest one you can install without altering the look of your cushion cover. A longer zipper makes changing or washing the cover much easier. To install the zipper, place the right side of the zipper against the right side of fabric. Stitch 1/4 inch away from the teeth of the zipper using your machine's zipper foot, or as directed by the instructions included with your zipper. Repeat for the other strip of fabric. Press the fabric away from the zipper and top stitch 1/8 inch from the edge of the fabric. This zipper will allow you to open and close the box pillow pillowcase to allow for easy cleanups or seasonal changes.

Sew the side strip to your zipper piece with the zipper zipped. When sewing across the ends of the zipper, sew slowly and carefully to avoid breaking your needle. Be sure to keep your seam allowance to your preferred size, with 1/2 inch being fairly typical. Press your seam allowances toward the side strip and away from the zipper. Top stitch 1/8 inch from the edge of the seam on the side strip. If desired, add cording now by pinning to top and bottom of side strip and zipper piece for a designer touch on your box pillow pillowcase. Stitch using a zipper or cording foot before proceeding.

Assemble your cushion cover. Match the center back of your cushion top with the center of the zipper panel. Pin the piece into place and carefully stitch around using a short stitch length. Cut a notch into the corners to allow space to round the corners as you reach them. Repeat this for the bottom of your cushion. If you have used cording, you will need to use a zipper or other specialty foot to sew this seam.

Trim your seam allowances and press your box pillow pillowcase. Insert your box pillow, cushion or pillow form. Make as many as you need to freshen up a couch, porch furniture or your dining room chairs. Box pillows also work great as floor pillows and you can make them any size you prefer.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.