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Tutorial for Making Christmas Pillow Covers

Decorating for Christmas is easy with these pillow covers!  They store easily and slip right over an 18×18-inch pillow you probably already have laying around the house!

Most tutorials I found didn’t include full step-by-step instructions or patterns – here you have all that!

Each pillow takes about 1.5 hours

18.5″x18.5″ (laying flat)


2/3 yard (45″-wide) medium weight fabric
2 strips of 2″x20″ medium weight fusible interfacing
1/2 yard red satin/lining/crepe fabric
large button (1 to 1-1/2″ wide)
hand needle

2/3 yard (45″-wide) medium weight fabric
2 strips of 2″x20″ medium weight fusible interfacing
felt scraps of various colors
black crochet thread
silver metallic thread (opt.) or just black
clear thread (opt.) or just black
large button (1 to 1-1/2″ wide)
fabric chalk or disappearing fabric marker
hand needle

2/3 yard (45″-wide) medium weight fabric
2 strips of 2″x20″ medium weight fusible interfacing
white cotton fabric (10″ x 12″)
1 sheet double stick fusible web “Steam-A-Seam 2
white crochet thread
white ribbon (1/4 to 1/2″ wide)
large button (1 to 1-1/2″ wide)
hand needle with large eye
fabric chalk
pattern pieces (link)

2/3 yard (45″-wide) medium weight fabric
2/3 yard (45″-wide) lace fabric (opt.)
1/3 yard brown suede fabric for deer (or anything that doesn’t fray easily)
2 strips of 2″x20″ medium weight fusible interfacing
large button (1 to 1-1/2″ wide)
regular pen or pencil
hand needle
pattern pieces (link) *included in the pattern is a circle for making a red Rudolf nose but I did not do it in the tutorial – if you want to do it you will need a small scrap of red felt

2/3 yard  (45″-wide) medium weight fabric
2 strips of 2″x20″ medium weight fusible interfacing
2 sheets of creme craft felt
approx. 1/2 yard pom-pom trim (you need 24 pom-poms)
large button (1 to 1-1/2″ wide)
hand needle
fabric chalk
permanent marker (not fine tip)
pattern piece and template for leaf placement (link)


Cut out your fabric using the layout above.


Cut your red fabric across the width into 2-long 9″-wide strips.

Sew the short ends of your red fabric together with a 1/4″ seam.  Press  seam open with a warm iron.

Fold right-sides of long strip together and sew with a 1/4″ seam across the short end, down to the seam half-way down…

…leave a 3″ gap and continue sewing to the bottom and across the end.

 Trim ends & corners to reduce bulk.

  Turn right-side out by using a stick or ruler to push the ends up through the opening you left in the middle.

Pull corners out square using a seam-ripper or pin.

Iron your strip on a low setting, turning seam of opening in.  TIP: Iron the seam side first making sure you pull the seam right out to the edge (rolling the layers in-between your fingers helps), then iron the other side.

 Fold your strip in half.  With the finished ends together measure 36″ and cut (so you have 2 pieces that are 36″ long with a finished end on each).  The remaining piece will be used as well.

Lay your 19.5″ fabric square down with right-side up.  Lay your short strip of bow fabric over your square about 11-inches up from the bottom edge.  Adjust so your seam (from the first step) will be hidden under where the bow will be.  Pin in place.  Pin one of your strips (with finished end) 5-inches over from the left-side.. have finished end free and raw end hanging off your square about 3″.  Pin your last strip (with finished end) 5-inches over from the left-side.. have finished end free and raw edge hanging off your square about 1″.  Criss-cross your strips like photo above.

Just like tying your shoes, make 2 ‘bunny ears’ and cross them over each other.

Tie your bow.  Make sure your bow ends are the length you want. To make adjustments change how much of your strip hangs off your square and re-tie.  I repeated this process about 5x’s to get it just right.

 Baste across the ends of your strips (we’ll trim off the excess in one of the final steps).

Next you will be making 6 stitches to tack your bow down.  I recommend using a needle and thread.. starting from the back and doing about 4 stitches in the same place and tying off your ends in the back. 
The first 2 stitches you will do are where you can see my pins in the photo above.  These stitches will hold your vertical strip flat instead of wanting to scrunch up to one side.

Next I lift up the bow where I want it to lay and place two pins in the center folds where my stitches will be hidden.  Make your 3rd & 4th stitches here going through ALL layers (to make sure your bow ends down pull out).

Your last 2 stitches will be on the top corners of your bow to keep it from flopping down.

Trim your threads.

Skip to last section
***Sewing Cover Together***


Make a pattern for your lights that is about 1/2″ tall by 1/4″ wide.  TIP: I used card stock and folded it in-half (across) and then in-half again (down) and cut my pattern out of the corner so when I opened it all sides of my pattern were identical.

I had 7 colors and cut out 5 lights of each (I used  a total of 33 lights on my cover).  I held my pattern against my felt while I cut around it or you can take extra time and use a sharpie and trace around your pattern.  

Lay out your crochet thread on the right side of your square piece how you’d like it to look.  To keep your crochet threads from pulling out of your seems, keep the turns/bends of your crochet thread 1/4″ inside the edge of your fabric so they don’t get trimmed off in the last stages.. you want it to stay one-continuous piece.

Use your fabric chalk/marker to trace where you had your crochet thread.

If you’re using metallic thread now is the time to use it (you only need it in the top of your machine).  Test your stitches on a scrap.. you’ll want a zigzag stitch that covers the width of your crochet thread and the spacing of the stitches isn’t too close.  Next stitch your crochet thread onto your square over the markings you make in the previous step.

Layout and pin your lights on your string how you’d like it.

If you are using clear thread now is the time to use it (you just need it in the top of your machine).  You’ll be stitching directly over your black crochet thread until you come to a light, then you’ll sew through the center of each light and reverse up and continue over your crochet thread to the next light.

Skip to last section
***Sewing Cover Together***


Print ornament pattern (link above in materials section).

 Cut pattern pieces out.  Peel backing off your sheet of double fusible web and place down onto your white cotton fabric and iron according to manufacture directions.

 Trace your ornament pieces onto paper backing with a pencil.

 Cut ornaments out, peel paper backing off and arrange ornaments on right side of your 19.5″ fabric square how you’d like.  Keep in mind you’ll have 1/2″ seams around all the sides.

Next making lines with your chalk and a ruler straight up from the top of your ornaments.

Double up strands of crochet thread and pin over chalk lines. Make sure your ends extend down past the top of your ornaments 8-inches!

Do a narrow zigzag stitch over your crochet threads (test on a scrap before to get the stitch just the right width & length).  I used a metallic thread to add a little sparkle.  Stop stitching at the top of your ornament and leave your machine threads about 4-inches long and do not trim your crochet threads!
This is what yours should look like.  If you have strings that overlap where your ornaments are you can see how I skipped over the ornament and left the ends long just like you did at the top of your ornaments.

Tie 5 bows out of your ribbon and finish ends by heating with a lighter or candle flame.

With your hand needle thread your top machine thread down to the back.  Next thread your 2 crochet thread strands through your needle and go through the center of you bow starting at the top and exiting at the bottom (go through most layers to make sure your bow doesn’t pull apart).  Thread your needle back down through your fabric and back up.  Make another pass through your bow and maybe a last stitch going horizontal through the bow knot to keep it from pulling up on the sides.

Tie your ends off in the back with your machine threads to keep everything secure.  If you had to skip over any ornaments do the same thing for your ends by bringing them to the back and tying them off.

Skip to last section
***Sewing Cover Together***


Print and cut out deer pattern (link above in materials section).

If you are using lace as a decorative layer over the top of your regular fabric like I did, you will cut out your lace with the same measurements as your regular fabric and simply sew your pieces together in each step as if they were one, having your lace directly over the right-side of your regular fabric.

Trace your deer pattern on the wrong side or your brown fabric using a regular pen or pencil.  Cut out.  (I cut out 2 deer at the same time.. hence the pins )

If you are using lace don’t forget to pin it over your regular fabric before pinning the deer on.  Pin bottom edge of deer flush-to-1/4″ from bottom edge of square.

Stitch your deer on using a zigzag stitch around all of the edges.  TIP: to prevent possibility of fraying, have your needle go off the edge of the deer and then back on, off, on, off, on, etc to encase the edge.

Skip to last section
***Sewing Cover Together***


Print pattern and leaf template (link above in materials section).  Tape template together using lines & numbers as a guide.

 Cut leaf pattern out.  I recommend transferring pattern to something stiff to make tracing easier.  Trace pattern over one of your felt squares using a permanent marker – you need to fit them pretty tight to get at least 31 leaves on.

Place your other felt square under the one you traced on and pin inside each leaf.  Cut out your leaf inside your lines (you don’t want ugly marker on your cute leaves!).  You should have 62 leaves.

Use the template to place your leaves centered over your 19.5″ fabric square.  You can figure out the best way to do this whether it is to lift up sections at a time while you place your leaves down or something else.  If you don’t want to use the template you can always find something circular (like a plate) to center over your square and draw a chalk circle around it and figure out your own placement.  Pin leaves in place.

When you buy the pom-pom trim they will all be hooked together.  Cut them apart leaving the extra trim part attached. Place your 24 pom-pom’s down how you’d like. You’ll want them all on the butt-end of your leaves (where you’ll be stitching).  The placement I did of the pom-pom’s is on the template as well – indicated by a circle with a small line coming out showing which leaf I sewing them under.

Pin your pom-pom’s so they are under your leaves.  Make sure all that extra trim part is centered under your leaf where you will be stitching them in place.

This is what mine looked like.

 Sew your leaves down with your machine just past the halfway point, making sure to backstitch on both ends.

You will have A LOT of strings!  I didn’t want to cut my strings and have little ends poking up so I cut all the threads so they would have a tail that I could thread to the backside.  It takes time and patience but worth I think.  Some threads were so short I had to poke the needle down first then put the thread through… call me crazy!

***Sewing Cover Together***
Now that you have your front piece all decorated it’s time to put everything together!  Excited?  You should be!

You should have:
Your front (decorated) square, your 2 back pieces (12-2/4″ x 19-1/2″) and your 2 strips of 2″x20″ fusible interfacing.  Oh.. and your button!

 Iron your interfacing pieces to the WRONG side of your back pieces (along the 19.5″ side).  Do a wide zig-zag stitch (or serge) over the raw edge of your fabric/fusible interfacing.. this keeps the edge from fraying.

OPTIONAL:  If you want to add a little extra stability to your cover you can pin a stabilizer/liner under your hem (in the next step).  You will also want a 20″ square of stabilizer/liner to put on the back side of your decorated front piece.

Pin the end you just zig-zagged down 2″ against the wrong side of your fabric (your interfacing is 2″ so this should be easy!).  Sew a straight stitch about 1/4″ from the zig-zagged edge. Repeat for second back piece.

 To find the center for your buttonhole, fold one of your back pieces in half and put a pin where it folds on your hem.  Place your button over your pin and mark on the top/bottom for the correct size of buttonhole (I use an erasable fabric marker).  

 I have a 4-step buttonhole on my machine which makes it easy to sew the length I want.  For people with automatic buttonholes you should do a test-run on a scrap to make sure you get the size you want (it’s no fun un-picking these tight stitches!).

Use a seam ripper to open your button hole.  On thiner fabrics you can open the whole buttonhole easy this way…

…but with this thicker fabric you should use your scissors for the last part to avoid ripping past your buttonhole.

 With your decorated fabric square right-side up, place your back side (with the buttonhole) with right-side down over your square and corners matching.  Next place your other back side on with right-side down as well with corners matching.  Pin everything in place.

 Sew around your entire square with a 1/2″ seam.  I like to backstitch over my hems a few times because they get pulled on when you’re putting your pillow cover on… I’d hate for it to rip.  ALSO…

…for your corners to turn right-side out better do 3-stitches diagonally over your corners.

 Trim your seams to 1/4″ and round your corners about 1/8″ away from stitches.

 Use a wide zig-zap stitch around all your edges to keep from fraying.

 Turn pillow right side out and lay flat.  Now you can mark where to put your button!  Just mark through your buttonhole to the backside where you’ll be putting your button.  TIP: I like to put my button off-center from my buttonhole so my cover can’t pull apart too much (because the buttonhole is so long). 

 Double up your thread and sew your button on with about 4 passes on each side.

Tie your ends off in the back and trim.


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  • Reply you can call me aunt choody

    These are darling.

    October 30, 2013 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Britt-Marie

    These are so cute especially all lined up. Thank you for introducing me to steam a seem. I guess now I need to try metallic thread.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:48 am
  • Reply Britt-Marie

    These are so cute especially all lined up. Thank you for introducing me to steam a seem. I guess now I need to try metallic thread.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:49 am
  • Reply Ana Lopez


    December 8, 2013 at 7:59 pm
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