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How to Sew Outdoor Pillows: Simple Tutorial for Beginners

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Learn how to sew outdoor pillow covers for your patio furniture! This easy-to-follow tutorial is designed specifically for beginners.

How to sew outdoor pillow covers

We have a little loveseat on the patio, and this time of year I like to park it right there and occasionally take a nap while R has her afternoon snooze. It feels very like a very Dowager Countess thing to do—take a garden nap. Though I imagine her garden naps aren’t on a loveseat from Target with the neighbors dog barking at you from its balcony. 🙂

Any who, I was really craving a sewing project (that wasn’t a cloth mask) a few weekends ago. I decided a little throw pillow for the loveseat would be the perfect quick sewing project. So I masked up and headed to our Joann Fabric and Craft to grab some fabric. I picked up a bit of this cactus fabric that’s meant for outdoor use:

I also picked up a small pillow form while I was there. Between sales and coupons, I paid around $12 for the fabric and pillow form. And the fabric was exactly what I wanted, so I’d call that a steal!

beautiful cactus fabric
beautiful cactus fabric

Here’s what I used:

And here’s how to sew outdoor pillow covers.

Step 1: Buy and cut outdoor fabric

Whatever fabric you choose, make sure it is a fabric suitable for outdoor use. I still plan to bring this pillow inside when I know there is rain coming, but if it gets stuck in a shower, it won’t be sopping wet.

The amount of fabric you’ll need depends on the size of your pillow form. I bought a 16″ x 16″ pillow form, so I got enough fabric to cut two 17″ x 17″ squares. This measurement also depends on how full your pillow is—as well as how tight you want your pillow cover to fit the form.

One good thing about this pillow form was that it had a small zipper to remove stuffing. If your pieces end up being a bit too small for your pillow once you get everything sewn together and pulled over the pillow form, you can remove some stuffing to create just a hair more room. (I did this! Bonus: put the stuffing in a bag and use it for another project.)

how to sew outdoor pillow covers

Step 2: Pin and sew three sides

Next, place the two pieces of fabric on top of one another, right sides together, and pin in place. Make sure everything is lined up as closely as you can get it. I like to put a pin in the middle and then run pins around all four sides.

Then sew a straight stitch around the two sides and top of your pillow cover. I like to start at one corner and run one continuous stitch around all three sides so I don’t have to backstitch and cut multiple different threads. Make sure you don’t sew the bottom closed!

When you finish sewing this line, backstitch on your machine to knot the thread. Or you can use the “stop” feature to sew three stitches i the same spot. This also knots the thread to keep it from unraveling!

how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers

Step 3: Flip right-side out and stuff!

Next, flip the pillow cover right-side out. You can use an iron to give the seams a quick press to keep things looking neat. I used my Cricut EasyPress Mini for this. It’s small and has a nice pointy tip, so I love it for smaller sewing projects!

how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers

Step 4: Pin opening shut and sew pillow cover closed

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I did need to remove some of the pillow form’s stuffing to make it less full. I bagged it up for a future project. Removing it just gave me a bit of extra room to fold the bottom open end of the pillow cover in and pin it.

Pinning the pillow cover closed was by far the hardest part of this project! I like to make this easier by folding the fabric in and giving it a quick press. Then pinning the two sides together. This makes the fabric less resistant to being pinned since you’ve pressed it a bit and encouraged it to fold in. It also gives a nice clean edge!

how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers

With the bottom edge still pinned shut, sew a straight line along the bottom of the pillow cover to secure it shut. This might be tight, so you can remove the pins as you sew to make some more room. Remember to backstitch to secure your stitch at the beginning and end of this seam!

sewing a straight stitch

And that’s my tutorial on how to sew outdoor pillow covers! I told you it was easy. These can’t be removed, but since the fabric is outdoor fabric, I’ll just plan to either spot treat or throw the whole thing in the wash. If you want a removable pillow tutorial, check out my envelope pillow cover tutorial and my zippered throw pillow cover tutorial!

beautiful small patio
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers
how to sew outdoor pillow covers

For more sewing, check out my post about easy sewing projects for beginners, my tutorial for how to sew the easiest baby blanket, my tips on how to hem curtains, and how to make a sewing machine cover!

Pin my post about how to sew outdoor pillow covers!

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