Making Pillow Covers from Table Linens


I love to switch out pillow covers to correspond with the seasons. But changing all the pillow covers for each season can be a bit pricey. Also, I hate to spend money on anything that I am capable of making myself with just a little time and effort. Making pillow covers involves easy straight-line sewing for the most part. I prefer to install a zipper, so that’s really the most difficult part of making a pillow cover.

I love all those gorgeous pillows in the Pottery Barn catalog, but, oh my, I am not crazy about those prices. I saw this one in September and knew it would look great on my sofa throughout the fall. But the price of two pillows was more than I was willing to spend at that time.

PB inspirationPottery Barn Pumpkin Plaid Pillow Cover

I have found table linens to be a less expensive way to get a similar look. For example, Pottery Barn often carries table linens that match some of the seasonal pillows in their catalog. So when I saw these napkins on sale, I bought four napkins for less than what one pillow cover would have cost.

PB napkinsPottery Barn Pumpkin Plaid Napkins

I opened the hem all the way around each napkin and pressed the pieces. Then I took two of the napkins and matched up the plaid (shown in photo below.) I was able to cut two matching 19-inch squares from each pair of napkins to make 18-inch pillow covers.


I installed invisible zippers along the bottom of each pillow and then stitiched the other three seams after the zipper was installed.

My plaid matching isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close.


Four napkins made two 18-inch pillow covers like this and the price was less than the cost of one of those in the PB catalog. Even with the cost of the zippers, I made two pillow covers for less than $30.


Sometimes other table linens such as tablecloths or place mats can be used to make pillow covers. Recently I purchased a seasonal placemat on sale at Kohl’s for $5, and made a pillow cover.


I pulled out all the original stitching, cut a back panel from a coordinating fabric, installed an invisible zipper, and stitched the other three sides.

Collage 4-7 e

8 9

Here’s another seasonal pillow cover that I made from a placemat last fall.


It’s fun to find table linens that can be used in other ways. Whenever I am out shopping, I am on the lookout for table linens in discount stores and I also watch for sales at the end of each holiday season in stores such as Pottery Barn and Pier 1.

Linking up with The Scoop

This entry was posted in Decor, DIY. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Making Pillow Covers from Table Linens

  1. Becky Fletcher says:

    Can I ask why you removed the backing and replaced w/ a different fabric? Could you rip out seam to put zipper in and keep the same backing that was originally on place mat?


    • carolyn says:

      Great question. I do sometimes keep the existing back fabric when making pillow covers from placemats. In this particular case, the back fabric was adhered to a stiffening so it was a bit too stiff for a pillow cover. This isn’t always the case when I open up the placemats.


  2. Love it….I have made pillows from napkins, but not placemats…they are beautiful!….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s