Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Decorate My Home, Part 3 – Gathered Pillow Covers

Decorate My Home, Part 3 – Gathered Pillow Covers



You know I’ve made pillow slipcovers before… But this time I wanted some real texture on my pillow. I have seen this gathered technique on pillows at the store…..and gave it a try at home.

And came up with this:

And the back is just the same as the tutorial here:

(And the blue/teal pillows in the background were made with the tutorial here as well, and I found that upholstery fabric at Hancock Fabric.  I’m not sure of the name but it was with their home decorating fabric.)

**Fabric: I used an upholstery fabric that was a bit satin-y looking. It wasn’t really stiff like something you’d put on chairs but more like a semi-thick curtain material……so nice and flexible and a bit flow-y. But it can’t be a stiff fabric or it won’t gather correctly.**

To make……measure your pillows.
Mine were 21 x 21 inches from side seam to side seam. And I would need a half inch on all sides for a seam allowance. So if I was going to make a plain front to my pillow, I would just cut out a piece that was 22 x 22 inches. But to have enough fabric to make the gather, just double the width dimension. So I cut out a piece that was 22 x 44.

Then I placed pins all along one of the 22 inch long edges, spacing my 9 pins evenly….making the two outer pins only 1/2 an inch from the edge. (I liked the look of about 2.5 inches between each row of gather. But you could do more or less.)

Then I did the same thing to the other end….and then down the center. These pins are here as a guide as you make your seams. You can also measure your lines and then make a chalk line if this will help you keep a straight line. (But use your original side as a guide when placing your pins along the other edge and down the center. Just lay it on top and place the pins down….this will keep your spacing even.)

Then make a basting stitch (the widest length of stitch on most machines) going the width of your fabric, keeping in line with your pins. The fabric is folded and gathered up because it woudn’t fit into the picture. But those seams go all the way from one side, across the 42 inches to the other side. (zoom on the picture to enlarge.)

Then use a piece from your scrap pile that is 22 x 22 inches. (Never get rid of your scraps…’ll always find a use for them!!) The fabric can match if you’d like but no one will ever see it.

Start pulling the top thread of your top seam and gather your fabric. Gather it until it is an evenly spaced 22 inches. Pin it to your scrap fabric piece that you just cut out. (If you need more help gathering, there are a few more tips on this post here.)

Sew it right to that back piece of fabric, right along that gathered seam.

Then start at your next seam down, and do the same thing.

A trick that helped me, was to gather the fabric and then pin both edges to the edges of the back fabric. And then I would space the fabric…

And make sure that your back fabric is laying flat each time you sew a new seam. You want it to keep its original 22 x22 inch size.

Once you’re done with the whole piece, attach it to your back pieces (shown here) to make a slip cover for your pillow.

Put it on.

Instant beauty.

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  1. Marina says:

    I like this pillow cover! i will definitely do this. thank you for nice tutorial ;)

  2. Gloria says:

    WOW! This is a great looking pillow! Thank you for sharing your tut with us….very easy to understand.

  3. Alisha says:

    Beautiful. I featured this tutorial on my blog today:

  4. Vanilla Bean Crafts says:

    This will definitely be the next pillow I do! So gorgeous!!

  5. Sarah Jane says:

    whew, it's good to hear that others struggled as much as I did with this one. i think my first mistake was getting such silky fabric. I think I'm going to go back and get the same color, but in cotton fabric, then my stitches wont be all over the place! I love this pillow though so I'm going to give it another shot! Thanks for your awesome blog and keep posting! I'm amazed at how creative/talented you are!

  6. Made With Bliss says:

    So cute!! Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial..

  7. Linds says:

    Love it! I'm in the process of making slipcovers for my living room throw pillows and I'm so excited to make one with great texture like that! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  8. Kelli says:

    Thank you so much for this tute! I made one a few weeks ago, and I love it!

  9. Stephanie says:

    I know you get a TON of comments, and this post was made a long time ago, but I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me. I've been lurking around your blog for some time now, admiring what you do. It was with some reservation that I actually attempted to make something from your blog. I made one of these gathered pillows, and found that you are much more talented than I realized. This was not an easy project for me – I had to unpick only once, though. My dimensions were way off when I was done and could not use the pillow form I had planned on, but opted for regular stuffing instead. In all, I think my pillow turned out quite nicely, I got kudos from my husband for using the sewing machine he bought me years ago, and I feel pretty good about myself. I made a post on my own blog ( if you care to see my version of your much-more-professional pillow. Thanks a bunch for sharing your talents with us bumbling beginners. :)

  10. Runspud says:

    love your blog…quick question on the pillow tutorial. I left the gathering threads in and sewed each line down…but i didn' care for the two lines of thread showing-felt it looked kind of of sloppy (probably because they didn't run exactly together all the way across). I pulled all the gathering threads out after sewing all the lines down,,,,did you? Thanks for all the tutorials..super fun to read!

  11. Crystal Stanworth says:

    I'm going to make these NOW! Great tutorial and inspirational blog.

  12. Andrea says:

    I love to sew bags and your pillow gave me a great idea to do with this bright fabric I got. I am doing a giveaway with it for Valentines.

  13. yawkar618 says:

    this is absolutely beautiful! i think i will try to make this this weekend. i'm in desperate need of some new fresh pillows for our somewhat newly decorated bedroom. :) thanks!

  14. Holly at Tropic of Mom says:

    Just beautiful! Now my West Elm-inspired throw pillows seem so blah….

  15. luvinthemommyhood says:

    So pretty, I've been looking for a tute like this. Can't wait to give this one a try. We added 3 of your projects to our link luv roundup today, come by for a look:
    Thanks for a great tute!

  16. Anissa says:

    I made this pillow! WOW, it a tough one… mainly because I used the completely wrong fabric (a shimmery, shiny, slippery type). But it was just too cute to pass up, so I put the time in and made it despite the difficult fabric. I linked to your blog on my post about it. Thanks again Ashley!

  17. rebecca says:

    So cute, yet simple! WEhat a great idea.

  18. Mikelle says:

    I have already made one for my daughter's room and now I am addicted–thanks for the fun idea!!

  19. Sophie says:

    oooh that's gorgeous! And it looks so easy!!

  20. The Noalls says:

    Ashley, you keep amazing me with your talent for figuring out how to do things I wouldn't even attempt otherwise! I'm learning so much from your blog, and happily filing it away for future use!

  21. kanishk says:

    These pillows will be a beautiful addition to our master bedroom. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!!

    Work from home India

  22. Liz says:

    ABsolutely beautiful! I love it!!

  23. Aaron and Kristi says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! Can I just say you are freakin amazing! I can't wait to make some cute pillows for my house!

  24. Christine says:

    Can I ask where you got the fabric (or whole pillow if you didn't make it!) for the pillow behind it? The brown and blue. I LOVE it! Once I have more time I plan on doing this pillow tutorial too!

  25. Ashlee says:

    Wow…that looks amazing. This pillow would cost big bucks at a store.

  26. T*Family says:

    You Rock!!! Love the piloow and ur tutorial.

  27. carmenMar!e says:

    i was going to make some curtains like this..and i was wondering how i could get them right…and i think with you inspiration they might just come out looking good…thank you.

  28. Anissa says:

    This is exactly what I needed! I'm still plugging away at the curtains, but bought the fabric for pillows at the same time. I've been stressing over making them and coming up with a unique pillow that ties the regular ones all together and this is it! Thanks! Hopefully I'll be posting a successful version of your pillows on my blog soon.

  29. Stephie @ Made By Stephie says:

    I love this pillow!!

  30. Aim-o says:

    Love the pillows!! Our couch looks exactly like the one in the photograph! I've been looking for a way to spruce them up – Hooray! Problem solved!

  31. kermiefrg says:

    This is so pretty! I would love to try this for pillow in my guest bedroom…once I pick out bedding!

  32. Brenda says:

    Awesome pillows! What FUN! I LOVE the texture!
    Thank you!

  33. Laurel says:

    um, WOW. thank you for that tutorial, i never would have guessed that was something i could do! thanks for the inspiration! :)

  34. Julie says:

    Soooo cute! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Jenn says:

    Way Cute!! Thanks for showing us how to do it!

  36. lorchick @ ON{thelaundry}LINE says:

    I adore that! I will definitely have to add it to my to-do list.

  37. Anna says:

    this is soooo beautiful, can't wait to make one. It's so nice to make a plain fabric look so great!

  38. Katrine says:

    So pretty!

  39. Jaimee says:

    Yay! I've been wanting to make some slipcovers for my new Euro pillows on my bed and I wasn't quite sure how I would go about doing this… Love it! Thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas. I love your blog!

  40. Ashley says:

    Oh Kelly, I don't really think the Michael Miller fabric is scrap fabric as a whole…..I just had that small piece of it in my scrap pile. Hahaha……and I actually bought 10 yards of that same fabric when it went on sale at (I was afraid that they would no longer stock it!) So I share the same love for it as you! :)

    I'm glad you're all liking this one. It really is a funky texture to have with you on any couch, bed or chair. Go for it!

  41. anhesty says:

    you are brilliant with the sewing machine. the pillow looks great!

  42. Brianne says:

    I LOVE it. Now I just need to come up with something that "needs" pillows.

  43. Kelly O. says:

    I love love love this pillow–although I have to say that I was a little sad you thought of Michael Miller mirror ball fabric as scrap! It's my fave fabric ever!

  44. The Weathered Cottage says:

    wow! that is amazing! thank you!!!!

  45. Mama Thompson says:

    Lovin' those gathers….I am definitely going to be trying this one…thanks for the tutorial!

  46. Jessabells says:

    Oh I love it. So elegant and doesn't look so hard to do. Thanks for the post.

  47. Mama Lusco says:

    This is awesome! I'm needing some new pillows, too and may give this a try. Thanks so much for the great tut!

  48. senovia says:

    That's gorgeous! You're so creative!

  49. Melanie says:

    putting the scrap fabric behind to keep it square is a great idea. I'm going to try this sometime, for sure.

  50. kimberly says:

    Wow. That's really pretty! I. Love. It.

  51. Adventures in Dressmaking says:

    Cute! My fiance says he likes throw pillows "that feel cool"–one with beading, sequins, fuzziness… I think he would like this one as much as I do!

  52. Hillary, Jonathan and Lincoln says:

    That is beautiful! I can't wait to try!

  53. Alexis says:

    I love the texture of this pillow. Great!

  54. Chiemi says:

    LOVE IT!! I can't wait to try this out!

  55. Andrea says:

    Gorgeous pillow, and wonderful tutorial! I will be using these in my daughter's new room, once we finish building and get around to decorating. Thanks!

  56. Natalie says:

    So I hope you don't mind that our homes will look exactly the same! because basically i want to do everything you are doing haha! The pillows are awesome

  57. ~~Lina~~ says:

    I love it! Need to try it sometime!

  58. Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage says:

    How beautiful! Love all those "rows" of ruffles. Such a fabulous idea!

  59. Erin says:

    what a beautiful pillow! the gathers are lovely!

  60. Robin says:

    This is really beautiful. I'm excited to make my own. Thank you for your blog and all your free tutorials! I made the dolly diapers (with a matching changing pad) this year for all my little nieces. They were a definite hit.

  61. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says:

    This is FAB!!! I love it!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!!

  62. A Journey Through Choices says:

    I just wanted to tell you that I LOOOOOVE your blog and I want to do every project I've seen lol. I just got a sewing machine for Christmas so I'm really excited to get started!!!

  63. Natalie says:

    LOVE it! :) You are very talented.

  64. Emily B says:

    Lovely! And it made me think that it would be a nice technique for a smocked-look dress for a little one as well, with the backing fabric becoming a lining. Inspiring! Thank you!

  65. Yulia Phelps says:

    That is gorgeous!!! I need to make one (or two). Thank you for the tutorial.

  66. Su says:

    Ashley, this must be my favorite pillow tutorial so far. Thank you for sharing.
    My husband may raise an eyebrow or two (even though he may not dare say anything) if I put some of these in my already girly living room.
    I think I may do Bright Pink Gathered pillows for the girls' bedroom instead. :)

  67. sjones says:

    How do you do it!!?? Such cute ideas!

  68. Sarah says:

    I love this, what a great idea! I just decided a few days ago I need some new pillows! I might do this!

  69. Carina Blogarina says:

    love them! I'll have to try this.

  70. Carli@Fearfully&WonderfullyMade says:

    Wow you are so talented! They are beautiful!

  71. Ashley says:

    Oh, good question about the material. I will go add that to the tutorial….right near the top of the instructions. Thanks Teandra!

    And that's funny about a spartan bachelor pad Courtney. I can only imagine! :)

  72. Leah says:

    That is a great tutorial. The pillows look great.

  73. alittlemoore says:

    Love it! I am addicted to redoing my pillows, this may be the next thing I do!

  74. Courtney says:

    My fiance just moved into a new apartment and I will be joining him after our wedding, so my whole life has been obsessing over home decor items that I can make to help "feminize" what he has turned into quite the spartan Bachelor Pad :) These pillows will be a beautiful addition to our master bedroom. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!!

  75. Mark and Teandra says:

    Hi! I LOVE your blog by the way. And, I have a question :o) What type of fabric did you use for your pillows, and do you need to have a special needle to sew it?


  76. Linda @ My Trendy Tykes says:

    :Sigh: I think I'm in love….

    These pillows are awesome.

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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