Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Body Pillow Cover Tutorial from a Bed Sheet

I have shared my bed with a body pillow since I was in high school.  Since that time I have tried my hand several times at making a body pillow cover for my favorite bed partner.  (Don't worry hubby, if I had to choose I would choose you.)  All my covers did the job, more or less (sometimes less), but this one was surprisingly more perfect than all the rest.

Now, I based it on a store bought one that I had purchased when I originally purchased my body pillows many years ago.  It's dimensions are 19" wide x 51" long.  This body pillow cover had a zipper, but I had no intention of putting zippers on mine.  Instead, I planned on adding an inner flap that I have seen on IKEA, Pottery Barn and European pillow cases.  Now, I had done this once before, but not well, so learn from my mistakes.

  • Flat bed sheet twin or full (measure your pillow first)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine (hopefully)
Firstly, measure your pillow or an existing pillowcase, since this tutorial could be used for any pillowcase.  If you choose to buy a flat sheet, keep in mind this tutorial is using one flat sheet to get 4 panels = 2 body pillow covers, ie. 19" x 4 = 76, etc.
Dimension on my burnt orange Walmart twin flat sheet.

Then decide where you want to purchase your bed sheet.  Both of my bed sheets for both the green and the burnt orange body pillow came from Walmart.  Pre-wash with whatever water temp you would use for the rest of your bedding.

I know lots can be said bad and good about Walmart, but I have found their basic color sheets to be nice and comfortable after washing.  They also stand up to rigorous use.  I have had several fitted sheets from them for several years and likely hundreds of washes, and I have yet to see a pill or tear appear.

Back to making the pillowcase, I could have sworn that I made my first flap body pillow cover, the green one, with one twin sheet from Walmart.  This would appear to be incorrect or they have changed the dimensions or the dimension vary.  I am not sure which, since several years span the green body pillow cover and the burnt orange body pillow cover.  Needless to say, I had a twin flat sheet which I had already cut in half lengthwise, when I realized, my width for each panel would be short of 19 inches.  (I should have been smart and done the math, like I am telling you to do, but didn't.)

So, sheet is already cut in half, what should I do?  Luckily, our body pillows are a bit old and squished, so I figured, I could still stuff the pillow inside even if it wasn't 19 inches wide, but I was looking at less than 16" if I didn't pull the seams on either side lengthwise.  I took the time15-20 minutes getting friendly with my seam ripper to gain that precious material.  Leave the width-wise seams intact as they will save work in the long run. 

If your sheet is wider than you need, you will have to trim down to 19 inches or whatever it is that fits your pillow.

Even with the extra inch and a half of fabric, I wasn't sure it would fit, but I decided to give it a go anyway, so I cut my 2 halves into half.  Now, there are 4 panels that are 16.5 inches wide but still need some trimming lengthwise. 

Choose what seam you like, the thin one at the bottom of the sheet or the wide one at the top or one of each.

Cut one panel 51 inches long or the length of your pillow.  You will see the seam you left of this one, since you left it intact.

Cut the other panel 61 inches long (or thereabouts, basically add 10 inches to length for your second panel).  The extra length is for the inner flap.  If you are creating a flap for a smaller firmer pillow, 10 inches for the flap is likely too much.  You can take off a couple of inches or maybe even half.  Here is the reason why I am making my flap 10 inches long.

Green Cover - first attempt at flap with 5 inch flap.

I mean, really, what is with the pooch.  It doesn't even really keep the pillow inside!  It reminds me of shopping for jeans with the pooch in the back that makes me feel like my body type is abnormal.

Put wrong facing sides together, and start pinning from the freshly cut raw edges at the bottom.  Notice, if you have not cut off or undone the top or bottom seams, you are using them for the opening of your pillow.  Time saved.

When you near the top, fold the extra flap on top of the opening as closely as you can to the finished edge of the other panel without folding that panel down, and pin the sides.

For some of you this may seem weird, like you are closing off the end, but trust me.  It works.  I did it the other way before and the finish was not as nice.  The green was the 'other way'.  Bad.
Ugly seam visible to all.  Yuck.

Now it is time to sew.  Sew a straight stitch on 3 sides, excluding the pillowcase opening.  I used a .25 inch seam allowance since my panels were so skinny already.  It wasn't a bad choice.  I would recommend it anyway, to prevent the seams from being too bulky.

Next, clip the corners a bit to remove bulk, and serge or zigzag the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Turn the cover inside out.

Look at the beautiful seam on this pillowcase.  I told you it would look good.
Oh, yeah.  Looks store bought.
Perfection.  Nirvana.  Whatever you want to call it, I love it.

Now put it on your body pillow.  Voila, matching fitted sheet (which I also bought at Walmart) and body pillow cover.

I think the thinner one looks better than the one that is of actual width, but that is likely because my body pillows are old and more maleable.

I hope you enjoyed my easy body Pillow Cover Tutorial from a Bed Sheet.

Nap-Time Creations


  1. what a great idea, looks so comfy! Thanks for putting my button on this post ;o) and thanks so much for linking up to the Create Link Inspire party! I've features this today at the sewing features and spread the word all around my social media. Would love if you could share as well ;o) EMily http://nap-timecreations.com/2014/02/10-sew-fun-features.html

    1. Thanks so much! I shared my success on my blog's facebook page.