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30 Minute Burlap Pillow

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 Much to my husband’s chagrin, I insist on filling our sofas with pretty throw pillows. And despite how many times a day I am forced to rearrange, re-fluff, and pick them up off the floor, I refuse to give in. I love them. Without them, the room just doesn’t feel finished.

I wanted some pretty new Christmasy pillow covers this year but I couldn’t really justify the $40+ price tag at Pottery Barn. Why are those silly things so expensive? Since I don’t have the patience for “real” sewing–or for taking the time to measure, pin, iron, and put in a zipper–I decided to come up with something a little quicker. It worked like a charm! The first one took about 30 minutes and the second one was even faster. Even better, they only cost about $1.00 each in materials!

I know it looks like a lot of steps and I probably took too many pictures along the way, but I promise it is NOT complicated. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this pillow cover!

Here is what you will need:

sewing machine
a pillow 
burlap (approximately 1/2 yard per pillow
1 sheet of felt
straight pins
clear glue-on gems (optional)
glue gun

Assemble your materials for the DIY burlap pillow: sewing machine, pillow, burlap, felt, straight pins, glue-on gems and a glue gun.

Start by taking your burlap outside and shaking it well to get rid of all the excess dust! Lay burlap down on table with fold at top. Using existing pillow cover as a guide (or simply use the pillow itself if necessary) trim burlap to leave approximately 1″ on each side. Leave as much length as possible at the bottom.

Trace a star shape using a marker onto the felt.

Next cut out your felt shape. For the star I used a star clip art shape in my word processing program and printed it out the full size of a 8 1/2 x 11″ paper, then cut it out and traced it onto the felt. For the tree (see picture at bottom of post), I simply cut it out freehand. Lay existing pillow cover and burlap side by side, lining up the tops then place appliqué centered on the pillow and pin in place.

Lay existing pillow cover (or pillow) and burlap side by side, lining up the tops. Position appliqué so that it is centered on the pillow (or placed where you want it), then pin into place. Be sure to pin only the top layer!

Carefully sew along the edges to secure star appliqué to burlap.

Open up burlap so that you are only sewing one layer, then carefully sew along the edge of felt to secure the appliqué.

After sewing is complete, star should be completely secured to burlap without pins.

At this point, your cover should look like this.

Line up burlap sides together and sew.

Turn cover inside out, making sure top fold is straight. Line up sides and sew together, leaving a 1″ margin.

Turn burlap pillow cover right side up to display almost finished product.

Clip the corners, then turn back right-side out. Now your cover should look like this.

Fold the bottom edge of the burlap cover into your pillow.

Again using existing pillow cover or pillow as a guide, fold the bottom edge of pillow cover into pillow as shown. Be sure not to make it too long or your pillow cover will be loose!

Starting at one bottom corner, sew two sides of burlap together for a few inches.

Starting at one bottom corner, sew two sides together for a few inches.

Continue to sew burlap sides together leaving a small opening in the middle.

Repeat from other corner, leaving an opening in the middle.

Stuff pillow insert into cover through opening.

Stuff pillow insert into cover through opening. I personally prefer real feather inserts-they just sit & fluff up so much nicer than synthetic pillows! This one was from Pottery Barn but you can get an 18″ square one on Amazon for only $7.50.

Once your pillow is in, pull the flap of longer fabric over the pillow and flatten.

Once your pillow is in and all flattened into the upper corners corners, pull the flap of longer fabric over the pillow and flatten the bottom of the pillow into the lower corners, so that none of the white is showing. No zipper required!

The pillow will be fully secured with no zipper or sewing necessary.

How easy was that?

Display your finished star burlap pillow on your living room couch.

After I finished sewing I decided it needed a little extra sparkle, so I took out my hot glue gun and glued a clear gemstone to each of the points.

Add some sparkle to the star using a hot glue gun.

So much better!

These easy DIY burlap pillows can also be made with Christmas trees for the holiday season.

Aren’t they cute?

*   *   *

What handmade projects do you have planned for the holidays?


  1. November 28 at 08:27AM

    Love this idea! Looks great!

    • Ruth
      November 29 at 07:15PM

      Thanks Michelle!

  2. Heather
    November 28 at 09:08AM

    SO cute! I am heading to the fabric store this morning!

    • Ruth
      November 29 at 07:15PM

      Thanks Heather! Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  3. Mom
    November 28 at 09:44AM

    Isn’t burlap uncomfortable? I just don’t see how you would want that as a pillow. It’s a cute idea, but I think i’d rather use fleece or fabric then burlap!

    • Ruth
      November 29 at 07:17PM

      Well I probably wouldn’t want to sleep on it, but it is more decorative than anything else–most of my throw pillows are just eye candy! 🙂 You could use the same technique with any fabric though–the end result is the same. I actually did a gold lame one at the same time and it worked perfectly.

  4. Jennifer Green
    November 28 at 09:47AM

    Ruth, you are seriously killing me with all these projects! LOL I want to make all of them! I don’t know how you find time to do it all.

    • Ruth
      November 29 at 07:18PM

      Meh, I just put off doing everything else so I can make pretty crafts! 😉

  5. rebekah
    November 28 at 03:46PM

    Cute, simple and festive. Thanks for the tutorials. Question: did you post the winner to the Holiday CD giveaway?

    • Ruth
      November 29 at 07:20PM

      Oh my goodness Rebekah, I am SO bad about remembering to pick winners for my giveaways! After I saw your comment yesterday I picked and notified the winner. Thanks again for the reminder!

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