How to: Re-Cover Round Pillows

It's pretty simple to re-cover square or rectangular pillows. I whipped up six in under an hour the other night using the method described in my post, Super-Easy DIY Pillow Covers in less than 15 minutes. But what about round pillows?

We have two round seat cushions that go on the wrought iron chairs that Gus just repainted. (You can read about that here, if you haven't already!) I bought them almost 6 years ago when we moved into this house. They served their purpose, and they still basically look okay, but it's time for a change.

photo showing round pillows before and after being re-covered, and also showing them on black wrought iron chairs

(This post may contain affiliate links which were added to make it easier for you to find the items. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). You are free to use the links or not - if you do, I thank you!)

I decided I would try to make my own covers, and add some ties to secure them to the chairs. The cushions we have don't have ties, so every time there is a strong wind, I have to go round up the pillows from the other side of the porch or the yard.

What you'll need:

Here are photos of each step, and then below those are the corresponding instructions:

infographic with step-by-step instructions for re-covering round pillows
  1. Measure the diameter of the pillows.
  2. Since my pillows would be outside, I chose an outdoor fabric.
  3. Draw two circles onto the fabric (two for each pillow), making the diameter 2" larger than the original pillow(s), then cut them out. (I used pinking shears to reduce fraying)
  4. Place right sides together and stitch, using a 1" seam allowance, and leaving an opening large enough to insert the pillow and stitch the ties in place. (I left about an 8" opening.)
  5. Working with the opening, pin the fabric back 1" on both sides, to equal the seam allowance
  6. Now press that "seam" on both sides.
  7. If you want to use Stitch Witchery to hold the seam allowance along the opening in place, you can - but I didn't.
  8. To make the ties, cut 4 strips per pillow, (I used pinking shears) measuring 2" wide X 16" long.
  9. On one of the short ends of each strip, fold back 1/2" and press with iron.
  10. Working with one strip at a time, fold over 1/4" along each long side and press with iron.
  11. Now fold each strip in the middle lengthwise so that the long folded edges meet and right side of fabric is on the outside.
  12. Topstitch close to edge to create ties, then pin two strips side-by-side at the end of the cover opening. right next to the stitched part)
  13. Repeat for the other side of the pillow opening.
  14. Topstitch (through all layers) the ties into place.
  15. Repeat for other side.
  16. To close the opening, I applied iron-on Velcro, but you can also stitch it closed by hand.
  17. You can stop here if you just want a plain cover. I decided to go ahead and add some buttons to get that tufted look. If I remove the covers, I'll have to snip the threads holding the buttons, but I couldn't figure any way to achieve the tufted look without stitching through both sides of the cover.
And that's it! You just insert the pillow(s), close up the cover, and tie it onto the chair. Between the fabric (50% off at Jo-Ann's) and the buttons, the two covers cost about $15. Such an improvement!

wrought iron bistro set before painting on left - after painting and recovering round seat pillows on right

Not bad for my first attempt! Yeah, I know I could've tried to match up the design at the seams, but honestly, that was just too much work and the cushions are on the front porch, which has a row of boxwoods in front of it, so you can't see it unless you're up close (or looking at a picture!). If you really wanted to get fancy, you could add piping along the seam.

black wrought iron bistro set with brightly colored round seat cushions

Are you ready to give it a try? How do you cover a round pillow? I'd love to hear! Leave a comment here or send me a snap


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