This is one of those simple projects that’s a reminder of the versatility of textiles. Just because you find them in one form doesn’t mean they can’t be turned into something else! Do a search on Etsy and you’ll find lots of Moroccan or kilim print rugs converted into decorative pillow covers.
I found these two $16 cotton rugs at HomeGoods and I thought to myself, hmmm I love the soft texture and the blue colors and the Old Worldish print. They’re lovely as rugs but a little thin. Wouldn’t these be fun as textured pillows for my sofa?
So I turned them into a set.
Here are the simple steps on how to turn a cotton rug like this …
…into a pillow cover like this.
This is simple sew project but no zipper required. I used the same envelope pillow technique I’ve used for years, here’s a refresher.
First, trim the fringe on the short edges. You can use it to make tassels for the corners if you like (I chose not to). Trimming the fringe avoids the possibility it may get stuck in your sewing machine.
Next, grab a pillow insert and lay it down on the rug just to confirm you have enough material. (I used a 24 x 24” pillow insert). Cut the rug in half.
The longer sides of the rug have a nice seam so use them to your advantage, they will appear on the edges of the envelope on the backside of your pillow cover. Cut the second half of the rug in half so it forms two rectangular pieces, each with a seamed edge.
This is the trick with forming the envelope: place the front piece face up so that the print is facing you. Layer the backside pieces print side down, one piece overlapping the other to form what will be the envelope opening.
Trim the pieces to form a square, allow for at least an inch of excess material around the border. Lay the pillow insert on top as your guide and pin the pieces together just outside the pillow form.
Sew the four sides together. Take special care with the sewing machine needle as you sew over the layers of the envelope and those seamed edges of the rug. (Go slow to prevent needle breakage).
Turn the cover inside out and fill with pillow insert.
Remember those seamed edges along the sides of the original rug? See how they form the perfect edges of the envelope opening on the back of the pillow cover.
Turning a cotton rug into a pillow cover is that simple. :)