DIY Envelope Pillow Cover

There has been a growing stack of fabric in our office for months just staring at me and patiently waiting to be made into something.  The problem is that when I went looking for fabrics at Savers for our wedding, I started finding all sorts of other fun fabrics to add to my collection of "fabric to make into ... something?"  The other day I finally dug through my sewing stuff and came up with some pillow inserts that needed covers, so I pulled out my sewing machine and actually made something!  It turns out that envelope pillow covers are actually rather easy to make, and end up looking pretty darn nice, if I do say so myself.

This is also a little sneak peek into our office, which we have yet to share pictures of without it being totally cluttered with moving boxes.  There's a little seating area with our lovely reupholstered Danish modern daybed and our amazing "Periodic Chart of the Atoms" we picked up at a yard sale last year (if you're thinking right now, "hey, I really want that chart, I wonder if they're selling it..." you are not the first.  We have received several emails asking after our lovely chart, and the answer is that for now we are definitely keeping it, but if you want to get in line in case we ever decide to sell, by all means email away), and that sofa was looking rather barren without any throw pillows to liven it up.

I used a super fun piece of quilted jungle fabric (which I picked up at a yard sale for a probably a dollar or so at least a year ago), and a piece of small-scale diamond-ish patterned fabric that definitely looks vintage (which I bought at Savers for a couple bucks at some point recently).  The small insert was found at a yard sale for 25 cents long ago (still had the 25 cent sticker on it!) and the larger insert was purchased at IKEA years ago for a very small price.  I followed this awesome tutorial on Freshly Picked, so definitely check that out if you want to make one of these, as she took much more thorough pictures than me!

Here's how it went down:

My pillow was 13" square, so I cut out one 13" by 13" piece for the front (same size as the pillow, as recommended in the tutorial), and two pieces for the back.  The back pieces shown are both 13" by 8", but once they were cut and laid out, I realized that that size wasn't going to cut it to have enough overlap, so I cut out another piece that was 13" by 10" or so.  That way I used one 13x8 and one 13x10 for the back, so I had an extra 5 inches, but once the hems were sewn, the overlap was really more like 2-3".  My pillow insert was rather overstuffed, so I could have gone even bigger, but it worked out okay.  I used my trusty disappearing ink pen to mark the lines before cutting.

Folded over one side of each back piece about a half inch and ironed it down, then folded over another half inch and ironed again.

I ended up pinning the ironed seams in place to keep it tidy since my fabric did not want to press nicely.  You can see in this picture that one of the back pieces is bigger than the other, and you can see how they will line up together.  Next I used my sewing machine to sew that one hemmed side on each back piece.

Then I assembled the troops:  front piece face up, back pieces face down with the hemmed sides overlapping each other.  That little bit of folded over back piece is just to show how they all fit together.   Then you just sew all four sides, staying about a half inch away from the edge.  At the beginning and end of each side I did a little backstitching to make sure it all stayed in place.

Trim the corners...

Flip it inside out, being careful to push out the corners well, and stuff in your pillow!

Boom!  Done.

As you can tell, my little pillow insert was way overstuffed, but luckily it had a zipper so I ended up removing a lot of extra fluff to make it a bit nice and more comfy.

And then I made another one!  The jungle pillow took a bit more care, since I had to plan out which part of the design I wanted to be on the front and back, plus the quilted fabric was kindof weird to work with and the pieces were just bigger.  I love the way they both turned out though!

Here's what the back of each one looks like, so you can see how the envelope part works.  I decided to do the envelope sideways on the jungle pillow, since I thought it would work better with the shape.  You can definitely see how overstuffed the little pillow is, since it's almost bursting at the envelope part.

It's pretty amazing how expensive throw pillows can be, so it makes me really happy that with a bit of time spent with my sewing machine and just a few dollars of supplies (if you're thrifty and pick them up as you go) I can make my own lovely throw pillows!  You really only need minimal sewing skills for this project, too; only six straight lines are required for each pillow.  Yay for inexpensive, easy, and awesome-looking projects!

What do you think of my creations?  Which is your favorite?  Have you ever made your own pillow covers before?  Any tips to make this project even better?

Linking up with The Well Crafted Home


  1. Love this, looks fantastic and so simple too! I just love the fabric you've chosen too.
    Sophie x

  2. Looks great, I love envelope pillow covers. If your fabric allows it, you can also leave the front and back pieces attached at the top and bottom. So you have one long strip of fabric that you wrap around the pillow. That way you only have to do the side seams.

  3. Awesome because there is no zipper. That's my kind of sewing.

    1. Sewing zippers is the worst. No zipper is definitely the way to go!

  4. i love that diamond-patterned one - looks like a lovely piece of vintage upholstery type of fabric! i too like that there is no zipper, it's tricky to sew zippers especially when the fabric is bulky.

    i have a piece of awesome 50's geometric print barkcloth, but can't make my mind up about what it shall become... seeing your couch with those cushions i might decide on an envelope pillow! :)

  5. Ah yes, it's a family tradition to have a "stack of fabric" sitting around just waiting for the right project. Nice for wintertime fun.
    Pillows look awesome. Some people also use a little velcro to attach the sides together, if there is not enough fabric to nicely overlap.

  6. Thank you for this tutorial! I made a pillow cover (10" x 10") but my pillow insert (same size) was way too small. I decreased the cover size to 9" x 9" and it looks ok except for the corners which look flat. Is it just my pillow form or am I doing something wrong?




Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...