How to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover

Hello!  Are you feeling like it’s time to add a fun pop of color to your living room?  One of the easiest ways to do it (without a ton of color commitment) add some new throw pillows to your sofa!

I’ve shown you how to make a zippered pillow cover and I love hearing that so many of you are facing your fears and learning how to install a zipper, but if you want to cut cost a little bit and whip up some seasonal pillows then an envelope pillow cover is just what you need.  And I’m going to show you the super simple steps today!DIY pillow covers

What? You thought I was always super fancy and made all of my pillow covers with a zipper?

Not at all folks!  I have 2 young kiddos and a husband who may or may not fall asleep on the sofa and drool a little, (sorry honey) so I definitely need a few pillows that look good, but aren’t worth the extra time, since they won’t be around forever.  We don’t live in a museum or a magazine.  We drool.  And occasionally have sticky stuff on our fingers.

So let’s gather up our supplies and get our straight line sewing selves into action shall we? This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure.

You will need…

Want to add piping to your pillow cover?

Start with the steps in this post first.

how to make an envelope pillow cover

Step 1: Cut the front side of your pillow cover the size of your pillow insert.  So if your insert is 16 inches square, you will cut a piece of fabric that is 16 inches on all 4 sides.

Step 2: Cut 2 pieces for the back side (be sure that your fabric is going in the same direction as the front (unless you don’t want it to.)

Each back side piece will be the same width as the front side and 1/2 of the length plus 5 inches to account for seams and overlap (the envelope part.)  For example, my pillow insert is 16 inches so 1/2 of that is 8 inches + 5= 13 inches.  So each of my back pieces will be 16 inches wide and 13 inches tall.

diy envelope pillow cover

Step 3: Fold the bottom edge of your top back piece over about 1/2 an inch and then again and sew along the edge to create a finished edge.

Repeat for the top edge of the bottom piece.

(It is often easier to sew these types of seams if you iron them in place first.)how to make a pillow cover

Step 4: Now place your front piece good side up (with the fabric going in the direction you want the finished pillow to have.) Then place the back bottom piece good side down lining up the corners, and then the top back piece good side down.  It will overlap the bottom piece.

Pin in place all the way throw pillow cover

Step 5: Sew all the way around your pillow with a 1/2 inch seam.

Step 6: Then run your sewing machine around the edges with the zig-zag stitch so that the needle lands just off of the fabric on the outer edge.  This will keep your fabric from to sew a pillow cover

Step 7: Turn your pillow cover right side out and add your insert! DONE!

Check out the fun pop of color these envelope pillow covers add in my typically pretty neutral living room!diy throw pillows

Now the hubs has a nice bright place to rest his sleepy head in the evening. 🙂how to make throw pillows

And just imagine all of the fun fabric combinations you could come up with for each season to give a little refresh to your space!sewing 101 - diy envelope pillow cover

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

33 thoughts on “How to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover

  1. Angela Hall says:

    Yea you are right little change in room interior affects a lot like changing pillow covers. I tried to make pillow covers as you directed and I had it perfectly done. Thanks.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Glad you found the instructions useful, Angela. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for your tutorial! Loved the suggestion to cut the fabric the same size as the pillow. Makes my pillow look much more plump.

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for this tutorial! Question: How much does the top piece overlap the back piece when the pillow is finished? I am making pillow covers for a friend, and they have pictures and other pieces on them on both the top and bottom back pieces. I want to be sure they all “show” up when I am done. I kind of have an idea since the finished pillow, in my case, will be 18 inches, but thought I’d check in here with you. Thanks!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Ellen! They overlap about 4 inches after you have the seams sewn. You can adjust that if you need to to have your pattern (or picture) lay nicely but I wouldn’t go less than a 2 inch overlap. Happy sewing!

  4. Rochelle says:

    So, I am sorry if this question is redundant but you don’t add extra for the seams? If you are using a 1/2inch seam then the pillow cover size would be smaller than the insert? Is this why it is a better fit for the pillow? I just want to be sure I am reading this correctly before cutting my fabric.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Rochelle. Yes you cut your fabric the same dimensions as your pillow form and then sew a 1/2 inch seam. It will ensure that your pillow has a nice shape. 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    I’d love to add piping that Ive already purchased to an envelope pillow cover. I see it mentioned in your post but can not locate the instructions to do so. Would love to see that included in the tutorial. Excellent straight forward instructions. Best yet! Thank you.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks bunches Kim. The steps to add piping are in this post. Happy sewing!

  6. Stephani says:

    I think the back pieces of mine are a little too long, but this was so much easier than trying to figure it out on my own!

  7. Julie says:

    Thank you for saving my bacon tonight! I needed a last minute gift and this fit the bill PERFECTLY!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      That’s awesome, Julie! Glad you found the perfect gift here!

  8. Cynthia says:

    I noticed you clipped your corners but you don’t mention that in your tutorial.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Oopse. I do clip my corners so that when it’s right side out the corners are super crisp. Thanks for letting me know, Cynthia!

  9. Valerie says:

    Love your fabric!!!

  10. Gabrielle says:

    That was one of the best and easiest to follow tutorials I have used. Thank you

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You’re so welcome, Gabrielle! Glad you found it helpful!

  11. Linda says:

    Dear Corey,

    Thank you so much!

    I have read several DIY instructionals on how to sew an envelope-style pillow cover, but the directions on how to measure (and cut) the back pieces varied, leaving me confused and frustrated. Your directions are perfect — easy understand and they make sense!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      You’re so welcome, Linda. Happy to be of help!

  12. I simple use one long strip of fabric hem each end fold so back of cover overlaps a couple of inches then machine sides .. it’s so easy! !

  13. Jackie says:

    I too was concerned about making the envelope pillow the same size as the insert but your pillows look perfect. I have made envelope pillows before and did add that extra inch so it was 19 inches rather then 18. Do you think your way makes for a nicer fit? Im a very new sewer so Im open to your ideas.
    Thank you!!

    1. Anne says:

      Yes always make the finished cushion cover the exact same size as the insert. Makes for a plumper cushion.

  14. Deb says:

    Just made this as my very first sewing project on a quiet Saturday night. I love it! (followed the advice of those in the comments that the back pieces should be the width +1inch)

    1. Carol says:

      Thank you for your instructions for an envelope pillow cover. I wish I had read the comments before making my first pillow cover. It was really hard to get the pillow into the cover as the overlap was way to much. I can’t get my hand inside to get the corners fixed or smooth out the pillow. My next cover backing will be halve each end plus only add 1 inch to each piece.

    2. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks for the input, Carol. Let me know how your next pillow turns out!

  15. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much!! I just made this and it was so easy!! It’s the first thing I have sewn from scratch.

    1. Hooray! That is so exciting Stephanie!

  16. Kate says:

    I’m so going to make pillow covers now.
    On the sample dimensions I think the back piece measurements are wrong. Shouldn’t they be 12.5 by 16 since they should be the same width as the front panels (1″ larger than the pillow itself)? The example says 12.5 by 15.

    1. Marissa says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I started to lay the pieces together and I can’t figure out the purpose of having the front piece an inch wider than the back pieces. It seems like the back pieces should have had that extra inch too.

    2. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Kate, after lots of trial and error, I’ve found that cutting your pieces the same dimensions as your insert makes for the best fit. I’ve updated the instructions to reflect this and hopefully make it less confusing. Thanks a bunch for your input!

  17. Whitney says:

    This is a perfect tutorial! I’ve been looking for a way to cover my old ugly throw pillows!

    I do have a question though because I am a fabric newbie. What kind of fabric do you use for this type of project?

    Thanks again for the tutorial!

    1. Basic home decor fabric will be the best. You want to avoid silks and knits since they are harder to work with. You could also use a basic cotton fabric but they are a bit thin and don’t hold their shape as well. Hope that helps!

  18. This is so what I needed – something for the beginner! I love your fabric choices and it’s awesome that it’s so easy, you can really change it up for every season & they’d also make a super easy gift. Cool project!

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