How To Make An Envelope Pillow Cover

Learn how to make a really easy DIY envelope pillow cover to update your home decor on a budget and add a fun pop of color!

Are you feeling like it’s time to make some changes to your living room or bedroom?

One of the easiest ways to freshen up your decor, without a ton of commitment, is to add new throw pillows to your sofa and making your own envelope pillow covers is a lot easier than you might think.

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 costs a little bit and whip up some seasonal pillows then an envelope pillow cover is just what you need.

Keep reading to learn how to sew an envelope pillow cover to spice up your home. — I’m going to show you the super simple steps today to DIY your own pillow covers!


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Why Envelope Pillow Covers Are Perfect for Easy Home Decor

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

Not at all!

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 sofa pillows that look good, but aren’t worth the extra time of installing a zipper, 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.

Envelope pillow cases are an easy way to change up the look of your home, can be easily cleaned in the washing machine, and are easy to DIY!

So let’s gather up our supplies and get into action shall we?

Supplies to make an envelope pillow cover

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How to make an envelope pillow cover without a pattern

Cutting out the pieces of your pillow case

You don’t need an envelope pillow cover pattern! It’s all based on the size of the pillow you’re covering, making this a super easy way to cover a pillow. My pillow insert was square but this also works for a rectangular lumbar pillow; just use the dimensions of your pillow insert.

Step 1: Cut the front side

Cut the front side of your pillow cover the size of your pillow insert.

So if your insert is 16 inches square, you’ll cut a piece of fabric that is 16 inches on all 4 sides.

Step 2: Cut the back side

Cut two 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 ½ of the length plus 5 inches to account for seams and overlap (the envelope part).

For example, my pillow insert is 16 inches so ½ of that is 8 inches + 5= 13 inches. So each of my back pieces will be 16 inches wide and 13 inches tall.

How to sew your envelope pillow cover

Step 3: Sew the seams

Fold your top back piece's bottom edge over about ½ 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’s often easier to sew these types of seams if you iron them in place first.

Putting your envelope pillow cover together

Step 4: Pin the pieces in place

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 around.

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Step 5: Sew the seams

Sew all the way around your pillow with a ½ inch seam.

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Step 6: Sew zigzag stitch

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 fraying.

Why did I cut off my corners? Cutting the corners of your pillow case will ensure that when you turn it right side out and add a pillow, you’ll be able to get crisp corners on your finished pillow.

Here’s how: When you approach a corner, stop with your needle down about an inch from the corner. Then turn your fabric so you sew your stitch at an angle. Once you’re done, cut the corners off before moving onto your zig-zag stitch to finish the edge.

Step 7: Finish

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!

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

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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!

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Frequently Asked Questions - DIY Envelope Pillow

How do you determine how much/how far in to angle the corners?

If I’m doing a ½ inch seam, I start the angle about 1 inch from the corner, then cut the excess to keep the ½ inch seam along there.

What's the name of the fabric you used?

It's a Michael Miller fabric no longer available; you can find similar ones by searching for coral scallop or trellis fabric at your favorite online fabric stores.

If I cut the fabric front piece the same size as insert, won't it be too small?

Cutting your fabric the same dimensions as your pillow insert will ensure a snug fit and that your pillow is nice and plump without "dog ears" at the corners.

I’ve found some cotton fabric online, but fear it will be too thin. Will using fusible facing work?

That's a great option; just make sure you get an interfacing that isn’t stiff. Another option would be to line it with an inexpensive white or dark grey fabric depending on the main color of your pretty fabric. You could also double layer each side to make it easy and have to only sew each line once.

Can I use pinking shears instead of a serger to keep the fabric from fraying?

Pinking shears will help but serging the edges (or using the zig-zag if you don’t have a serger) will be a better bet if you plan to wash the cover often.

How much does the top piece overlap the back piece when the pillow is finished?

They overlap about 4 inches after you have the seams sewn. You can adjust that if you need to but I wouldn’t go less than a 2 inch overlap.

What type of fabric works best for a pillow cover?

Basic home decor fabric. Cotton is usually too thin and jersey, silk and knit are harder to work with and don't hold their shape as well.

Buying fabric online has become one of my favorite things because it saves time and the selection is amazing! Click here to see my favorite places to buy fabric online!

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