Easy Envelope Pillow Cover Tutorial

I have been looking everywhere for a cute pillow to put on a chair in our nursery to add a pop of color.  The only problems are that I can’t find one I like or if I find a cute one it is so expensive!  I figured I would be better off by pulling out my dusty ol’ sewing machine and whipping one up myself.  I knew I wanted a pillow with a removable cover for all the baby spit up that will eventually be covering it!  I found an easy to follow tutorial at Texas Cottage Blog and went to work!

So here we go!
Step 1:  Measure your pillow.  Use a tape measure across the center and measure from seam to seam (or just look at the tag on the pillow stating the size).  My pillow is 16″ x 16″.
Step 2: Determine the amount of fabric to cut.  One measurement will be the length of the short side.  The other measurement is calculated by multiplying the length of the long side by 2 (for the front and back) and adding 4″ (for seam allowance and overlap).  Example: I cut my fabric 16″ by (16″ x 2 + 4″) or 16″x 36″.  If you are using a square pillow, here are some quick measurements for you to cut your fabric: 16″ pillow: Cut the fabric 16″ x 36″; 17″ pillow: Cut the fabric 17″ x 38″; 18″ pillow: Cut the fabric 18″ x 40″.
Step 3: Hem the two short sides.  Lay the fabric right side down with a short side towards you.  For my pillow this was the 16″ sides.  Measure and iron a 1/4″ hem on both sides.  Fold each side over another 1/4″ (to hide any unfinished edges), iron them flat, pin and sew both hems.
Step 4: Sew the side two seams.  Now lay the fabric with the right side up with the long side towards you.  Fold one side with the 1/4″ hem over a little more than half-way.  Fold the other side over so it overlaps the first side.  I folded one side of mine 6 1/2 inches and the other 9 1/2 inches and had a 3 inch overlap (6.5″ + 9.5″=16″).  Make sure your fabric measures from fold to fold the same as your pillow.  Pin each side seam, and sew with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Trim the seam allowance at each corner.

Step 5: Turn each side right side out and put pillow inside.

You’re done!  Enjoy your fun, new pillow!

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  1. says

    I am bookmarking this! My couch pillows are gross, but I can’t seem to find any pillows with removeable covers any more! I HAVE to be able to wash them; three dogs and dry clean only do not mix!

    I’ve got my weekend project, for sure!

  2. says

    I had just bought material to redo a couple of my pillows envelope style, but now I’m glad that I can eliminate some of the work with only two side seams! Thank you! (And I freakin’ love your material.)

  3. says

    So I had to comment because I just bought some fabric at Hobby Lobby and googled “easy pillow tutorial” and this came up- with the exact same fabric I bought! Weird, right?? And you just posted this 2 days ago. Anyway, thanks for the tutorial- I love how you just used one big piece- saved so much time!

  4. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made a pillow cover last night and one this morning for the loveseat in my craft room. Have plans to make some for a friend as well. I do not do a lot of sewing but this was so simple. I’m showing them to everyone that comes in the house! Lol!

  5. says

    I noticed you cut the fabric to exactly 16″ when your pillow is 16″ – you didn’t need an extra inch to account for the 1/2″ seam allowance? Is that because the pillow just squishes in? It looks like a perfect fit for your pillow.

    Also, agree that your fabric is fantastic.

      • Cyd says

        Putting a 16″ pillow in a 15″ pillow cover makes the cover fit a little more snuggly. That is exactly what is pictured, so if that is the look you want to achieve, that is how to do it!

  6. says

    Found this tutorial when searching for envelope pillow cover. Great tutorial, but it is incredibly close to a tutorial posted on another blog almost a year before you posted this one. In fact, there is so much that is word for word. Elyse, do you think you should give Texas Cottage Blog some love? Great tutorial though, thank you!

  7. says

    Hi, this tutorial is so easy. I have a question though, I’m new to sewing and have recently discovered French seams. I like to use these as I am making covers from silk that tends to fray. My question is, is there a way that I can do your easy method but still do a French seam? Thank you!!

  8. Gail says

    I love this pattern. I have made 2 already. But I am still having trouble understanding how I can have a 16″ wide fabric, sew 2, 1/2 ” seams and it still fits a 16″ pillow! On one of my pillows the corners were a little limp (probably because I was afraid to do 1/2 ” seams so the cover was slightly larger than it was suppose to be) so I just added some extra, loose fiberfill in all corners to make them nice and firm! Looks beautiful and now I have pillows to match a quilt (that I bought…did not sew!)

  9. Dana says

    This is a good tutorial, however there is one item that needs correcting. In the final step to lay out in step 4. If you lay out your item with the same inches on both sides, ( eg 16 by 16 ) prior to doing the final hems, you will end up with a pillow form that is one inch smaller on one side due to the 1/2 inch seams. In order to get an even square when done, you need to make the length of the envelope side your final width, eg in this case 15, and the side that you are sewing the 16 inch width. Otherwise you end up with 16 by 15.

    Also, I recommend reinforce stitching the edges ofthe envelope when sewing the final seams in step 4 as that area receives the most pulling when stuffing the form in.

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