How To Make An Envelope Pillow Cover

This week Dear Daughter called asking if she could come over and use my sewing machine to recover some pillows.  Well, sure!

{{ Dear Daughter knows I would never say no to a craft project }}

So yesterday she showed up with her old pillows, her new fabric, and we got busy!

We covered old pillows.  We covered new pillows.  Look at all the lovely pillows . . . .

pillow group 610

We chose a type of pillow cover called an “Envelope” pillow cover.  This is a nice simple method because it’s made with a folded flap type of opening that you let’s you just stick your old pillow inside without having to sew it shut.   This also means you can take the pillow that’s stuffed inside back out again if you want to wash the cover.

Ready to give it a try?  Here’s how to do it.

How To Sew An Envelope Pillow Cover

You will need:

An old pillow or a pillow insert from the fabric store
Fabric of your choice (we covered two pillow with 1 yard of fabric)
Measuring tape or yardstick
Sewing Machine

fish pillow new

1.  Start with an old pillow.   We started with this lovely specimen above 🙂

2.  Now you will need to do some math.  Yeah, bummer.  But once this part is over it gets more fun, I promise.  Measure the width of your pillow and add one more inch.  Measure the height of your pillow and multiply by 2.5.    These two measurements will be the width and the length of the rectangle you will cut from your fabric.

Example: If you are covering a 15″ square pillow, you need to cut a rectangle 16″ x 37-1/2″

Remember – you want your piece to be one inch wider and two and half times longer than the pillow you are covering.

3.  Now that you have cut your piece of fabric, lay it flat with the right side of the fabric facing up.

4.  Fold up from the bottom, about 1/3 of the fabric.  Then fold the raw edge down again about 1/3.

pillow fold 1

5.  Then take the top edge of the fabric and fold it down so it covers about half of your last fold.

How to make an envelope pillow cover

At this point, you might want to lay your pillow on top and eyeball it to see if it looks like you’ve got about the right size for your cover.  Make any adjustments to the folds you think necessary.

6.  Pin the side edges.

7.  Sew a seam down each side of the rectangle, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

pillow seam

8.  Turn the pillow cover right side out.

9.  Stuff your old pillow inside.

10.  You can add a couple of buttons for a decorative accent too.

Viola!  No more Fish Pillow!

How to make an envelope pillow cover

Once we got the hang of it, we cranked out four more pillows.  The most time is spent making sure you have the right measurements and cutting out your fabric.  Once you’ve got that part done, you just have to make three folds, sew two seams, and your cover is complete!

How to make an envelope pillow cover

Once you have the cover on, you can decide if you want to have the opening on the front side (which looks the best if you accent it with some buttons), or you can set your pillow with the flap opening in the back so the pillow looks smooth on the front.  It’s up to you!

Update May, 2016: Here’s another set of pillows that were covered using this method.  These were a couple of large pillows that came with my sofa but I wanted to use them in my basement family room on my black futon instead.  Now they’re all updated with some bold colors that will fit that color scheme.  And because these are envelope pillow covers, I can easily take them off at any time if I want to use the pillows in their original form again, or if I want to recover them for some other color scheme

How to make envelope pillow covers

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