Sunday, August 14, 2011

the easiest way to make an envelope pillow

I wanted to recover some pillows for our living room, and I didn't want to spend $120 on covers. I don't like spending money on things I can make anyways. So, here's the easiest way I've found to make envelope covers.

You'll need:
  • sewing machine/thread/all that jazz
  • wrapping paper with 1" grid {I know that Hobby Lobby and Hallmark wrapping paper comes with this grid. Not only can you use the paper for wrapping gifts, but you can use them to create your own square patterns.}
  • fabric {quantity will depend on the size of your pillows and also number of covers} I'm pretty sure that you can make almost 2 covers with a yard and a half of fabric.
  • pins
  • iron/ironing board
  • scissors
To start - find what size pillow cover you need and cut a grid for that measurement. I like for a 1/2 inch seam, so if I'm sewing a 20" square pillow cover, I'll cut a grid of 21" sq. with the wrapping paper. You could have any seam width, just double the measurement and add it to your cover measurement: {Pillow cover measurement + seam measurement(2)} Remember to do your multiplication first.
Once you have your square - pin the full square paper to your fabric like so and cut only 1 of these {if you're making multiple covers out of this fabric, then you should cut 2}:
Then unpin your 'pattern' from your fabric. Now you need to cut the fabric for the back of the pillow. To do this, I just eye the 'pattern' and fold it so that 1/4th of the pattern is folded over the rest of the pattern. So ideally you'll have about 3/4 of your pattern left over. Like I said, I just eye it, but some of you math folk might be interested in measuring exactly.

For each pillow you'll need 2 of these. I like measuring them longer rather than shorter because who likes an envelope that opens easily?

If you plan on doing it right like my ma'ma taught me, then you'll zig-zag the edges of all your pieces before you start any major sewing. This is done so that your fabric doesn't unravel when you wash it.

After zig-zaging the edge, you'll take your two shorter pieces and fold the fabric over {on the long side of the fabric} about an inch to an inch and a half. Iron this fold so that it will stay in place when you sew it.
After I iron the fold, I like to pin the seam here and there before sewing {just in case the fabric tries to move while you're sewing}.
Then I like to sew the fold twice - once close to the edge and once close to the inner edge of the fold - when you're through it will look like this:
{Repeat those steps for the other 3/4ths part}

Then set the largest piece face up on a flat surface. Take the two smaller pieces and place them face down on top of the larger piece. It's very important that the all the print sides of your fabric are facing each other {on the inside}. It should look like this:
Then pin your edges. 

Now you're ready to create your pillow cover. Sew your border seam {mine was 1/2 an inch seam}. Also, for extra durability, backstitch where there will be tension in the pillow cover, like this:
After you sew an entire square around your square, flip your cover inside out. You've just made yourself a fabulous pillow cover {and saved a ton of money}.


  1. Oooh, I am going to make these, thank you for the tutorial!


  2. I've been thinking that I need some new pillows for our couch. I might be calling you up soon for an etsy order! :) These are adorable!

  3. What fabric did you use? I love it!

  4. Honestly the wrapping paper tip is the best sewing advice I have ever read! I am the worst at cutting a straight and even line. THANK YOU!


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