How To Make an Envelope Pillow Cover / Simple Sewing

envelope pillow cover

Is it time to switch out some of your throw pillows? Making your own envelope pillow cover is a great way to add a new pop of color to your couch or bed. It’s a super simple sewing project and it only takes about a ½ yard of fabric. There are so many ways to embellish these envelope pillow covers.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a basic envelope pillow cover and show you some different things you can do to customize them. These pillow covers can be made any size.

What type of fabric works well for an envelope pillow cover?

You can use all the same fabric or mix it up and use several different prints or colors of fabric.

  • Quilters cotton
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Corduroy
  • Upcycled sweaters
  • Cotton knit
  • Denim
  • Fleece
  • Cotton blends

Embellishment Ideas

  • Pom pom trim
  • Piping
  • Embroidery panel
  • Buttons
  • Applique
envelope pillow cover

Materials & Items Needed – Envelope Pillow Cover

envelope pillow cover form

Envelope Pillow Cover Instructions

Cutting Out



The first thing to do is to measure the pillow you are making the cover for. Measure from the side seam over to the other side seam. Add 1 inch to that measurement and write it down. THIS WILL BE THE MEASUREMENT OF THE FRONT FABRIC PIECE.

Example: pillow form measures 16”x 16” + 1 inch = 17”. Cut out front piece 17” x 17”


Example: Take the measurement for the FRONT PIECE 17” and divide that by 2 = 8.5” + 2.5 inches = 11 inches. CUT TWO BACK PIECES 17” X 11”.

If you want to embellish the front of the pillow with embroidery and applique or if you want to add trim to the sides, this is the time to do that.

In the photo above, I have used a dishtowel with embroidery. A friend of mine gave this to me as a dishcloth and I loved it so much, I didn’t want it to get stained in the kitchen. 

So I cut strips of the back fabric and sewed them around the edge of the panel. I thought it turned out pretty cute. 

So there are no limits when it comes to things you can do with your envelope pillow cover. 


1- Hem the back envelope opening edges by folding the edge over ½ inch.

Press a crease at that point. Now fold the edge over to the crease you just made to make a rolled hem and press in place. You will have a ¼ inch  hem. Pin or clip in place.

2- Topstitch the hem using a straight stitch – length at 3.

Do this for both back pieces.

3- Place the front piece on the table with the RIGHT SIDE FACING UP.

Take one of the back pieces and place it RIGHT SIDE FACING DOWN on top of the front piece with the hemmed edge in the center.

Place the other back piece RIGHT SIDE FACING DOWN on top of the other pieces, with the hemmed edge overlapping the other back piece and raw edges even. Pin or clip in place.

4- Sew all the way around using a ½ inch seam allowance and the stitch length at 2.5.

5 – Finish the seam by using a zigzag stitch, serger, or pinking shears, so the seam allowance will not fray.

envelope pillow pressing

6 – Clip corners and turn RIGHT SIDE FACING OUT.

Poke corners out using a turning stick or point turner. Roll edges out and press.

envelope pillow cover yellow fabricTad-ah, insert your pillow form and you are good to go. Now wasn’t that simple!

How to Add Trim or Piping To Envelope Pillow Cover

1- Starting in the middle of the bottom front piece, place the trim onto the pillow edges with the top of the trim facing outward. When you come to the corners, just slightly round the corner with the trim. Pin or clip in place.

2- Baste the trim in place.

Sew around the trim using a basting stitch with the length at 4. (use a 3/8 inch seam allowance)

***You may want to use your zipper foot to apply trim. Now place the back pieces onto the pillow front.

Follow steps 3-5 above.

When adding piping or trim, it is helpful to use a zipper foot with the needle adjusted to the left if needed. (If you have a WALKING FOOT, use it). If you don’t have a walking foot for your machine, you can order one that fits your model. They are really nice to have and I use mine all the time.

buttons pillow envelope pillow cover

If you want to add a button to the opening for looks or because you want to reinforce the opening, you can do that like I have with this pillow. Simply sew a buttonhole and sew on a button.

formal border edge envelope pillow cover

Border Edge Envelope Pillow Cover

If you want to have a little border around the edge of your pillow cover, you can use this method.

1- Measure your pillow form and add 2 inches instead of one. 

This will give you a 1/2-inch border all the way around the pillow. It’s a little more formal look and works out really nicely.

2- Follow the instructions for the regular pillow cover.

3- After you have flipped the cover right side facing out and pressed the edges. Topstitch using that longer length of 3 all the way around the pillow edge, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

Of course, you can make this border wider if you want, just adjust the width when you are cutting out the pieces. 

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.



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Have fun sewing!





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Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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