How to Sew Envelope Back Pillow Covers

Written by natasha lawrence
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How to Sew Envelope Back Pillow Covers
Diagram: overlapping back flaps (Photo & diagram by Natasha Lawrence)

Making envelope pillow covers only requires some basic sewing machine skills for simple straight stitching. These pillow covers are created to fit over existing pillows, whether decorative pillows or sleeping pillows. No zippers, buttons or closures of any kind are necessary which makes this home decor project an excellent one for the novice seamstress. The back part of the pillow consists of two fabric pieces that overlap at least a few inches where closures would otherwise be added. Envelope pillow covers make it easy to remove and launder or recover the pillow with another cover.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Fabric sufficient to cover front and back of one pillow plus 6".
  • Scissors
  • Coordinated thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Embellishments such as tassels if desired.

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  1. 1

    Measure the pillow to be covered. Add 1 inch all the way around for the front of the pillow (one piece). Add 8 inches to the back width of the pillow plus 1 inch for the top and bottom. Cut fabric for both front and back of the pillow according to the dimensions measured. The back piece will be wider than the front piece because there will be an overlapping of flaps as a closure. Cut the back piece in half height-wise to have two equal size pieces.

    How to Sew Envelope Back Pillow Covers
    Photo: overlapping back flaps
  2. 2

    Work on the back part of the pillow cover first. Take one of the back two pieces, fold in the edge along one of the edges width-wise, and stitch a 1/2-inch seam with a finished edge. Do the same with the other back piece of fabric for the pillow. Iron flat. At this time, add tassels or other embellishments if desired by pinning them onto the corners on the right side of the fabric.

  3. 3

    Place the front panel and one of the back panels together along the edges so that the right sides of the fabric pieces are facing each other. Pin the two corners of both panels (with or without a tassel inside the pillow cover). Take the other back panel and lay it flat, right side in, to the other side of the front panel. Pin the corners. Add pins to secure the edges along both sides of the pillow (leaving the top and bottom open for the moment). Overlap one back panel over the other back panel and pin the top and bottom of the pillow cover. The opening in the middle will remain open (to insert a pillow through) but there will be an overlapping opening of about 4 inches.

  4. 4

    Straight stitch 1/2-inch all around the edges of the pillow cover. Iron flat. Turn inside out so that the correct side of the fabric is out and the tassels (if they were added) hang from the corners. Iron the edges flat for a nice finish. Take the pillow for which it was created and insert into the cover through the back where there is an overlapping flap. Fluff up and decorate a sofa, bed cover or chair.

Tips and warnings

  • This is a good project for a "crazy quilt" or two or three contrasting pieces of fabric stitched together.

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