How to Make a DIY Envelope Pillow Cover

Learn how to make an easy envelope pillow case. It’s by far the easiest and fastest way to make a beautiful pillow cover. And it is perfect for beginners!

A club chair with 2 DIY envelope pillow covers

It’s back to sewing basics in today’s post. Learn how to make a DIY envelope pillow cover.

This is fantastic if you are just learning how to sew because it is the most straightforward way to create a handmade cushion cover.

DIY Pillow Projects

Click the project links below for more pillow ideas.

Monogram Pillow
DIY Pillow with Border

Painted Pillows
No-Sew Christmas Pillow Covers

All Sewing Projects

A Fast and Easy Sewing Project

This one piece fabric pillow design is just right for beginner sewists! It only involves straight stitches, and it is quick.

It is called an envelope pillowcase because one side of the cover has an opening to slide the insert into the case.

Although this opening does not require a closure mechanism, you can add one for embellishment. The fullness of the pillow holds it shut.

Once you have all the materials and fabric cut, you can be done in less than an hour.

I made the throw pillows above with a bold home decor print and a down pillow insert.

They are super easy and a simple way to add color and comfort to your living room or anywhere in the house.

Stay tuned for an advanced tutorial for a zippered pillowcase!

Envelope Style Pillow Inspiration

The envelope pillow style can stand alone nicely, be part of a set, or be the foundation for trimming. 

Use the colors, textures, and materials you love!

Below are inspirational fabric varieties, including muted pastels and black-and-white color palettes.

inspiration source

pillow source

purchasing source

Pillow Cover Tutorial

A throw pillow style works perfectly for any area in your home.

Decorative pillows add so much to a room. Combine colorful pillow sets on your couch, the porch, the patio, or in your bedroom.

Sewing Supplies

Affiliate links are underlined below.

Fabric HERE
Matching Thread

Straight Pins
Ruler or Tape Measure
Scissors or
Rotary Cutter HERE
Safe Cutting Surface
Sewing Machine
Fabric Protectant
 optional HERE

Start with your Pillow Form

First, you’ll need to determine what size pillow insert you want to use.

Many people suggest SIZING UP on the pillow form.

In other words, if you plan to use an 18×18 envelope pillow cover pattern, you purchase a 20×20 inch pillow form.

This creates a really full and fluffy pillow. I highly recommend this approach!

You can purchase pillow forms (down and foam) at most craft stores, fabric stores, or on

Here are a few highly rated examples to compare. Click for more information on each one. HERE HERE HERE and HERE

Next, note the dimensions of your pillow form, whether you purchased the insert or already own it.

If you already own it, you can typically find the measurements on the pillow tag or measure across the pillow from seam to seam using a tape measure fitted close to the pillow.

How Much Fabric do I Need to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover?

You will need under 1 yard of fabric to make most envelope pillow covers. Use the simple below math to find out how much fabric is needed for each size.

The Pillow Envelope Fabric Equation is:
Pillow size times 2, plus 6.

20×20 Envelope Pillow Cover Pattern
For a 20-inch square pillow, the formula would look like this:
20 inch pillow x 2 + 6 inches = 46 inch length (20-inch height)

Do not add a seam allowance if you prefer a snug, fitted look for your pillow.

See this DIY Pillow with Border tutorial for more information about adding a flange border trim.

Other Standard Square Pillow Forms:

16-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 16″ x 38 inches
17-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 17 x 40 inches
18-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 18″ x 42 inches
19-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 19″ x 44 inches
20-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 20″ x 46 inches
24-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 24″ x 54 inches

Now that you know how much fabric you need, let’s gather the other supplies. Below is a list of materials for your pillow project.

Preparing Your Fabric To Sew

It’s always a good idea to prewash your fabric before cutting it. This will prevent any future shrinking and potential fit problems when you wash the pillow cover.

Cutting your Fabric

It’s time to cut out your fabric! Decide which direction you want the print or texture to run and which way you prefer the opening to run. If your pillow is not square, this is especially important.

You can choose to have the opening in the front or back of the pillow. If you have it in the front, add a pretty closure like a button, bead, or embellishment.

Now, using your finished fabric measurements, cut out your fabric with a rotary cutter or sewing scissors on a safe cutting surface.

How To Sew A DIY Pillow Cover

Below is a quick start guide for how to make envelope pillow covers with step-by-step directions. Keep reading below for more detailed explanations.

Finishing Ends, Folding, and Sewing

1 Finish the two shortest raw ends of your fabric. Choose your favorite way to finish an edge.

One way is by folding under 1/4 inch and pressing. Then fold under 1/4 inch one more time. Press again. Topstitch on both sides to hold in place.

You can also fold once and finish with a serger or pinking shears. See the drawing below for reference.

Next, with the right side of the fabric facing up, fold both finished ends in towards the center so that they overlap. See below.

Adjust the fold lines where you want them, overlapping in your preferred location. It does not have to be the center, but that is very common.

The final folded footprint needs to be the size of your pillow form. Use a ruler or tape measure to confirm the correct size.

If you have a patterned fabric, consider what you want to be centered on the front of the pillow.

When you have the pillow folded in the proper position, pin the top and the bottom openings closed. Stitch across both to close. See the drawing below.

2 Before you turn, carefully clip all four corners on the inside to eliminate bulk. You have created an opening for your pillow form to go in!

Turning the DIY Pillow, Ironing, and Stuffing

3 Turn the pillow right side out. Press with an iron and gently push corners out.

4 You are just about done! Time to gently insert and stuff your down-filled or poly-filled pillow into your handcrafted pillow covers.

You will need to adjust the corners of the inner pillow cushion so that it fills the form nicely. Give it a few karate chops from both sides, and you are ready to roll.

Pillow Styling Ideas

Enjoy decorating with your new pillow! Pillow sets of 3 look even better, so consider making more pillows with coordinating fabrics to display as a group.

If you have any questions, feel free to write them in the comments below or send me a note HERE. I am happy to help!

Let me know if you make an envelope-style pillow! Thank you so much for following along.

More Pillow Cover DIYs

Click the project links below for more pillow ideas.

Applique Pillow
DIY Pillow with Flange Trim

Paint your Pillows
No-Sew Christmas Pillow Covers

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2 comments on “How to Make a DIY Envelope Pillow Cover

  1. If my pillow is a square that is 19″ on each edge, so front and back finished should be 38″ plus 6″ (what is this 6″ for? – where you have to fold the fabric for the opening?) And I should add extra for seam allowance if I am going to fold 1/4″, and fold again to sew the finished edges? So in total, the front of my pillow is 19″ + 1/2″ seam allowance, and the back of my pillow should be 19″, + 6 inches for folding opening edges, plus 1/2″ seam allowance?

    1. Hi Sandy, For your 19-inch square pillow, your fabric should measure 19″ x 44 inches. The 6 inches is for the overlapping opening. You can certainly add more for the overlap but do not add a seam allowance if you prefer a snug, fitted look for your pillow. 🙂

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