How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover

Envelope-style pillow covers are open in the back with a flap–like an envelope. Making envelope-style pillow covers is simple and easy. No zippers, buttons or buttonholes. I can quickly change my pillows for each season and holiday–or if I just get bored with the color scheme. Make these covers and just put them over your current throw pillows—saves the expense of buying new pillow forms.

First, measure the pillow that you want to cover. I like the cover tight so I cut the fabric out the same size as the pillow. Most instructions say to make the cover at least 1” bigger on top and side to allow for a ½” seam allowance. In my experience, this makes the pillow cover to big.

To make the envelope closure for the back. Take 2/3’s of the width measurement.

For example. I’m making pillow shams for my bedroom. The pillow that I’m covering is 27” X 19”. 2/3’s of 27” is 18”. I cut two backs—18” x 19”. Cut one front 27” x 19”.

To provide extra stability to my pillows I almost always line the fabric with fleece. Cut fleece the same measurements as the front and 2 backs. Then attach to the wrong sides of the fabric with a little less than a ½” seam allowance. That way this stitching doesn’t show on the finished pillow—saves time from picking those little stitches out that inadvertently show up on the completed project. After sewing on the fleece, trim it to the stitching. (This eliminates some of the bulkiness)

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
Both back pieces lined with fleece and ready to attach to front

I have used piping on these pillow shams. I almost always add piping, a pillow flange, fringe, or some kind of trim. I think it gives the pillow a “finished” look. That little bit of effort makes all the difference.

If using piping, sew it on the front of your pillow, ½” seam allowances. Snip the piping on the corners as you attach it.

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
Front with piping attached

I usually make my own piping which is tedious but much cheaper than buying it already made. Isn’t that what DIY is all about? Since it is so incredibly boring to make piping, I make a lot of off-white denim piping and keep a stockpile for future projects.  I’m not going into detail on how to make piping. There are tons of tutorials on the blogosphere that do a much better explanation than I could. Just do a search on “how to make piping”.

Take the two back pillow pieces. Turn under ½” on one of the 19” sides. Stitch. Then turn this same side under 1”. Stitch. Do the same on the second back piece.

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
Turn raw edge on one of the 19″ sides under 1/2″
How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
Then turn under 1″ and stitch close to edge

Lay the back pillow pieces right side down on right side of front piece as shown in the following pictures.  In this example, I stitched each back piece separately because the fabric is so thick but these two steps can be combined and both backs stitched on at the same time.  Sew together with ½” seam allowance.

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
First back cover placed right sides together
How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
One back piece overlaps the other

Trim corners, turn right side out.

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
This is what the back should look like when turned right side out

Put on pillow form.

How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover
Easy Peasy and Beautiful!


4 thoughts on “How to make an Envelope-Style Pillow Cover

  1. exactly what I needed. Making some pillows for my Grandson. I will keep that percentage in my head for future pillows.

    • Glad you could use the directions! I just made a 24″ square pillow today and used the 2/3’s ratio and it worked!

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