Picture of How to sew an envelope pillow cover

We recently got a new couch and decided to cover some pillows to make it a little more comfortable. I bought two pillow forms from IKEA and decided to make some envelope pillow covers. Envelope pillow covers are my favorite - they fit well, look great, and sew up very quickly. :D

This is super easy and should take about a half hour per envelope pillow cover once you get into the swing of things.

Plus, these envelope pillow covers are washable! Yay!

Want to make a zippered pillow cover? I have an instructable for that too!

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Step 1: Before you start

Picture of Before you start

Some words of caution:
If you plan to wash this pillow cover, wash the fabric beforehand in the way you normally wash. Otherwise, the unwashed sewn fabric can shrink in a hot wash or dryer later and cause seam rippage.

If you're in a hurry to get started, make sure to at least steam press your fabric.

You'll just need to wash it normally and hang it out to dry later! This will keep your pillow cover in nice shape. :D

Step 2: What you'll need...

Picture of What you'll need...
  • 1/2-1 yard of fabric. (I am estimating because I don't know how big your pillow is. We'll talk about that on the next step!)
  • matching thread
  • scissors (pinking shears will work perfectly!)
  • pen/pencil for marking
  • ruler of some sort
  • sewing machine
  • iron & board
  • measuring tape
  • sewing pins

And that's it! Pinking shears are awesome but not necessary.

Step 3: How to measure for the cover

Picture of How to measure for the cover

This is dead easy if your pillow has a cover.

Covered pillow:

  • take cover off, measure across and down
  • add one inch to each of these measurements

Uncovered pillow or pillow form:

  • use your measuring tape to conform to the curve of the pillow and take the measurements from seam to seam
  • add one inch to each of these measurements!

In this instructable, I'm covering a 16x26 inch pillow, so I'd consider my measurements to be 17x27.

We'll be cutting out three pieces all together, one for the front and two for the back. Many other tutorials just have you cut one long piece, but the I believe the extra seams make for a better fitting pillow. :)

KellyA5 made it!5 days ago

I just made a square one! I had to test out my new sewing machine. :) Nice and easy instructions. Thanks!

basaseg3 months ago
basaseg basaseg3 months ago

im trying to make one

Easy to follow directions. Whipped up a couple of pillows in one evening. I used pillow form in mine. Easy to get in and easy to take off to laundry.

sweetgrass2253 months ago

I want to cover my couch cushions, I hope that it will work for that as well. On my leather couch, the seat cushions are getting dirty so I want to make washable covers to put on them

jessyratfink (author)  sweetgrass2253 months ago

Square cushion covers might work better! You can modify this dog bed pattern to make them. :D

Here's a ible showing how to I re-covered my old couch using that method:

Thank you very much for helping me, I do not know how to sew so this should be interesting.
jessyratfink (author)  sweetgrass2253 months ago

You can do it!! It's all straight lines, really. :)

Let me know if you get stuck on anything in particular and I'll try to help!

mikeasaurus3 months ago

Those look amazing. I think I need new covers for my pillows now!

NiomiC4 months ago

Thank you for the excellent instructions. So easy to follow and worked perfectly.

erin.berger5 months ago

This is the first tutorial I found that was clear, thank you!!

Jessie, Thank you for the very good instructions. I had 30 inch European pillows and have been wanting to make cases for them. Your instructions were perfect and I did deduct 1 inch to make the cover tight. It worked perfectly! I didn't have enough fabric for the whole cover so I used blue and white ticking fabric for the back and blue and white buffalo check for the front. My pictures are on my tablet and I am not sure how to get them on here. Sorry. Thanks Again! Karen

Good work...
maxcarroll4 years ago
jessyratfink (author)  maxcarroll4 years ago
Oooooh! I love the print! They look fantastic! :D
paravou5 years ago
I took a long rectangle piece of fabric and just overlapped the selvages and serged down both sides. Your idea is good if you want to add a trim around the edge. I like it, simple and you can slip the cover off for cleaning.
You rock! Thanks!!!
Doctor What6 years ago
PINK IRON! How very dare you.
jessyratfink (author)  Doctor What6 years ago
It's cute and dangerous! :D
Goodhart6 years ago
I agree with Nacho, quite nice. Question, have you ever tried to simple double the length of the piece of fabric (plus an inch or so) and then just fold it over, eliminating one edge to sew?
jessyratfink (author)  Goodhart6 years ago
I have - but without those side seams it can lack structure and look really frumpy. :) Plus, it can be a lot harder to keep everything pressed and measured throughout the process. :P
Ok, I was looking for your experience in that, which is why I asked instead of stating ;-) IIRC, the fold method was taught me in middle school, during my semester of Home Ec, when we did Gym bags. The heavier material might have helped however in keeping it even. Thanks...
NachoMahma6 years ago
. Very nice.
jessyratfink (author)  NachoMahma6 years ago
Thank you sir. :D