Picture of How to sew an envelope pillow cover!
Pillows need updating?

Don't buy new ones! Just recover them!

I'm about to start recovering an entire couch and in the process of choosing fabrics I decided my pillows needed some updating as well. This is super easy and should take about a half hour per pillow once you get into the swing of things!

Plus, the covers are washable! Yay!
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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 3: How to measure your pillow!

Picture of How to measure your pillow!
This is dead easy if your pillow has a cover.

Covered pillow:
  • take cover off, measure across and down!
  • add an 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.
  • add an inch to each of these measurements!

In this example, I'm using a covered pillow, but the cover is awful bumpy thanks to the cording around the edges. So I took measurements both ways and compared. Better safe than sorry!

My pillow is 18X18, so I'll be adding an inch to that!

NiomiC19 days ago

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

erin.berger1 month 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
paravou4 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