Hello Making Life readers! Welcome to a new year!
Today we’re going to be talking about how to make an envelope pillowcase. Using this design, you can make an envelope pillow cover that will fit any size pillow. The formula for how to figure it out will always be the same so that makes things easy!
The beauty of an envelope pillowcase is that you can remove the pillowcase, but the inside pillow can’t be visible (unlike a standard pillowcase). It’s easy to sew and you don’t need to know how to sew a zipper. It’s a really wonderful little project that you can put together quickly.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
What You Need to Make an Envelope Pillowcase
The majority of the things you’ll need to make an envelope pillowcase will already be at your disposal if you’re a sewer (sewist? seamstress? seamster?)
- Fabric of choice – I used muslin fabric I found at JoAnn Fabrics. It was a simple cream color and easy to work with.
- Fabric scissors
- Rotary cutter – I like to use a rotary cutter when I cut straight lights of fabric
- Grid ruler
- Cloth ruler (not pictured)
- Pincushion (there are some really cute ones on Etsy)
- Thread – I like to use Gutermann thread because it’s higher quality and seems to do better in my sewing machine, but you can use whatever works best for you and your machine.
- Cutting mat – This is optional. If you’re using scissors instead of a rotary cutter, you won’t need a cutting mat.
- Ironing board
- Sewing machine
Step #1 Iron Your Fabric
Just as I had mentioned in my how to sew a pillow guide, my iron was no longer working well and all of my fabric continued to look like I did not iron it. I ask for your continued patience as I had a couple of less-than-professional moments during this project.
At any rate, it’s always a good idea to iron your fabric before you do anything else. It makes it easier to cut and it’s better for presentation.
Step #2 Cut Out Your Pieces
There are several ways to make an envelope pillowcase. The way I’m showing you requires three separate pieces that you will sew together. The two back pieces will cross over each other to create a pocket for the pillow and keep it safe and secure in the pillowcase.
To figure out how to cut out the pieces, you have to first measure your pillow. This concept will work with whatever size pillow you have, so long as you have enough fabric to cover it.
Let’s say my pillow is 16 x 16. (I think mine was actually 16×17 in the end, but we’ll make our numbers easier by making it have equal sides.)
Your front pieces of fabric should be one inch larger than the size of your pillow form. So you will cut a piece of fabric that’s 17×17.
If your pillow is 12×12, you would cut out a piece of fabric that’s 13×13.
You cut your fabric one inch larger than the pillow to account for your seam allowance. I’m using a half-inch seam allowance which makes the math really simple. If you use a half-inch seam, you’ll lose half an inch of fabric on each side which accounts for the inch total increase. You want your pillow to fit very snuggly in the pillowcase, so your pillowcase is going to be roughly the same size as your pillow.
(Note: If you wanted to use 1/4 seam allowances, you would add half an inch to the size of your pillowcase.)
How to Figure Out the Back Panels of the Envelope Pillowcase
The back panel of the pillowcase is two overlapping pieces of fabric. Here’s where you’ll use a tiny bit of math, but don’t worry even non-mathy people like me can handle it.
Our pillow is 16×16. The height of your back pieces is going to be same as the front piece (17 inches). The width is height divided by 2 plus three inches. The formula would be H÷2+3 = your measurement.
In our case, it’s:
17÷2 = 8.5
The back pieces of your fabric will then be 17×11.5 and your single front piece is 17×17.
I think the rotary cutter, grid ruler, and cutting mat work best for cutting out these straight lines.
Step #3: Hemming the Back Panels
The next step is to hem your back panels. Take your two pieces and fold over a 1/4 inch hem down the height of the pieces. Iron the hem in place and then fold 1/4 again and iron once more. This will make a nice crisp hem for you to sew on your sewing machine. If you’re using a fabric with a wrong side and a right side, make sure you’re folding your hem towards the wrong side.
Pin the hem in place.
Sew the hem in place. Your two pieces will look like this when finished. (Ordinarily, you would use a coordinating thread to match the fabric, but I wanted the pink to show through on this.)
Step #4: Pin and Sew the Envelope Pillow Case
Now that you have all of your panels read, it’s time to pin them together and sew them. If you’re using a fabric with a right side and a wrong side, you will put them together right sides together. Notice your back panels will be overlapping in the back. The hems will also be folded side *out.* That’s exactly what you want!
Sew completely around the pillowcase with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Make sure to do a backstitch at the beginning, and I like to do a little backstitch at the end of each corner as well. To turn at the corners, lower your needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the pillowcase so you’re ready to sew down the next side.
Once you’ve finished sewing along all the edges, do a backstitch, and cut your thread.
You could be done sewing at this time, but in order to make the pillowcase last longer, it’s a good idea to sew around the sides one more time using a serger. This will help reduce any kind of splitting or fraying in the future. I don’t have a serger, so I went around the whole thing with the old zig-zag stitch.
At this point, you can flip your pillow cover right side out and put your pillow inside! You’ve finished!
And there you have it… one lovely envelope pillowcase that you can use to spruce up an old throw pillow, or use to cover a pillow form that you made.
Still, this pillow cover is a bit plain, which is why you should stay tuned for how to decorate this envelope pillow cover with a Cricut or another vinyl cutting machine!
Stay tuned and until then, keep making!