Envelope Pillow Covers – a tutorial

Summer is over but there is no need to cry. :) Fall is here! (Yay!) I love to walk on the streets among yellow, orange, red, brown leaves, acorns and chestnuts that already fell from the trees…

Usually summer weather lasts until October around here but, oh well, not this year. We had to go get our boots, umbrellas and rain coats this last week. The weather is already chilly and inviting for a tea, a blanket, cozy socks, spiced apple cider, pumpkin pie and cinnamon rolls… Humm… I love this season!

If you are anything like me you are already working on some DIY Fall decor for your home. Well, today I bring you a super quick and easy project that will enable you to jazz up your decor in a flash!

Envelope Pillow Covers for Fall Decor – a Tutorial

 

I love the way pillows create a cozy feeling on a home. They can also be an easy (and inexpensive!) way to change-up your decoration style and colors, or to add a seasonal look all over the year. We will go first  through the basic envelope pillow cover construction and then I will share with you a couple of ideas to embellish those pillows.

Supplies

  • pillow form
  • main fabric (I have used a linen blend for these pillows, but you can use quilting cotton, canvas, brushed twill, upholstery fabric…)
  • Fall themed fabric, or fabric with Fall colors print
  • felt or fabric scraps
  • fall themed templates
  • measuring tape, pins, thread, scissors
  • sewing machine

Part 1 – Basic envelope pillow cover

Step 1 – Find your pillow measurements and cut!

Choose a pillow form, grab a measuring tape and take your pillow’s measurements – width + height.

You can cut your fabric two ways but I will focus on the easiest, which is to cut a continuous piece (a rectangle) that will fold on both edges wrapping around the pillow. (The other way is to cut three pieces – one square for the front and two rectangles for the back. I won’t be explaining this one.)

Cut a rectangle of fabric with:

  • width = 2x pillow width + 7” (for hems + overlap)
  • length = pillow length/ height + 1.25” (S.A.)

An example:  The pillow forms I am using for this tutorial are 18”x 18”. So, I need to cut a rectangle with 43” width (18+18+7”) and 19.25” length. Note: This measures are for a snug fit. If you want a loose fit you have to add about 1” more to the width and length measurements.

Step 2 – Hem edges

 

Hem both short ends of the rectangle: fold 1/4” and then again 1”, press and stitch.

Step 3 (optional) – embellish your pillow cover

If you don’t wish to embellish your pillow cover, go ahead to the next step!

If you wish to embellish your pillow cover, jump to Part 2 and then come back to Step 4, to finish it.

Step 4 – Sew the envelope

Fold both edges by bringing them half way to the center line, with right sides together (the front side of the cover is on the inside). Make sure the edges overlap at the center. Pin open (side) edges and sew.

Note: You should finish these two edges now, if you haven’t yet or they will fray. Overlock or finish with a wide zig zag stitch (like length 1 / width 5).

Tip: Simply overlapping both edges is the easiest way to close your envelope, but you can sew a zipper, add a snap tape or use the hems as a button placket to add some cute colorful buttons.

Step 5 – You’re done!

Turn inside out. Make sure to push neatly all corners. Stuff with your pillow form. You have a gorgeous new pillow cover!

 Part 2 – embellish your pillow covers!

The embellishment is made before the pillow cover is closed on the sides – on step 3 above. There are several things you can make to embellish your pillow.

Here are some ideas for turning a simple pillow cover into a Fall themed pillow cover!

1 – Make a pocket with a Fall print fabric

Cut your pocket piece. The length is the same as for the cover piece (for the given example, 21”). The width is about 2/3 of the width of the pillow (for the given example, about 13.5”).

Hem upper edge: Fold upper edge 1/4”. Press. Fold again 1”. Press. Top stitch.

Fold bottom edge 3/4”. I like to press it to create a crease.

Place pocket piece on cover fabric piece, right sides together. First you have to mark the pillow cover’s bottom fold line – I have used a pin (first image) to mark the folding line. Place the pocket piece so the crease will match the folding line on the fabric piece, right sides together, and towards the bottom of the fabric piece. Pin it. Stitch along the crease.

Flap your pocket to its place and press bottom seam (first image). Go to steps 4 and 5 (second and  third images) to close your envelope cover and you’re done!

 2 – Add a Fall themed felt apliqué

Draw, trace or print your chosen Fall motifs for the apliques – leaves, acorn, pumpkin, apple, squirrel, chestnuts, mushrooms, umbrellas…

Cut and stitch to the front part of the fabric piece (either by  top stitching or using a narrow zig zag stitch). You can also use fusible interfacing to place the apliques.

Go to steps 4 and 5 to finish your pillow covers.

 3 – Add a bunting with a Fall colors print

Make eight triangle flags for the bunting. Place them and the ribbon pieces on the main fabric (to the front part). Pin to place. Stitch.

Go to steps 4 and 5 to finish your lovely bunting pillow cover.

This project is so easy that you can make new pillow covers for every season! I made a few last Christmas with a closing zipper at the bottom edge, instead (here). Amy has a great tutorial on how to do it. Check it here!

You can easily find on the internet free templates or silhouettes for making pillow covers apliques for any season or theme you would like – Thanksgiving (search for turkeys, pumpkins, etc.), Christmas (search for xmas trees, ivy, reindeer, wreath, etc.), Valentines day (think hearts!), Easter, beach/ ahoy theme for Summer… The possibilities are endless!

Any questions, please feel free to pop over Made by Sara or send me a note to mail(dot)sarahandmade(at)gmail(dot)com. Oh, and I would love to see your pillow covers so please share!

 

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Happy mom to three amazing kids and wife to (the) one. :) Former scientist and content editor and director, now stay-at-home mom. Sewing addict and passionate about handmade, homemade and heartmade.

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