Envelope Closure Modification for the Pocket Pillow Pal

When the Pocket Pillow Pal released, I knew it would be a hit with kids and sewists alike! I mean, who could resist a cute looking pillow that is comfortable and serves a purpose (holding all the PJs or books or special treasures)?! The number of options and the customizable templates lets imaginations run wild!

Here’s my daughter’s sketch of the Pocket Pillow Pal she wanted! Scroll to the end of the post to see the finished product!

While the zipper installation instructions and illustrations are very clear (even for first time zipper projects), I felt like it would be fun to modify the pattern just a bit to feature an envelope style closure. An envelope closure means that the top and bottom panels will overlap slightly; this also means no zipper!! This simple modification makes storing PJs and treasures very accessible for little kids or to those with fine motor challenges. It also makes this project sew up even faster!

Prepare Your Pieces

First, start by printing and cutting your pattern. DO NOT CUT YOUR FABRIC YET! Just as when you alter garment patterns to adjust for height, we have to adjust the pattern pieces before we cut into the fabric. The only pieces that need adjustments are the Upper Pocket and Lower Pocket pieces.

A 2″ overlap on the back of the pillow is ideal. To lengthen patterns (this works for garments also), tape a piece of paper to the back of the pieces being altered, having the paper extend beyond the edge of the pattern piece. For the Upper Pocket, the lower edge of the pattern is being adjusted; for the Lower pocket, the upper edge of the pattern is being adjusted. If this is confusing, just think about where the zipper would normally go!

For my modification, I added 3″ to the bottom of the Upper Pocket piece and .5″ to the top edge of the Lower Pocket piece. My adjustments are indicated with the yellow paper. Now it’s time to cut your fabric! Note that this adjustment does not require any additional fabric. I was able to cut my pieces based on the yardage chart in the pattern. Also, interfacing is not needed for this modification.

Sewing the Back Pocket Pieces

Follow the pattern instructions as written until you reach Step 21. Steps 21-25 are replaced with the following steps.

Take the Upper and Lower Pocket panels and fold the extended edges over 1″ to the wrong side and topstitch in place. Next, lay both pocket pieces face up.

Place the Upper Pocket on top of the Lower Pocket, overlapping the newly hemmed edges by 2″. Pin the overlapped portions along the raw edges. Double check to make sure that the new back panel is the same height as the front Pillow Panel. Make any minor adjustments now and then baste the overlapped edges in place.

And that’s it! You made a new envelope closure to the Pocket Pillow Pal! Continue sewing the pattern starting with Step 26.

Share your modified Pocket Pillow Pals with us in our Facebook Group or on Instagram!

Happy Sewing!

3 Responses

  1. I enjoyed making 5 – 1 each for my grandchildren last week for Christmas and if I had’ve done this clever way, it would’ve made it even quicker and easier, and especially for the 2 x 1 year olds. I made the pig, unicorn, bear, cow and dinosaur. Thank you this lovely pattern and hack.

  2. This is a fabulous hack!! Thank you so much for writing this up x
    I B was also wondering about using a pillow insert instead of stuffing, do you mind sharing what size pillow you used as the design is not square. Or did you make your own insert?

  3. I made my first pocket pillow pal today and was wondering if there was an easier way as zippers are a pain and expensive. (I was in a time crunch and didn’t have time to do much thinking on it today) Can’t wait to try your envelope closure! Thank you.

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