a pretty cool life.: 10 minute envelope back pillow tutorial

Monday, September 14, 2009

10 minute envelope back pillow tutorial

Edited September 1: addition mistake corrected!

I bought a few of these pillows from IKEA on clearance a couple of years ago. Cute, no?

The colors are perfect for our family rooms, but it didn't take long for me realize why they were on sale. The down inserts constantly have feathers poking through the linen pillow case. Grrrrr... If you've ever tried to cozy up to one of these, you know how aggravating it really is to get a pointy feather in the ear and can understand why I want to just burn the stinkin' things.

But why burn a perfectly good pillow?

Solution: super simple envelope back pillow cases! All it takes is sewing 4 straight lines. No joke, they will not take more than 10 minutes to complete.

So here's what I did...

Cut a piece of fabric that is the width of your pillow, plus 1 inch by double the height of your pillow, plus 6 inches. Did I make that confusing enough? For my 14"x18" pillow, I cut fabric 19" wide x 34" tall. (18" wide + 1" extra = 19" and 14" tall x 2 = 28" 28" + 6" = 34")

Enough math already. After the fabric is cut, hem the short sides. I fold them over a half inch and iron, then fold them over and iron again.

Sew along the ironed hem.

Lay the pillow or pillowcase in the center of the rightside of the fabric and fold the hemmed edges towards the center. 
I make my overlap in the center because it's easier to keep a couch full of pillows uniform. It appeals to my control freak tendencies.

Slide your pillow/pillowcase out. 

Pin.  If you're lucky, your kitty will decide the only place in the house to sit is right in the middle of what you're doing. 

Sew along the pinned edges.

Turn pillowcase rightside out, poke out the corners and stick your pillow in. That's it. Really!

You can make them fancy like Pottery Barn and attach ties or big buttons, but then this would be the 20 minute envelope pillow, and who has that kind of time?


  1. I do not sew, but I think I could give this one a try :)...thanks for the step by step, all I need now is sewing supplies!


  2. 10 minutes for you, quite possibly an eternity for me. They look gorgeous though. Stopping by from SITS to drop some love:)

  3. Great job Great tutorial.
    My blog has been growing so rapidly that I haven't had time to get over for visits, but I was missing all my blog friends and wanted to take some time to come over and see what everyone was creating and say Hi and invite you over for a visit as well.
    Its So Very Cheri

  4. LOVE the fabric!

    Have a great week!♥

  5. I love the pattern of your fabric! This is why I want to learn how to sew, to do cute things like this. Great tutorial.

  6. this would be great if i knew how to sew.

  7. cute cute cute!
    I cover almost all of my feathers in plastic so I don't have that whole 'sleeping with chickens' thing going on.

  8. Popped in from SITS to say hi! Bookmarking this!

  9. Ha! I have those same pillows…..and the same problem. I just love the pillow case though. They go perfectly in my living room. Maybe I can just use your idea to create another inside lining.

  10. Great tutorial! I'm going to have to try this soon. My favorite part is the cat in the middle of your project... my cat does the same thing! God's blessings, Sarah :D

  11. FABULOUS and definitely faster than what I've been doing!

    ~ Sarah

  12. So I've been reading through your archives and found this tutorial. Exactly what I needed to cover the ugly pillows that came with the couch! Except for the fact that I have a problem with ruffles...I have to add them to everything I make...it would have only taken 10 minutes or so. This was a great idea. Thank you!

  13. Found you through your guest post at TT&J. LOVE this idea and hoping to try it out soon. I just bought my first sewing machine and I'm scared to even take it out of the box! Nice to meet a fellow Chicago area blogger! Enjoy the sunshine today!

  14. oh my gosh I recovered that same pillow lolol

  15. Hey-I have a cat and a sewing machine-that must mean that I can make this too;)Beautiful work!!!Thank you for the tutorial!!!Love the blog by the way;)

  16. Yay! A simple and easy tut to follow for a beginner like me. Thanks so much, Im bookmarking this!

  17. Thanks for the tutorial. I can't wait to make some today.

  18. Ok, I want to try this...I have the same size pillow insert that you used...but I have a question: You put (18" wide + 1" extra = 19" and 14" tall x 2 = 28" 28" + 6" = 32") BUT, 28+6 isn't 32...it's 34. Where is the mistake? I just don't want to cut my fabric and it be wrong. Thanks,

  19. That is so funny! They are almost exactly the same. You even called it the same thing. I guess it just goes to show that it really does only take 10-minutes. I am not as original as I thought.

    I wish I would have seen yours before I just sent another tutorial off to be posted on another blog. I could have added a link to yours to show you can do different sizes. I like that your back is more open but does your pillow ever sneak out a little? Cute blog. I will have to stop by again.

  20. You inspired me! Im kind of sick of my brick red pillows and I want something more exciting! Im going to give this a try! Thank you for the super simple instructions!

  21. I'm with allforbladden.

    28+6 = 34

    So, is it double the width and add 4 intentions, or keep with adding six inches?


  22. Add 6 inches...sorry for the horrible math. No wonder I was an English major!

  23. I'm so excited. You have no idea! I've been wanting to learn some simple crafts (and perhaps graduate up to more difficult ones as I conquer the easier ones). I looked and looked at different things online and finally settled on this one. I went to Joann's, picked out some fabric, and voila...I have a new pillow cover. Yay!! I love it! Thanks so much. You have so many fun ideas I'd like to try and now I feel like I might have the confidence to keep pushing forward. Thanks again (and your instructions were really clear and simple to follow)!

  24. I have had this bookmarked for a really long time- trying to get up the courage to make an envelope-back pillow.

    I finally sat down and made it this afternoon. You are my hero- it was so easy! I'll be linking back to you later this week.

    Valerie@Occasionally Crafty

  25. Cool and creative! love the way you turned this pillow into a comfortable and awesome one. Saimply beautiful, eh!

    Peny@surgical instruments

  26. I am NOT a seamstress. But I just tried this and I'm so excited about the results. Thanks for your easy to follow tutorial. :)

  27. Yours is the third tutorial I've looked at and by far, the easiest to follow! It is absolutely as easy as you have demonstrated and I don't even sew! Thank You! Sue

  28. Thanks for the pattern and tut. I made 2 this afternoon and they are wonderful Thanks again

  29. i love love love this, but am terrible at sewing. u think stitch witch would work??! lol

  30. Thank you for your tutorial!! I used it on my blog for all 3 of my followers and linked back here. http://allforoliver.blogspot.com/2012/05/curtains-and-pillows-oh-my.html

  31. Thank you for this - I took your directions downstairs on my iPod touch, and made a gift for my daughter's friend - turned out beautifully! I cut a piece of cardboard in the dimensions of the inner pillow to work out my centering, as I had ironed on/stitched a printed image on the front of the pillow - worked great!

    Linda in PEI

  32. I love it!! This I love all of your posts!! :)


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