How To: Sew an Envelope-Back Pillow

How To: Sew an Envelope-Back Pillow

Gregory Han
Apr 23, 2009

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Nothing cozies up a room like a stylish pillow, but we have to admit we have a tendency to get bored with ours after a while. So we like to sew our own removable pillow covers, which are easy to pop in the wash or switch out when we need a change. The most recent pillow we've made uses a fun chocolate-colored woodgrain fabric topped with a thrifted doily. Read on to find out  how to make your own!

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 yard of medium-weight, 54" wide cotton fabric (We used a faux bois print from Home Ec.)
  • Lace Doily
  • Coordinating thread and a needle
  • 18" square pillowform


  1. Cut the following pieces from the fabric: One 18" x 18" square, plus two 12 1/2" x 18" rectangles. If you'd like, stitch around all edges of these pieces with a zig-zag stitch to help keeping the edges from fraying.

  2. Pin the doily to the center of the 18" square. Hand-stitch the doily to the fabric, starting from the wrong side of the fabric. It's best to concentrate your stitches in thicker areas of the doily, to help hide the thread. Be sure to secure the center as well as the outer edges of the doily.

  3. Take one of the rectangles you cut and fold one long edge over 1/2 and press flat with an iron. Pin it in place and stitch down the fold, sewing about 1/4" in from the folded edge. Repeat with the second rectangle.

  4. Lay the 18" square right-side up, then place the rectangles right-side down on top of the square with the folded and stitched edges overlapping in the middle. Pin around all edges.

  5. Sew around all edges of the pillow with a 3/8" seam allowance, backstitching in the corners for strength.

  6. Turn the pillow cover right side out and press seams flat. Insert your pillow form and enjoy!

And be sure to check out Jenny's DIY project last week, How To: Make Over a Lamp

Jenny Ryan is the recent author of Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish and also and is also co-owner of the Home Ec. Department at Reform School.

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