How to Make an Envelope Pillow

I first saw this quick and easy to make pillow slipcover technique on BBC America’s fabulous DIY make over show "Changing Rooms" three or four years ago. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

What You Need

  • A pillow form or old pillow you no longer love
  • Fabric one inch wider and 2 ½ times longer than your pillow’s dimensions
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • A sewing machine, although you could get by with hand stitching in a pinch

(Before we go on, a note about sewing machines. Any Martha-wanna-be really does need a sewing machine. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive machine to start out. Something that sews a straight line and a zig-zag stitch will suffice. Sewing machines are kind of like cars, as far as I’m concerned. If possible, take them for a test drive, and use all their options before you buy.)

What You Need to Do

1.Cut the width of your fabric to the size of your pillow plus one inch to allow for ½ inch seam allowances. Next, cut your length at 2 and ½ times the length of your pillow. (In the example, my pillow is 13 inches square. So I cut my fabric at (13 +1) 14 inches wide by (13 x 2 ½) 32 ½ inches long.

2.With right side of fabric facing you, fold bottom of fabric up about 1/3 as shown. Then fold that raw edge back about 1/3 as shown.

3. Next, fold the top of your fabric down, covering the fold you made in step 2. Pin raw edges.

4. Sew raw edges, using ½ seam allowances.

5. Turn pillow slipcover inside out.

6. Stuff ugly pillow or pillow form into new, pretty slipcover.

7. You can be done after step 6, or you can add decorative buttons to the opening of the pillow slipcover as shown.

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christine on Jul 24, 2012:

can reply through my email address...txs

christine on Jul 24, 2012:

I have interest in pillow making  of all sort for a living...being surfing the net and stumbled unto u,can you be of help to me on how to start off?


DIY Maven on Mar 05, 2012:

@Amanda--sounds like your measurements or seam allowances were off a bit, but that's an easy fix. Just take the slipcover back off the pillow and put another seam on all four sides to take the pillow cover 'in'. Sewing all four sides ensures the opening stay centered in the back. 

Amanda Nowak on Mar 04, 2012:

Tried it. Mine looks baggy on the pillow, like hand me downs from your sister that don't fit yet. 

Heather on Feb 24, 2012:

Made 2 today...thanks for the clear instructions. : )

DIY Maven on Jan 03, 2011:

@lis g. You're welcome!!!

lis g. on Jan 03, 2011:

thank you!

DIY Maven on Mar 30, 2010:

Ruth-That's great! Tell her congrats from me.

Ruth on Mar 29, 2010:

My 10yr old daughter just made a pillow case for her bedroom from these instructions, it doesn't get better than that. Thank you.

Courtney on Nov 30, 2009:

Thank You!  This was the easiest and best instructions for pillow slipcovers I found.  Turned out perfect.


DIY Maven on Jun 25, 2008:

TSterl--Thank you! And by all means, link away!

TSterl on Jun 24, 2008:

I have been sewing all my life, and this is absolutely the most simple, succinct demo on how to do a pillow! I want to link it to my eco-home products blog: www.glasshouseliving.blogspot.com! bravo!

Stefan Hunter on Nov 17, 2007:

Nice quick how to story :-) If it turns out that you do not have an old pillow form to use I'd like to recommend http:///www.piloh.com for an assortment of down and feather pillow forms made in the States.



jasimar on Feb 09, 2007:

Very good.  I likes.

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