How to make an envelope pillow cover

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A step-by-step tutorial on how to make an envelope pillow cover with one piece of fabric, no zippers or buttons, sew only four straight stitches.

Do you feel like you need a change in your home decor, especially in the living room or bedroom? 

Creating an envelope pillow cover is a simple way to decorate your home for any season without a big commitment. And it is an easy sewing project with only one piece of fabric that you can complete in very little time. 

DIY envelope pillow cover

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Envelope Pillow Cover with one piece of fabric


  • fabric
  • thread
  • pillow form


  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • sewing pins
  • seam gauge
  • iron

How much fabric do I need to make envelope pillow covers?

First, we need to talk about how much fabric you need to make your pillow cover. But this will depend on the pillow form that you plan on using. 

SIDE NOTE: The standard throw pillow sizes are 16 “x 16” , 18 “x 18″, and 20″ x 20″. In the example, I am using 16″ x 16”.

Once you have determined the pillow form size you plan on using. Take that size and double the measurement, then add 6″. So for a 16″ pillow, you would have 38″ (16+16+6), which is the length of your fabric.

For the width of the fabric, take the pillow size and add 1″ to allot for a seam allowance. A 16″ pillow would be 17″, making your fabric piece 17″ x 38″.

To make your life a little easier, here is how much fabric you would need for one pillow in the standard pillow sizes (using 44″ or 54″ fabric).

  • 16″ x 16″ – cut 17″ x 38″ – 1/2 yard of fabric
  • 18″ x 18″ – cut 19″ x 42″ – 2/3 yards of fabric
  • 20″ x 20″ – cut 21″ x 46″ -3/4 yards of fabric

How do you make an envelope pillow cover?

Now that you know how much fabric you need to purchase, let’s go through the steps to sew an envelope pillow cover.

STEP 1: Wash your fabric

If you were wondering, should I wash the fabric before sewing the covers? Yes, you should always prewash fabric before cutting and sewing if you ever plan on cleaning it in the future.

So take the time to clean and dry your fabric. 

Then use the iron to get any wrinkles out of the fabric. 

STEP 2: Cut the fabric 

Cut your fabric to size above, but here is a quick reminder: 

  • 16″ pillow – cut at 17″ x 38″ 
  • 18″ pillow – cut at 19″ x 42″ 
  • 20″ pillow – cut at 21″ x 46″

STEP 3: Sew the pillow cover

On both ends, the smaller sides of the fabric, sew a basic double-fold hem.

This type of hem is created by folding the raw edge of your fabric 3/8″ up (wrong sides together), iron.

create double fold hem

Then fold again, 1/2″, and press with an iron.

create a double fold hem

SIDE NOTE: Using a seam gauge makes this easier.

Then topstitch your double hems with a seam allowance of 3/8″ on the right side of the fabric. Remember, you are sewing the hem on both sides.

SIDE NOTE: If you happen to have a surger, surge the other edges to help prevent them from fraying. 

Now it’s time to overlap the fabric to make it an envelope pillow.

Place the right side of the fabric facing up on a flat surface. 

SIDE NOTE: I like to use a cutting mat.

Fold one hem 1/3 across the fabric. Then told the other hem over the last hem until the fabric is the same size as your pillow form (16″).

homemade pillow cover

Pin the raw edges together and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

topstitch pillow cover

Trim the corners of the fabric to help give the pillow a crisp point.

make an envelope pillow cover

Then turn the fabric right side out. 

pineapple pillow cover

You can then decorate your pillow cover or place the pillow form into the pillow cover. 

Interested in more throw pillow covers? Here are some other posts you might enjoy: how to make a zipper pillow cover by Hey There Home | 10-minute buttoned DIY pillow cover by Little Red Window

Or you will love these other home decor projects of ours:

And don’t forget you can see before and afters in our full house tour by clicking HERE.

how to make an envelope pillow cover
Yield: one pillow cover

Make an envelope pillow cover with one piece of fabric

DIY envelope pillow cover

An easy tutorial on how to make an envelope pillow cover with one piece of fabric, no zippers or buttons, you only have to sew four straight stitches.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $20


  • fabric
  • thread
  • pillow form


  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • sewing pins
  • seam gauge
  • iron


  1. Wash the fabric
  2. Cut the fabric to pillow size.
  3. Create a double-fold hem on smaller ends of cut fabric.
  4. Overlap the fabric to give you the size of the pillow form, pin, and sew a 1/2" seam.
  5. Trim corners then turn fabric right side out. Then insert the pillow form into the pillow cover and enjoy!
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