Sewing 101 : Envelope Pillow Tutorial

Basic Envelope Pillow



-Seam Gauge

-Sewing Machine

-Pillow Form

-Measuring tape/Ruler


-Iron/Ironing Board



I know a lot of my friends in real life are amazed when I sew things that I consider very simple. I thought I’d start sharing some easy sewing projects for those of you who are just starting out. Sewing machines are pretty cheaply attainable now a days.

Even Ikea has a basic one for 70$!

 This project is a good starting place, I’m writing it with the intention that you at very least know how to operate the most basic of sewing machine functions (threading, bobbin winding, using the presser foot, and actually sewing). This can also be done sewn by hand, but it won’t look nearly as professional. Either way I think this is a good beginner project. I even added some buttons to mine as you’ll see at the end of the post. I’ll be doing a button hole tutorial a little latter in the week for those of you that are interested.

I tried to be very detailed, let me know if you need any help with the instructions!

Measure your pillow form. I’m using  an older pillow form I picked up from Ikea. They measure 19×19 squared. 

Cut two pieces of fabric based on the size of your pillow form. I added one inch in seam allowances. 

My pillow the front piece is going to measure 20×20.

To cut the back piece add about 8 inches to the length on the back piece. I added less on mine because I’m adding buttons (If you want to add buttons as well, only add four inches). So you’re back piece should measure 20×28.(if you are adding buttons it will be 20×24)

Next cut the longer back piece in half. These will create the envelope section of the pillow. Remember, yours is going to overlap more than mine, so they will look larger (unless you are adding buttons). 

Next fold and press the edge you just cut int the back piece. Using your seam gauge at a 1/2 inch each time. This will hide the raw edge of your fabric on the opening of your pillow. Pin it in place. Do this on both back pieces.

I used the 4/8th seam allowance guide to stitch closely to the edge. Make sure to lower your presser foot before you sew! 

Use the straight stitch on your machine. 

If your machine doesn’t automatically do so, back stitch a few times at the start of your stitching to set the stitch. 

As with all sewing projects it’s best to snip your threads as you go.

You should be left with something like this. Repeat on the other back piece. 

Place front piece of your pillow fabric down, with the print right side up. Take one of you back pieces and match it to the outside corners facing right side down. 

Do the same with the other back piece on the other side.

Remember, you will have more overlap than is shown here. I’m adding buttons to my pillow so I need less overlap, unless you are adding buttons as well. 

Pin all the pieces together. 

Using the same stitch as the back pieces, were going to stitch our pillow together. Using your seam gauge sew a one in seam all around the pillow. Don’t forget to start and inch in as well. 

Stop your stitch about an inch into the corner.

Put your needle in the down position. 

Once the need is down, lift your presser foot. 

Turn the fabric to the next side to be sewn, continuing with your 1 inch seam allowance, sew until you’ve sewn around the entire pillow. Don’t forget to put your presser foot back down once you’ve pivoted on the corners.

Just to double check, this should leave you with a basic pillow case inside out. If for some reason that’s not the case, get your seam ripper out and place the piece correctly, right sides together, and then resew. 

Trim your seam allowance down from the one inch to something much closer to your stitch line.

Now we need to grade our seam allowances. First clip the corner off, close as you can get to the stitches. 

Then you need to clip your seam allowances closer as you get to the corner. This is so we get a nice clean point when we flip the pillow right side out. The extra fabric would make it look a bit lumpy. Repeat on all remaining corner

Using your fingers on the corers start flipping the pillowcase right side out. Press everything so it looks nice and straight.

Put your pillow in through the envelop opening you created in the back! 

Now you have an awesome, easy, handmade pillow case! 

If you wanted to jazz is up a bit more, add some buttons! I’d be doing a tutorial on buttons a little later in the week. Here’s how mine looks! 

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