Did you know you can make pillow covers without a zipper?  Did you know you can make a pillow that has only two side seams?

I have been making my own pillow covers for years.  I generally don’t believe in buying pillow covers.  You can often make them for significantly less than what they cost to buy.   I like to think I have perfected my technique for simple envelope pillow covers.  With my two-seam version, you get the benefit of the fabric pattern continuously wrapping around the pillow with no seam on top or bottom.

I am going to show you how I made the red pillows for my modern americana family room.  They took less than 15 minutes each and cost less then $10 for the pair.

DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

How To Envelope Pillow Covers:

1.  Cut your fabric to size.  For an 18 x 18 inch pillow, cut a rectangle 18.5 inches by at least 44 inches.  This will result in a 6 inch overlap for the envelope on the back of the pillow.  Overtime I have come to prefer a larger overlap for my envelope, so I cut my fabric 18.5 x 54 inches.  I basically used the full width of the fabric.  My method results in a 16 inch overlap.  It is a bit tricky to get the pillow insert in, but there is absolutely no gapping at the opening on the back of the pillow.

2.  Hem both short edges of the fabric.  Fold the fabric over 1/2 inch and then over again another 1/2 inch.  Iron and stitch.

3.  With fabric right side up, fold over one side toward the center.  For the 6 inch overlap, make the fold about 12″ from the hemmed edge.  For the larger 16 inch overlap, make the fold 16 inches from the hemmed edge.

DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

4.  Now fold over the other side, so the resultant folded fabric measures 18 by 18.5 inches.  The easiest way I have found to do this is to use a yard stick.  Lay the yard stick on the fabric and line up the 18 inch mark on the fold.  Fold the other side of the fabric over the yardstick.  Slide the yardstick along to make sure your fold is even.

DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

5.  Just two seams left.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along each side of the folded fabric.  I prefer to use my serger for the side seams.  You could also use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine.  Or simply sew and then trim the seam with pinking shears.

DIY Envelope Pillow Covers

6.  Turn the pillow cover inside out.  You will have a perfect 18 inch square pillow cover with an envelope closure on the back.

7.  Stuff the cover with your 18 inch pillow insert.  Stuff it through the envelope opening and then push it under the inside flap.  This is a little trickier with a larger inside flap, but just keep stuffing.  Fluff the pillow and you are done.

Pillow Cover in 15 minutes and Under $5

Once you get the hang of it, you can make a pillow cover in 15 minutes and for $5 or less.  The fabric I chose for these pillow covers is the Twirly Red Indoor/Outdoor fabric that I found for $9.99 per yard on sale.  I was able to make two pillow covers  from one yard, for a cost of $5 per pillow cover.  With the savings, I splurged on nice down pillow inserts.

Moroccan Trellis Rug

I also bought the awesome turquoise oversized chevron pillow covers shown above.  Why would I buy pillow covers when I can make them?

  • Lack of time.  Yes, I sometimes pay for convenience.  I know they only take 15 minutes to make, but remember I work full-time and blog a lot.  Four pillows would take an hour I just don’t have.  So I made half and bought half.
  • Beautiful fabric I cannot find on my own
  • Support a handmade business.  Etsy is a great place to find handmade and relatively inexpensive pillow covers allowing you to support a handmade business.  You get homemade pillows without lifting a finger.

Sharing this project on:
Tatertots and Jello
Blue Cricket Design
House of Hepworths



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24 Responses to Two-Seam Envelope Pillow Covers

  1. Marie says:

    I would love to see a shot of the back of the pillow stuffed. I can’t seem to visualize how the flap should look.

  2. I love the pillows, what a great tutorial…but where did you get that rug?!

  3. Brenda says:

    Hi Jackie, I’ve been following your blog for about a month now and have to commend you for such great ideas! BTW, where do you purchase your down pillow inserts?

    • Jackie says:

      Hi Brenda. So glad you have been following. I have had pretty bad experiences with pillow inserts in the past. I always bought the ones at the craft store and they go flat so fast. This time I wanted good quality and down. I ordered them from Etsy seller Nenavon. I think the price was reasonable and she gives a discount if you buy four or more. The pillows are holding their shape really well with a little fluffing here and there. I would definitely order them again.

  4. Crafty Teacher Lady says:

    Too funny! I just spent last weekend making 5 pillow covers WITH zippers! I’ll have to try your tutorial next!


  5. How did you know? I came home with SIX beautiful fabrics today, with the intention of making new pillows… yet I had not quite figured out how I was going to go about making an envelope for them! Seriously! Thanks for the how-to!

  6. Shauna says:

    Just discovered your blog through YHL–you’ve got a beautiful home and great DIY ideas that I will follow. I particularly enjoyed the mudroom visit! A bientôt…

  7. Marsha says:

    I have made envelope pillow covers before. Very easy. I especially like that you can take them on & off to wash as needed. I recently bought another curtain panel the same as I have hanging & two travel size pillows to make pillow covers. I already have store bought pillows so I wanted something coordinating & different size & shape.

  8. Lori says:

    Oh my, this looks so easy… even for a novice like myself. I might try it with some cheap fabric first, because I’m terrible with measuring and numbers. :-)

  9. Casandra says:

    Great project and you make it look easy! Can’t believe I bought that same red & white fabric in clearance section for $5 a yard just a few weeks ago! I washed it a few times to soften it up and made a tote bag. I will probably post it next week. Stop by and check it out! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Do you make these and sell them as well?

    • Jackie says:


      I used to make an sell pillow covers. Sometime I would like to open a shop again and use my own fabric designs for the pillow covers.

  11. kristen @ livinlifeinlouie says:

    i really want to try this! also I love the rug, where did you get it?

  12. Lisa says:

    OH MY! I can’t believe I ran across this post. We are currently closing in a garage to make a large teen/family hang out room. I NEED a sofa JUST LIKE THAT. Can you share the manufacturer or hopefully the (chain) furniture store from where you purchased this one. These are exactly the colors I plan to use…grays with brights.

    • Jackie says:

      Hi Lisa. The couch is the 101″ Andre from Room and Board. We actually found ours at their outlet in Minneapolis. Good luck with your teen hangout!!

  13. Kara says:

    These turned out so gorgeous! I love how the bright colors just pop off the couch and grab your attention. I loved them so much, I featured them in my pillow makeover roundup at Nest Candy!


    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Kara. That is a great roundup with several covers I have never seen before. Love the no-see knotted pillow.

  14. Sari says:

    Please do a video!!!! OH PLEASE, oh please!
    Thank you and email me a link!

  15. Jen says:

    Enjoyed making these. This is an excellent beginner project that is probably even easier to start a beginner on than the sausage pillow case that I started to learn to sew with. I loved being able to finish something in one night and make something that looks professional while still having somewhat limited sewing skills. I do have a serger so I serged the short edges and folded them over only once instead of twice as I couldn’t see what was wrong with doing that and then I also basted my sides down on my regular sewing machine before serging because serging has a knife and is final so if you are a bit lacking in sewing skill it is safer to do it this way. I was able to test it on my pillow form after basting before making the seams final with my serger. I used the basting stitch line to guide me when serging so that my serged edges stayed straight. I ended up doing a 7″ overlap and seems fine to me. I don’t know if how thick your fabric is affects how much overlap is best, but I think it looks fine on the envelope side the way I did it. I used a heavy chenille home decor/upholstery type fabric.

  16. Adrienne says:

    I have never used a sewing machine in my life, and it was my goal to use the one handed down to me this summer. I followed your video tutorial for envelope pillow covers and it came out beautiful!! Thank you for your step by step instructions.

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