Free Tutorial – Make an Envelope Back for your Pillow

I really enjoy making throw pillow covers that I can remove and easily wash.  You will find a lot of seasonal quilted pillow covers in my house, they are a quick project and I get to see something from my efforts pretty quickly.  I have found that an envelope style back allows me to slip them on the pillow forms without any buttons or velcro.

The fronts of the pillows are pieced and quilted with a binding finish.

It doesn’t matter the size of the pillow, I make an envelope back.  The shots above are from my Nautical Bench pillow.

Flip them over to the back and you can see has the overlapping envelope back.

Here are my recent pillows for my son’s tiny house.  The envelope back means he can just pull them off and wash them.

This is just a great way to brighten up your decor by just changing out your pillow or cushion covers.

Here is how I create my Envelope backs.

I have found that there are two ways to make your pillow cover with the envelope back.  My favorite style is to finish the edges of the pillow with a binding.  The other style just involves sewing around the front and back with a seam on the inside of the pillow.  The pictures I have show mostly the binding edge style.  For the envelope back, I like to overlap top to bottom and my diagrams will reflect that.  You mix it up however you like them.

Determine how large to make the pieces for the Envelope.

  1. Measure your pillow’s width and length to start.
    • We are going to cut two pieces and use one for each side of the envelope.  I use a piece of fabric folded in half.  Here is how to figure out what size of rectangle is needed for the two envelope pieces.  This assumes we are overlapping top to bottom.  I like it to overlap at least 2 – 2.5″ on each side of the center and that is why we are adding the extra 5″.
  2. For the width of the two pieces, use the width of your pillow + 1″
  3. For the length of the envelope, use the length of your pillow + 5″.
  4. For example, we will use 18″ x 18″ pillow.
    • For the width, use  18″ + 1″ = 19″
    • For the length, use 18″ + 5″ = 23″
  5. You will then cut two rectangle pieces 19″ x 23″.

Prepare the Pillow Envelope backs

  1. Fold the envelope rectangles in half crosswise, wrong sides facing, keeping the width and press.
  2. Add interfacing inside the fold.
    • I like to take a 1 inch strip of medium weight interfacing and nestle it into the fold and press it in.
  3. Topstitch about 3/8″  to 1/2″ away from the fold to hold it in place.
    • This will help keep this edge from wrinkling in the wash.pillow-back
  4. Overlap the pressed folded edges making a square the same size as the pillow top.
    • Make sure they are overlapped top to bottom how you want them to show on the outside of the pillow.
  5. Baste the overlapped edges to hold in place about 1/8″ from the edges of the overlap.

Finish the Pillow Cover

Style 1 – Bind the Edges of the Cover

  1. Place the quilted pillow top and the overlapped backing together with wrong sides facing.  Baste around the pillow top 1/8: from the outer edge.
  2. Stitch your binding in place and complete binding using your favorite method.
  3. Slip your pillow form inside.

Style 2 – Sew Seam inside the Pillow Cover

  1. Place the quilted pillow top and the overlapped backing together with right sides facing.
  2. Stitch around the outer edge with 1/4″ seam allowance.
  3. Turn the Cover right side out using the opening in the overlapped envelope back.
  4. Slip your pillow form inside.

I hope these directions help you make lots of fun quilted pillow covers!

Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lorimillerdesigns, I would love to see what you have created.

Free Tutorial – Lucky Shamrock Pillows

I am feeling lucky!  I have two new lovely Shamrock Pillows to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day all designed with EQ Mini Quilt Design Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  For these pillows I used the pieced Shamrock quilt block, but used two different sizes and some sashing.  These pillows finish at 18″ square.  I used my favorite technique which is to quilt the top and use an envelope back and then bind all around the pillow.  Then I just have a bunch of pillow covers that I can change out with my very neutral grey couch.  I love it!


EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.

Lucky Shamrock Pillows

Finished size is 18″ square


  • 1/2 yd green plaid
  • 1/2 yd linen for background
  • 1  1/2 yd shamrock print
  • 5/8 yd muslin
  • 5/8 yd batting


Cut Fabric:

Green Plaid

  • 4 — 7 1/2″ squares (A)
  • 16 — 3 1/2″ x squares (E)
  • 4 — 2 1/2″ x  WOF strips for binding


  • 12 — 2 1/2″ x squares (B)
  • 5 — 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ strips (C)
  • 4 — 2 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ strips (D)
  • 48 — 1 1/2″ squares (F)
  • 2 — 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ strips (G)

Shamrock Print

  • 4 — 18 1/2″ x 24″ rectangles


  • 2 — 19″ squares


  •  2 — 19″ squares


Piece the large Shamrock Pillow

  1. Place a 2 1/2″ linen square (B) on a corner of a large shamrock leaf (A).  Sew a diagonal corner.  Mark a diagonal line onto the wrong side of the square with a pencil or water soluble marker.  With right sides together (RST), stitch the square onto the leaf on the marked diagonal line. Trim the excess to a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press seam to the darker fabric side.
  2. Sew a diagonal corner to 3 of the corners on each of the four large shamrock leaves.
  3. Sew the four leaves together to form the shamrock matching the seams.
  4. Add the outside border by sewing two 14 1/2″ linen strips (C) to the side of the shamrock.  Sew two 18 1/2″ linen strips (d) to the top and bottom of the shamrock.  Set aside.


Piece the smaller shamrocks pillow

  1. Place a 1 1/2″ linen square (F) on a corner of a small shamrock leaf (E).  Sew a diagonal corner using the same instructions as for the larger shamrock.
  2. Sew a diagonal corner on 3  corners of each small shamrock leaf (16 total leaves)
  3. Sew four leaves together as shown to form a shamrock matching the seams.  Repeat for the other 3 small shamrocks.
  4. Sew the sashing.  Stitch a 6 1/2″ linen strip (G) between two small shamrocks.  Repeat for remaining two small shamrocks.
  5. Sew a 14 1/2″ linen strip (C) in the center of the pillow to join the two shamrock panels.  Sew a 14 1/2″ linen strip (C) to each side of the shamrocks.
  6. Sew an 18 1/2″ linen strip (D) to the top and bottom of the pillow.

Hint: If you used linen, baste very close to the outside edge of the pillow top to keep the linen from fraying.

Quilt the top side of the pillows

  1. Layer pillow top with the muslin, batting and pillow top, right side up.
  2. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  3. Quilt as desired.  Trim quilted pillow top to 18 1/2″ square.

Note:  I found this Celtic Shamrock design for a tattoo on the internet, it had a nice continuous design I could adapt for the quilting.  Inspiration comes from all sorts of places!

Here is the beginning of the design.

Here you can see the design on one of the little shamrocks.

And here is the design on the shamrocks with the detail on the linen as well.  The texture crinkled so well after washing.

Finish the Pillow

  1. Fold each 18 1/2″ x 24″ rectangle in half, wrong sides together, to form four 12″ x 18 1/2″ rectangles. Press.
  2. Top stitch along the folded edge of the pillow about 1/2″ away from the fold.
  3. Place the quilted pillow top, right side down.
  4. Place two folded rectangles over each pillow, overlapping the folded edges in the center by about 4″.
  5. Baste 1/8″ along the outside of the layers.
  6. Bind with the green plaid binding strips.
  7. Insert a pillow form through the opening.

.shamrock-pillow-2   shamrock-pillow-1

Here are pictures from EQ Mini of my quilt design.

Show me pictures of your lucky pillows!  Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lorimillerdesigns

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them HERE!

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ Mini, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ Mini Friday Fun.

For more information on EQ Mini software, go to EQ Mini.