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.