Easy Envelope Pillows

Did I tell you I finished reupholstering the black and white settee? I love it. The pillows are recent additions too that I whipped together at the same time, while I had the sewing machine out.

I used this silk watercolor fabric from the Brunschwig sample sale that I scored for $3 and the fabric from the other pillow was seen here. I love how they look together above!

Because I’m not the hugest fan of sewing in zippers, over the years I’ve come close to perfecting the art of the 10-minute envelope pillow. It’s so easy! If you know how to sew a straight line, you can make this pillow fast. Here’s the down and dirty:

1) For a standard 20″ pillow (which works great with these $7 down inserts from IKEA, or these $14 favorites from Crate and Barrel), cut out a 20×44″ piece of fabric. I cut out two pieces so I could make a pair of pillows easily at the same time.

2) On just the 20″ wide ends, fold over the fabric about 1/2″ and iron down. If you want to prevent any chance of messy-looking fringing, where your threads start pulling out, you can roll under the edge a little or you can serge or use a zigzag stich to bind the edges. It’s not a necessary step though.

2) Sew a line down your pressed edge. (Both edges)

3) Now that both the top and bottom edges are sewn, fold your fabric like an envelope. Note that your fabric should be right-side in.

The total length of the envelope should be 19″. I always sew my pillows to be an inch shorter than my insert size. I like my covers a little more taut than baggy.

4) Put in a couple straight pins to keep all the layers in place. To make it really easy to pull the pins while you’re sewing always place them so the head is nearest the edge.

5) Sew a line down both edges and then snip off the fabric behind the seam on the very corners. This prevents bunching.

6) Home stretch!! Just flip the pillow right-side out and then press everything down.

I made five pillows in less than an hour for the shoot. If you’re making one – you might as well make five! :)

Pretty photos taken by Nicole Franzen, styled by Kendra Smoot.
  1. Martha

    Just yesterday I followed a much more complicated tutorial for this same type of pillow! It took me 2 hours. It was my first pillow sewing project so that might have been part of it. I'm now pinning yours for much faster pillow sewing in the future! Thanks! And that settee is a dream.

  2. Allison

    oh i am SOO thankful for this post. for months (embarrassing really) I've been putting off making pillow covers because I just didn't want to have to learn how to (accurately) sew in a zipper but didn't want to mess up on my $$$ fabric. This looks SO easy. Thanks! Quick question, when you stitched the 20 inch wide ends what stitch did you use? It looks like an overlock stitch on the "wrong" side, but didn't appear that way on the other side…. Thanks!

  3. mikky

    Such a pretty pillow and only $3 for the material! I never would have guessed. Your seatee looks tres chic.


  4. Erin

    That settee is PERFECT. LOVE the stripes. Beautifully beautifully done!!

  5. Jenny, Where o where can I find designer fabrics here in AZ? The selection at SAS is ok, but I want some on trend patterns at reasonable prices. I just love all your fabric selections! If you have any recommendations, please do share. And, I love your blog. It's bookmarked and I check diligently everyday :)

  6. The settee is so great! Loving the art wall, too!

  7. Seriously… You are amazing woman!! Love the settee! Love Everything!

    I love how well you can put together a room! Great Job!

  8. The stripes, the pillow, the art wall, the combination of it all is fabulous!

  9. My 12 year old is the best seamstress – I am going to show her this post (although, the result will be that we will suddenly have about 20 new pillows by the end of the holiday weekend).

    Hope all is well!

    – Holly

  10. the settee stripes have just the right weight to balance nicely with the framed art. everything just hums!

  11. Erin

    Oh my goodness, this post could NOT come at a better time. I was just pondering giving envelope pillows a try and thinking I should look up a simple tutorial. And looky what I see in my feed reader :) Thanks so much for this!

  12. ijinku

    I love it, as I love everything on your blog. The gallery wall, the whole thing looks great.

  13. Devon

    YES, this is a fantastic and easy solution for me. I sewed pillows for my living room and they still have an open seam that needs to be hand-sewn after the pillows were stuffed in.

    I always love how the smartest solutions are the simplest.

    And I find it hilarious that I NEVER even considered them in the first place. Thanks Jenny. :)

  14. I can't believe we get to follow along while you completely transform this amazing house. It's SO FUN to see your amazing stylistic eye make a place come alive. I can't wait to see all that's in store. Wishing you best of luck with all your projects!

  15. Barbie

    Oh wow. The settee turned out beautifully! It really packs a punch. Great timing with your tutorial. I planned to google a tutorial on pillows this week and now I have this one. That B&F fabric is so pretty.

  16. Elle, Glad you got value from the post. I think it’s great too. And, I think people often underestimate the curiosity and adventurous spirit in these age groups!

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  17. Pia

    Perfect Pillow Timing! Just yesterday I scored a great deal on some awesome fabic to make pillows. I know what I'm doing this weekend :-)

    Setee look amazing!

  18. becca

    love your method! I made two round pillows just yesterday and they were such a pain. was planning on making a square one today and will definitely try your method! can't wait! thank you!

  19. Lianna

    The sette looks amazing! And the gallery wall is stunning!

  20. Your pillows look amazing and I only wish I was handy with a sewing machine! Thanks for the tips, Cynthia
    PS: Heard you were awesome at the ALT Summit in NYC!

  21. That's a best way to make envelope, Envelopes in every size, style, window position and color in stock and ready to be printed and have self-seal added. Envelope Superstore has envelopes for every purpose from invoices to invitations.

  22. Wow, at first I thought this was a shot from a magazine!! It looks amazing, nice work! Please tell us more about the gallery wall…are those all yours'? And that side table…just perfection!

  23. love your method! I made two round pillows just yesterday and they were such a pain. was planning on making a square one today and will definitely try your method! can't wait! thank you!

  24. Thanx, this is very Informational Post to Read now I am Waiting for your next post!

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