How To Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping

An envelope pillow is the easiest style of throw pillow to make. The overlapping pieces on the back make taking off the cover easy, so you can change up your décor any time you want. And for envelope pillows, there’s no hand sewing involved!

This pillow will also have piping around the edges, but you can choose to make it with or without the piping. Piping adds an extra finishing touch that can make the pillow look polished and professional.

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Instructions

Step 1: Measure & cut the fabric

Front Panel: Cut out a piece that is the same size as the pillow. If you want a fuller looking pillow, cut it an inch smaller. In this example, the pillow is 16” x 16” so the front panel is also cut to 16” x 16”.

          Your measurements: [pillow width] by [pillow height]

Back Pieces: The back of the pillow is made up of two overlapping pieces. The width for these is the same as the pillow form. The height of each piece should be roughly ¾ the height of the pillow. So for a 16x16” pillow, cut two pieces that are 16” wide and 12” tall.

          Your measurements: [pillow width] by [pillow height] x 0.75

Piping: If you’re adding piping to the pillow, cut out strips of fabric for making the piping.

To determine the width to cut the strips, take the width of your cording (welting cord), add the seam allowance you’ll be using, then multiply that number by 2. This is 1/8 inch cording and the seam allowance will be ½”, so the strips are 1 ¼” wide.

For the length, measure enough to wrap around the perimeter of the pillow plus a couple extra inches. I’ll need to sew two pieces together to make a piece that’s 70” long for this pillow.

          Your measurements: width = (width of cording + seam allowance) x 2
           length = [pillow width] x 2 + [pillow height] x 2 + about 4”
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Cutting the fabric
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Cutting the fabric

Step 2: Hem the back pieces

At the bottom of one of the back pieces, fold the fabric over ½” and iron, then fold over again and press.  Sew across, back stitching at the beginning and end.

Repeat the same thing on the top of the other piece.

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Hemming the back pieces
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Hemming the back pieces

Step 3: Make the piping (optional)

If you need to join strips together to make the piping long enough, sew together diagonally for a smoother transition.

At the end of one of the pieces, mark a 45 degree line on the wrong side of the fabric.  Line up the end of another piece perpendicularly with right sides facing, so that when opened it creates a continuous piece.  Sew along the line and cut off the excess fabric.

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Making the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Making the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Making the piping

To make the piping, put the cording in the middle of the strip of fabric and fold the fabric in half.  Change the stitch length on your sewing machine to as long as it will go (usually 5mm), and attach a zipper foot.  Put the cording to the left of the foot and sew down the length of the piping

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Making the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Making the piping

Step 4: Sew the piping to the front (optional)

Lay out the front panel with the right side up and place the piping on the bottom of the panel so that the raw edges of both pieces match up.  Start sewing about 2” from the end of the piping.  You can continue to use a long stitch length here, and again don’t sew too closely to the cording.

When you reach the corner, make a couple of cuts into the edge of the piping. This will make it easier to turn the corner.  Start to sew around the curve, stopping when needed to lift the foot (with the needle down) and adjust the fabric.  Continue to sew until you’re a couple inches from the beginning.

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping

Cut the piping a little long and rip open the cover a couple of inches.  Cross the two ends of the cording and cut through, so that they meet without overlapping.  Fold over the end of the loose fabric diagonally and wrap it around the other end of the piping.  Finish sewing it to the front panel.

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Attaching the piping

Step 5: Sew the pillow together

Place the back pieces on the front piece with right sides facing so they overlap. Put the top back piece down before the bottom piece so that the opening will be near the bottom of the pillow when finished.

Pin the layers together.  Change the stitch length back to a standard length and sew with a ½” seam allowance.

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Sewing the pillow cover
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Sewing the pillow cover

Step 6: Insert the pillow form

Trim the excess fabric off the corners.  Turn the pillow cover right side out.  Finally, insert the pillow form through the opening, and the envelope pillow is complete!

How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Trimming the corners
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Turning cover right side out
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Inserting the pillow form
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Finished
How to Sew an Envelope Pillow with Piping - Finished
Q & A
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Browse 5 questions Browse 5 questions and 5 answers
Pillow is 28 inches long and 14 wide how do I cut material?
A shopper on Oct 31, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We suggest the front be the same size as the pillow, 28 x 14 inches. Since the length is much larger than the height, the back pieces should overlap vertically, not horizontally like in this tutorial. A large overlap isn't necessary for this size pillow, so we'd suggest cutting two back pieces that are 18 x 14 inches.
im making an envelope pillow 18x18. What should I make the size of each of the 2 back flaps?
A shopper on Nov 7, 2017
BEST ANSWER: We suggest cutting each back flap to 18 x 13.5 inches.
I have a pillow that is 14" high x 22" across. What dimensions would I make the two back flaps?
A shopper on Oct 11, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You would need two pieces that are 22" wide by 10.5" high.
My back doesn’t lay flat, that is the hemmed edge pulls down in the center a bit. It’s tight, but not straight. What adjustments do I need?
A shopper on Oct 10, 2017
BEST ANSWER: If I understand what you're describing, this is common when the pillow form is very full. You could add a closure, like a button or velcro to to keep it straighter.
I always thought piping was sewn and then attached to the pillow when attaching the whole pillow?
A shopper on Sep 21, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Since this is a removable cover for a pillow, the piping is attached to the cover, not the pillow itself.