I thought about calling this the Ten Minute Pillow Cover, but realized it might take some a full fifteen minutes, or the pros just five. I sew a lot of pillow covers because when I spy a pretty piece of fabric and this can happen anywhere at anytime (a scarf, a curtain, or regular ol’ fabric I see at a store) my first instinct is “ooooh this would make a really fab pillow!”. Great fabrics for decorative pillows are everywhere if you keep your eyes open.
I also sew a few pillow covers each time I feature a new fabric, so even though a basic pillow cover tutorial is so 2012 I don’t care because this is the method I’ve adopted and I use time and again to sew the easiest pillow cover ever in the history of the world and today I’m sharing it with you.
In the past I would cut three separate pieces of fabric to make envelope pillow covers but then realized ‘duh’ you really only need one long piece to sew an envelope pillow cover. And even though zippered pillow covers aren’t that hard either, I like this method for speed because with a single 44” x 22” piece of fabric, I can stitch up a cover for a standard size 20” pillow insert in about ten minutes. Or at least that’s how long it takes me now that I’ve mastered the technique.
Away we go! Here’s what you need for a 20” envelope pillow cover: a piece of 44” x 22” fabric, a few ball head pins, scissors, a 20” pillow insert, and a trusty sewing machine. Can you sew a straight line? Well then, you can make a pillow cover. (Come to think of it, you could probably replicate with fusible web and skip the sewing.)
I have no fancy sewing table, all of this happens on my dining room table cause that’s how I roll. First (obvs) cut your fabric to the proper size. If you’re working with standard 44” inch cotton, cut it so that you have 22” in height. If your fabric width is wider that’s great too, it gives you more overlap on the back side.
At a minimum, the A side is 22” the B length is 44”. The edges of the B sides of fabric have raw edges so you’ll want to hem them first.
I just roll the edge underneath then sew straight down, repeat for both sides.
Once you’ve hemmed those edges, fold the fabric inside out (like the diagram below) so the backside overlaps to form the envelope, it looks like this. If your pattern allows you to match the repeat you score bonus points.
Lay the pillow insert on top, then use the ball head pins to secure the fabric together and also to mark the top and bottom where you’ll sew that straight line across.
Follow the pins with your sewing machine to sew across the top and bottom of the cover to form the seams of your pillow cover.
Once those two straight seams are complete trim any excess fabric and turn it right side out.
Insert your pillow inside the envelope and you’re done!
The nice thing about this method is you end up with an uninterrupted pattern that wraps around the pillow. There are no side seams so there’s no break in the print repeat and it always looks great from the side!
That’s it friends, my method for the simplest, easiest way to sew a pillow cover ever!