How To Sew A Pillow Envelope Style, With Piping


Sewing is the only time you will ever see me ironing. I probably wouldn’t even own an iron if I didn’t sew on occasion. It may be hypocritical, but I do not care in the least if my clothes have wrinkles, only that they stay away from my face.

This pillow cover came about because we needed pillows for the outdoor couch Austin made, but we didn’t want to buy new ones since we already have a small squadron of pillows. The only problem was none of them matched the new couch.

The envelope style pillowcase is great because it’s easy to yank off and wash, and also to switch up if we want different colors.

For an 18 inch pillow:

1 ¼ yard cotton fabric
2+ yards cord for piping
1 strip of fabric for piping (2+yards x 4 in)

Cut the cord a little longer than necessary, about 73 inches, and then cut a length of fabric to wrap around it. The fabric should be the same length as the piping and 3.5-4 inches wide.

Tuck the cord inside the fabric and sew as close as possible to the cord. The easiest way to do this is use a zipper foot. When you near the end of the cord, do not sew the last 2-3 inches. This makes it easier later to adjust the ends of the piping together.

sewing piping

Cut the front piece of the pillow 19.25” x 19.25” to account for seam allowance. Cut the two back pieces each 12” x 19.25”.

measuring tape and chalk

all pieces of pillow

Iron under ½ inch on both back pieces for the envelope folds, then sew.

iron envelope folds seams

Pin the piping onto the front piece. Clip the corners to make it easier to work with.

pin piping to front piece

Baste in place starting at one end of the cord, but a couple inches up from the end. When you’ve gone all the way around and reach the other end of the cord, stop again a couple inches away. Cut the extra cord so the ends match up exactly when laid flat, and then tuck the fabric around so it appears continuous. Finish basting.

cut extra cord length

sew ends of piping together

Lay the back pieces on top of the front piece, right sides facing together, envelope edges overlapping in the center. Match up and pin the four corners, and then additional pins along the sides if you prefer.

pin back to front

Sew, using the zipper foot, as close to the piping as possible. It can be tricky to push the piping away from the raw edges when you can’t see it, but just remember the 5/8 seam allowance and use it as a guide.

Turn the pillow cover right side out through the envelope opening and stuff a pillow inside.

finished pillow

Tada! Matching pillow! Well, sort of. It goes.

finished pillow

Back envelope flap.

envelope flap on back

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.