Sew an 18 inch envelope pillow cover is fairly easy. They are an inexpensive way to breathe new life into a room. If you are a crafter, you probably have some fabric that is just waiting for the right project. I know I am always swayed by pretty fabrics. Lots of them end up in my fabric stash. Or the remnant bin at the fabric store would have plenty of options for you. All you need is half a yard of 45 inch wide fabric to sew an 18 inch pillow cover.
When I recently posted about my summer screened in porch decor ideas I had sewn new pillow covers for my wicker settee. The previous covers had seen better days. Fortunately, I have a stash of fabrics. I love fabric and all it’s potential. I sewed two red envelope pillows covers in less than an hour. Start to finish. I also machine embroidered a saying on some white Oxford cloth for my main pillow cover.
Supplies For 18 inch Envelope Pillow Cover
- 1/2 yard 45 inch wide fabric (prewashed)
- matching thread
- Ruler or hemming notion
- sewing machine
- straight stitch presser foot
- edge stitching foot (optional but nice to have)
Make sure your fabric is washed first. This way all the shrinkage is taken out of the fabric. Better now than when you need to wash your pillow covers after sewing. You don’t want any surprises. If your fabric is wrinkled, go ahead and iron it. It will make sewing so much easier.
You will be cutting three pieces of fabric. The first piece cut 18 inch square. I don’t allow for seam allowances in a pillow cover because I want my pillow form to fill the cover.
- Cut 1 piece 18 inch square
- Cut 2 pieces 18 inch by 13 inch each
Sew An 18 Inch Envelope Pillow Cover
Hem 1 short side of each of the 18 x 13 inch pieces with a 1/2 inch hem folded twice. Fold 1/2 inch. Press then fold up another 1/2 inch. Press. There you have a double folded hem.
Sew the folded hem with wrong side up. I like to use a hemming ruler to press my hem. This little ruler is invaluable. It can be picked up at your local fabric store, inexpensively.
I place the hemming ruler matching the raw edge of my fabric. Then fold the fabric onto the ruler matching how deep I want the hem. In this case, it is 1/2 inch. Then press the fabric onto the ruler. Sliding the ruler down the length of the fabric, pressing as you go. Next fold the hem onto itself. Press again. Now you have 1/2 inch hem double folded.
Using An Edge Stitch Presser Foot
Sew the hem with either a regular presser foot or an edge stitch foot(# 10). Stitching close to the top edge of the hem. I like to use an edge stitch foot because it automatically follows the hem.There is a little guide that follows the fabric. This is my favorite presser foot. The presser foot allows my stitching to always be straight. No wonky stitches with this presser foot.
Or you could use the blind stitch foot (#5) by Bernina which is what I used here. Both feet have a guide running through the middle of the foot, allowing the hem to be stitched close to the edge of the fabric.
My sewing machine has a variable needle placement. I own a Bernina. The presser feet are on the pricey side but so worth the money. Makes sewing more enjoyable.
I can move the needle to the left or right on my sewing machine. Allowing me to get really close to the edge of my hem. If yours doesn’t have this function, please refer to this post on how to sew a straight line. I have some really useful tips.
Lay the Fabric Pieces Together
Place your main fabric piece, face up on your work surface. This is the piece that will be the face of your pillow.
Now lay one of the 18 x 13 inch pieces on top of the main piece, wrong side up. Matching one side.
Now lay the second 18 x 13 inch piece on top of these two pieces. Matching the opposite side. This should give you a four inch overlay to make your envelope flap in the middle.
Pin All Four Sides
Pin all four sides. Don’t skip this step. Fabric tends to shift with the feed dogs. Feed dogs are the moving teeth on the bed of the sewing machine underneath the presser foot. So, pinning helps keep the layers of the fabric together while stitching.
Stitch All Four Sides
Now stitch all four sides using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn the pillow over inside out. Get your favorite pillow form and insert into your new pillow cover.. That’s it.
Sewing Instructions For 18 inch Envelope Pillow Cover
- Cut 1 piece of fabric 18 inch square
- Cut 2 pieces of fabric 18 inch by 13 inch each
- Hem 1 short side of each of the 18 x 13 inch pieces with a 1/2 inch hem folded twice. Fold 1/2 inch. Press then fold up another 1/2 inch. Press. Sew the folded hem with wrong side up.
- Place your main fabric piece,(18″ x !8″) face up on your work surface.
- Lay one of the short pieces on top of the main piece, wrong side up. Matching one side. Lay the second short piece on top of these two pieces. Matching the opposite side.
- Pin all four sides.
- Stitch all four sides using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
- Turn the pillow cover inside out. Insert a pillow form.
I like to use this method to sew an 18 inch pillow cover since I machine embroider so many of my pillow fronts. This allows me to easily center the embroidered image. Or if you are using a fabric with a particular print you want centered.