Since learning to sew there have been two things I've been dying to try. The first was making my own curtain panels (did that and rocked it, woot woot!) and the second was making pillow covers. I love throw pillows, though I think they have absolutely no purpose other than to add color to my rooms. I also love looking at all the beautiful pillow covers for sale on Etsy...I just don't love their prices. Since I had a lot of scrap material left from reupholstering my dining chairs and tons of old, extra pillows on the futon, I thought I would use some of it and one of the pillows to make a new pillow for the bench in the dining room. I knew envelope pillow covers were supposed to be very basic since no zipper is required, but I wasn't sure how much extra fabric to leave for the seam allowance. I did some research and found out that there are tons of different opinions. Some say to cut your fabric the exact same dimensions as your pillow so they'll look full, some say to add 1/2 an inch on each side, and some suggested leaving 2 inches or more. I decided to follow the Crafty Gemini's advice. She has a great video tutorial here that is a big help for people who are visual learners.
First I measured my pillow. It was 18"x18". (You can use a pillow form, I just used an old pillow that I didn't use anymore.)
Next, take a piece of your fabric and measure it out to be an inch bigger on each side for the seam allowance. Since my pillow was 18x18, I measured the fabric at 19x19 and cut it. This will be the front part of your pillow. ****Note****** if you need your fabric to sit a certain way due to an image on the fabric, check to make sure it's facing the correct way before you make any cuts. I hope that makes sense. Moving on....
Take another piece of fabric for the back side of the pillow cover. This time measure it out so that the width is the same as the first piece, but the length needs to be 4" longer. So I measured my piece at 19x23" and made my cut.
(This is Crafty Gemini's suggestion for measurements. I think she overestimates just to be safe that there is enough fabric for the envelope. When I followed these guidelines, my pillow cover looked loose on the pillow. I had to go back and cut it down some. For the next one I make, I will probably only add 2 more inches for the length. I want my pillows to look nice and full.)
Now that you have your fabric cut for both sides, take the bigger piece (the back piece) and fold it in half lengthwise. Mine was 23" so I folded it at the 11.5 inch mark. Since I have trouble cutting straight lines, I used my disappearing ink pen to mark it up the middle:
(ignore my mark on the fabric, meant to write 23" not 24")
Then just cut the piece along that mid-line.
This gives you the two pieces that will layer over each other to create the envelope.
Next, hem the sides where you just made your cut. To hem fabric, just fold over a 1/4" towards the wrong side of the fabric, press it, and fold it over itself again, then pin it to prepare it for sewing.
Now take both pieces that you've hemmed to your sewing machine, and run a straight stitch for each one:
Once you've done that, grab the front piece of fabric and lay it facing toward you. Cover it with the two pieces you just hemmed. The two pieces should be facing the fabric so the wrong side is up towards you:
You want the raw edges of the front and back pieces to line up, which means the hemmed sides will overlap.
Next, pin all the way around:
Now all you have to do is take a straight stitch all the way around where you pinned:
Once it's completely stitched, trim the excess fabric at each corner:
Now pull it inside out, open up the envelope and stuff it with your pillow:
Oooh la la, it's a completely transformed pillow and it cost me NADA since I already had the pillow and fabric. You can get fancy with this and add piping, lace, whatever. I'm keeping this one simple. Next I'll be trying my hand at a monogrammed pillow. Can't wait! It's incredible how simple this project is and how much money it can save you. All the pillow covers I liked on Etsy were $30+ Needless to say I will be making my own from now on. I hope you give it a try too :)