Sunday, July 1, 2012

Envelope Pillow Craft Notes

There are many versions of the envelope pillow case.  Recently, a friend asked me to show her how.  Circumstances prevented me from going to her house to do so, but I explained it to her and drew this diagram to assist.  She did wonderfully and so I thought I'd share.

This is a simple pillow cover that can be removed for washing or seasonal changing.  It is "sew" simple!  There will only be 4 seams to sew, unless you have an old curtain or sheet that has finished sides to take some of the work out of it.

Let's get started:
Start with a rectangle of fabric, then finish the two short sides by folding in the seam 1/4", then folding it again and seaming it to enclose it.
After that you fold the fabric in thirds, think of the shape of a C here, only overlapping the short sides by about 2" to close the gap and sew the two remaining unfinished edges.  Maybe the diagram will help here.  But, really, it is simple once you get the concept.
Envelope pillow cover pattern notes

If you think of it this way it may make sense:
Place  the pillow face down in the middle of the fabric, with the right side of the fabric facing you.
Fold down the top of the fabric to cover the middle of the pillow.
Now, fold up the bottom of the fabric to overlap the top, creating an envelope!  Like a C that connects and overlaps itself (if the opening of the C is facing you and you pull down the to top overlap the bottom leg)!  You'll sew the sides shut.  You can make these in no time at all!

The hardest part will be deciding how big to make the rectangle.  So, for that we'll assume you have a 12" x 12" square pillow so you can see how the calculations work out.

Width of the fabric:
You'll add 1" to the width of the pillow.  That'll be the width of your fabric.  On the sides I use 1/2" seam allowance since these need to be strong to be able to put the pillow inside and take it out repeatedly.

Height of the fabric:
You'll add the 12" length of the front of the pillow to the measurements of the back pieces.  So, 1/2 of the pillow is 6", but you want the overlap to be 2" to enclose the pillow.  So, the top portion of the back of the pillow needs to be 8" and the bottom portion needs to come up 8".  They'll both overlap the middle of the pillow by 2", see?  They come up to meet each other and overlap to cover the back side of your pillow.
Then, add 1" to that for seam allowances (folding 1/4" down twice on each end leaves 1/2" total needed to finish both seams, thus 1" total).
So, 12" + 8" + 8" + 1" = 29".  This is the height or length of the fabric you'll need.

For a 12" x 12" pillow, you'll need to cut a rectangle of fabric 13" x 29" and you'll be ready to sew.

So, take the following formula to any size pillow:
Pillow width + 1" seam allowance = fabric width
Pillow height + (1/2 the height + 2" for overlap) + (another 1/2 the height + 2" for overlap) + 1" seam allowance = fabric height

Just for fun, let's assume your pillow is odd, like 11" wide by 5" high.
For the width of the fabric, add 1", so cut 12" wide.
For the height of the fabric, add 5" + (2.5" + 2" = 4.5") + (4.5") + 1" = 15" fabric
Cut fabric 15" high by 12" wide.  This is important if you want the fabric print to be facing the right way, be sure to place the width of the fabric along the side of the pillow you want the print to run.

I've made these several times for my daughters.  I have 3 of them, with different styles and tastes and color preferences.  If they find a fabric they like, I can sometimes buy a fat quarter and make it work if the pillow is small enough.  Otherwise, it is usually only 1/4 yard up to 1/2 yard of fabric with leftovers!  That's cheap and easy.  Love it.  It is best if you have a leftover sheet you don't use or find a fancy fabric shower curtain at a garage sale to upcycle.  Love it when I can repurpose items to new glory!

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions.  I'd be glad to help if I can.  Now, go create a cool pillow cover to change up your room!  Once you get the first one you'll want to create them for your friends as cheap gifts!  :)

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