If you own a sewing machine and are ready for a simple project that'll make your home even cuter than it already is you'll want to bookmark this tutorial. An envelope pillow case is one that you can remove easily as the seasons change or whenever you need to stick it in the wash.
Vintage linens or not, changing out or covering your current pillows can make your space feel exciting and fresh again! This simple project should take about 30 minutes from start to finish.
Supplies: Pillow form, fabric, thread, straight pins, ruler, iron, sewing machine (duh!).
I used two small vintage curtains to make one pillow so that I could get the embroidered sections where I wanted them. Measure your pillow form and then follow the instructions below to figure out how much fabric you'll need.
Step One: Take the measurements of your pillow form and add 1" to the height and width. This will be the size of your top piece of fabric. An 18" x 18" pillow form means I need a cut of 19" x 19" fabric for the front piece.
Measure and cut two pieces of fabric for the back of your pillow that are the same height and 3/4 of the width of your front piece of fabric. Mine both measured 19" tall by about 14" wide.
Step Two: Place your two back pieces of fabric down with the wrong sides facing you. Fold the long side of your first piece in about 1/2" and iron flat. Fold that same side in again 1" and iron flat. This creates a hem on one side. Stitch down the long side to secure your hem and iron again.
Repeat with your other piece of fabric.
NOTE: If your fabric has an upright image, be sure to hem the left side of one piece and the right side of the other piece (doesn't matter which is which). That way when you place your hemmed sides in the center to overlap, you won't have one side upside down.
Step Three: Place your front piece down so that the right side is facing up. Lay one of your back panels down with the wrong side facing you and the hemmed edge in the center (as shown above) and pin those two pieces together.
Step Four: Place the other back panel down so that the hemmed edge is also in the center. It should slightly overlap the other back panel (mine weren't equal sizes because of the material I had available but ideally, yours will be). Pin it down to the front piece so that all sides are secure.
Step Five: Stitch all the way around your edges leaving 1/2" seam allowance (stitch 1/2" away from the edge). Trim the excess.
Step Six: Remove your pins and turn right side out. Insert your pillow form to make sure it fits. If it's too loose, turn it inside out again and stitch evenly on the wide sides to take it in a bit. If it's too snug, I suggest you yell into your pillow and not at your dog or a friend.
If it fits and you want a crisp look, take the case off and iron the sides flat before you replace it. Your mother will be proud.
Suggestions On Choosing Fabric
1) Choose a print to match the scale of your pillow form. If you're going to make 18" pillows, don't use a tiny floral print because it'll feel underwhelming. YES, UNDERWHELMING. It's okay to use a larger print on a smaller pillow but the reverse is going to leave it feeling kind of unfinished.
2) Your pillows don't have to match. You can make two of the same for your couch or bed but it's perfectly fine to mix things up and coordinate instead. See next suggestion.
3) I dare you to use more than one print. If you're going to be mixing prints a good rule of thumb is to use fabrics with at least one similar color. Say you're making three pillows...try to use patterns that repeat at least one color.
Maybe one of your pillows has a cream background with yellow and orange florals. Try out another that has a cream background with a geometric pattern (think chevron or stripes). Then add a third that is smaller and that repeats a yellow or orange floral or has a coordinating color such as aqua or olive in it. Color repition does a lot for making your accessories work in a shared space.
Our living room was designed with our old neutral couch in mind so the curtains and old pillows both had a strong print. With our new couch having a strong print I decided to tone down the pillows just a bit. I'd love to throw another layer of floral on there but even I have my limits.
The yellow and cream colors in the pillow mimic the cream background and yellow birds in the curtains behind the couch. The cream woven fabric also helps break up the space so even though there is color and pattern on the pillow, it works.
I didn't have enough curtain yardage to make two matching pillows for our couch and since they usually end up on the floor despite my best efforts, we may just stick with this one for awhile. I'll keep you posted.
I'd love to see any pillow case makeovers you impart on your space in the following weeks. The change of season always gives me a strong urge to change something in my house to mark the occasion. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this!