Wednesday, February 05, 2014

how to make an envelope backed pillow

Well, I wasn't kidding when I said it was pillow week here! Today I'm going to show you my favorite way to make an envelope backing for a quilted pillow cover. As always, this is just one way to do it.
First off, let me talk just a bit about the front of the pillow. Make the patchwork, then layer it on a piece of thin cotton batting (warm and natural or something similar). You could use a square of muslin or some miscellaneous fabric for a backing, but I don't bother.
Quilt the patchwork, then trim down to size. I shoot for 20 1/2" square.
Gather your supplies...the quilted pillow top and 3/4 yard quilting cotton for the backing fabric.
From the quilting cotton, cut two pieces 26" x 20 1/2".
Fold each piece in half so it measures 20 1/2" x 13". Press the fold line well with a hot iron.
(I LOVE my vintage iron, by the way! Isn't she a beauty?)
Sew near the fold line using an 1/8" seam allowance.
Place the pillow top right side up. Place the backing pieces on top of it, as shown in the photo above. The raw edges of the backing should line up with the raw edges of the pillow top. Folds should be in the middle.
Flip the pieces down into place. There should be an overlap of about 5"-6". (See pin placement.) Pin the layers together around the perimeter of the piece.
Use a walking foot to sew around the ENTIRE piece. I use a 1/4" seam allowance. (You can use a 1/2" seam allowance if you prefer, just be sure to adjust your measurements accordingly.) Reinforce the stitching several times where the backing pieces overlap. These will be the stress points when you are stuffing your pillow form into the cover. The reinforced stitching helps a lot. Trim the corners. Turn right side out. Poke out the corners with a blunt tip scissors.
 The backing looks nice and tidy. No finishing stitches required!
Stuff your pillow form inside and you are done!

I love the way this looks....so crisp, clean and tidy! The double layer of quilting cotton is a nice weight for the pillow backing. I've been using this technique for years and they have stood the test of time. If you want to see the pillow front completed, I shared it in this post.

I hope you find this tutorial useful! If you have questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments.

Go forth and make pillows!
(Lots and lots!) :)

29 comments:

Anna said...

Love this Amanda!!! I haven't tried the double layer back for an envelope pillow, will need to now!!

Blueberry Park said...

that's such a great idea to double layer the backing fabric! I often find my backs end up a bit flimsy but this is the perfect solution thank you!

Francine said...

Hi Amanda, thank you for the tute! If you want to stitch a label onto the inner flap, which backing piece should you stitch it to?

Anne said...

Another great tutorial. Thanks! ...and I guess I have a vintage iron too!

Molly said...

Thank you! I was just thinking about gathering up all of my orphan blocks and making pillows. This seals it!

Jasmine said...

Thanks for sharing. This is very similar to how I have done a couple pillows. One thing I added was sew-in velcro on a pillow for my young son. It helps quite a bit, but I wouldn't use it on every pillow.

Di~ said...

How's the contention level with the hubs this week?!???? :)

Lana said...

Loving this series!!! More! More!
I am going to do this when I get home!

teaginny said...

Umm, why have I not thought of this?! Genius. It creates its own lining this way. You are so clever.

Gnomemade said...

That is such a brilliant idea! I always hated folding, then folding over again to make the back envelope closure! Thanks so much for sharing.

Ashers said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I have been putting off making pillow form covers for months because I never liked how they turned your. This will make things much easier.

Lappedamen said...

Thank you for sharing. I love scrap quilts, and your pillow is so beautiful.

Alycia said...

Love it! I have done it that way for years and it is so nice - you can replace the pillow form when it gets old ( and with 3boys - yes they get old!)

capitolaquilter said...

How did you know I was smack dab in the middle of winging it to make just such a pillow - thanks - now I don't have to guess!

Jess said...

Thanks for the Tutorial. Any suggestions to making an envelope back for a feather pillow? Mine is sagging and does not look pretty like yours.

jessica.bredinger@yahoo.com

cedacanthus said...

This way gives a crisp finish, I like it! (And I'm loving your iron too!)

Gigi Pereira said...

Thank you so much. I have been avoiding making pillows because they always seem so intimidating to me (no logic there, but whatever). And now I think I'll try pillows and thanks to your other tutorial, I'll even make the pillow form to go inside:)

kmodich said...

Thank you for this!

Lori Landenburger said...

love it! Thanks! :)

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for this!! I literally said to my husband last night, "sheesh, we need new couch pillows but I hate zippers and velcro, if only I knew how to do the envelope-back thing!" Timing is everything:-)
Peace,
~Michelle

Debbie said...

Very nice! Thanks for sharing this - an improvement over my method!

colleencl said...

Great tutorial ... Thank you for sharing!

MissesStitches said...

I had to laugh! Your "vintage" iron is the one I still use sometimes. I received it for a wedding present 37 years ago!

Jeneta said...

What a FABULOUS way to make an envelope backing. I'm in a cushion phase at the moment too. I love that your method gives a bit of extra durability with the two layers (because, for some reason, our cushions don't always stay on the couch and are sometimes used in a very active manner. Thank you Mr 4 yr old!). Also, your way of doing the back means that you can never accidentally sew up the cushion cover with the wrong side facing out when it's finished. Which is excellent for me!

margaret said...

now this is much easier than putting in zips, well worth the extra fabric needed many thanks

my happy bluebird said...

I've been "stuck" on how to finish my pillow cover. Thanks for the tutorial. You have inspired me :-)

elizabeth said...

I am in love with this pillow! and what a great tute!! Thanks for posting

Linda said...

So simple. :) Would you want a little less overlap for a smaller pillow? The pillow I am working on will finish at 14 inches. I'm thinking more like a 2-3 inch overlap for that one. What do you think?

jenmsmitty said...

Thanks Amanda! I think that the folded over backing is brilliant! I've had trouble in the past with the pillow back being flimsy, now I know why.:-)

I do have a question for you. When you wash the cover, do you have any trouble with the batting? I always layer a piece of fabric with the front and batting (like a quilt) because I'm afraid the batting will all fall apart in the wash without it. Thanks for taking the time!!
Jen