This post is the second in a series of 7 ways to sew pillow closures. Once you have mastered the basic non removeable pillow cover, it is time to move onto to removable options. Learning to sew a pillow with an envelope closure is a great way to start. Buying pillow forms and stuffing pillows gets expensive after a while and being able to swap out pillow covers for different seasons or holidays and then store them flat is quite useful. For removable covers, you have two main options (with some variations):
- the envelope closure (below) , and
- the zipper.
For a pillow with an envelope closure, the back of the pillow consists of two overlapping and hemmed pieces of fabric. The pros for this style of pillow are that it is easy to sew and use. The cons are that you use extra fabric for the overlap and sometimes the pillow can bulge out of the back a bit if stuffed extra tight. Of course, you can add buttons, ties or velcro to secure the back, in this case.
This post covers how to sew 2 types of pillow covers with an envelope closure:
- an envelope closure with a deep overlap
- an envelop closure with a shallow overlap and securing buttons, velcro or ties.
Envelope Closure – Deep Overlap
First up is your basic deep overlap, as simple as it get for removable covers.
Only two pieces of fabric, one longer than the other. Cut your backing piece 6 inches longer than the front (above picture shows fabric and supplies for adding closures. too). For example, for my 10 inch sample pillow, I cut one 11 inch by 11 inch square (including 1/2″ per side for seam allowance). and one 11 by 17 inch rectangle.
Cut the backing piece (the long rectangle) in 1/2. One piece will be the top overlapping piece (needing a double turned hem) and the other will be the underlapping piece (needing a single turned hem). Check out the photo in Step 3 see how they will come together.
Press the overlap piece under 1/2 inch and press under again another 1/2 inch. Press the underlap piece under 1/2 in. Stitch a straight stitch hem along each fold.
Time to assemble the pillow for stitching. Place the front of pillow down with right side up. On top, layer first the overlap piece with right side down, against the pillow front. Next, place the underlap piece on top from the other direction, again with right side facing the pillow front. Pin together.
Sew a straight stitch seam around the edge of the whole pillow. Clip your corners. If you are concerned about your fabric unraveling or fraying, zip zag stitch around all edges to finish them.
Turn right side out and poke out your corners. Done!
Envelope Closure – Shallow Overlap and Ties, Buttons and Velcro
Sometimes it is helpful to add a bit of extra security to your closure to make sure the pillow doesn’t bulge out the back. You can easily do that with buttons, velcro or ties. For this type of closure, I like to make my hem extra wide to add extra structure before I start sewing closures on.
Again, cut two pieces of fabric, one piece 6 inches longer than the other. Buttons, velcro or ties of your choice.
Sew an envelop pillow as described about, except press the overlap and underlap pieces 1 1/2 inches under, instead of 1/2 inch. As noted previously, the underlap piece only needs a single fold hem, but the overlap piece should be folded over twice to encase the raw edge. With a straight stitch, hem each folded edge.
Time to assemble the pillow for stitching. Place the front of pillow down with right side up. On top, layer first the overlap piece with right side down and touching the pillow front. Next, place the underlap piece, again with right side facing the pillow front. Pin together. As you can see, the overlap is much shallower, just meeting, but the hem is extra wide to secure your ties or other closures to.
Sew a straight stitch seam around the edge of the whole pillow. Clip your corners and zig-zag stitch around the edges if desired. Turn right side out and poke out your corners.
If you adding ties: pin your ties to the right side of the pillow, folding the edge of your ribbon, fabric or cording, so no raw edges are exposed. Stitch in place either by hand or sewing machine. For my 10 inch sample pillow, I added two ties. But for a larger 16 to 18 inch pillow, I would add three.
If you are adding velcro: pin your pieces of velcro (mine are about 2 inches long) to the wrong side of the overlap and the right side of the hemmed piece. Stitch in place. As with the ties, I would add at least 3 pieces of velcro for a larger pillow.
If you are adding buttons: clearly your must love buttons! I think these are a lot more effort than needed for a pillow closure, unless you are displaying them on the frond of your pillow. Here are two tutorials for adding button closures to pillows:
- for buttons with looped button holes, (a tutorial from Lia Griffith)
- for buttons with traditional buttonholes (a tutorial from Nancy Zieman)
So, that covers how to sew an envelop style pillow. Next up…..ZIPPERS!