Easy Envelope Style DIY Cushion Covers

DIY grey velvet envelope style cushion cover
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In coordination (literally) with our DIY pet bed projects, we’re sharing how to sew easy envelope style DIY cushion covers and pillow cases. Envelope pillows simple DIY projects. With basic sewing supplies and skills, you can make one in minutes. Perfect!  They’re easy to wash or change, too.

Pet-Friendly Home Decor

Pet beds can be cute, complimentary, contrasting, or whatever style you please. If you are placing a bed in a dominant position, however, like the natural focal window in one of our recent projects (Tiger is on that boxed corner pet bed cushion in the photo below), coordinating with decorative pillows can help things feel cohesive.  This window was flanked by two arm chairs, which were our favourite weekend morning coffee seats in the old house. Coordinating pillows helped the pet bed on the trunk in between the chairs blend into the space. They were comfy too. Although you’d have to be quick to beat Humphrey to a chair!

Since this post was originally created, we’ve moved to a completely different style of home. I’ve used similar techniques to help our pets re-covered and new beds blend in with our decor by opting for complimentary colours and common materials.  The soft velvety material that I picked for our custom round pet basket cushion has been used on our new bedroom DIY window seat cushion  (Humphrey approved) and several throw pillows. It’s one of my favourites. So soft, easy care, and very comfortable. The grey also blends beautifully with the rest of our decor.

DIY grey velvet envelope style cushion cover

I even used the same extra-wide seaming on the visible overlap flap for the pillows as on the pet beds and the closure of the window seat cushion. No one will see these other than me, but it’s a fine little detail all the same. Plus, the seam looks and feels great on the back of the pillows. Win win.

DIY grey velvet envelope style cushion cover with broad overlap flap

How to Sew a DIY Envelope Cushion Cover or Pillow Case

Measurements and Fit

The finished DIY envelope cushion case will need to accommodate the bulk of your pillow insert, not just flat dimensions. Depending on the type of insert and how plump you’d like the filled pillow to look or feel, you may need to include an allowance for loft. In most cases; however, a tight fit makes for a full plump pillow. A decorator’s tip is to actually size the cover slightly smaller and squeeze in the fuller insert for a super plump pillow. A sneaky way to do this when sewing a case is to cut your fabric based upon the insert dimensions without adding an extra allowance for the edge seams.

How much rear overlap is a personal choice. For a secure envelope, I like my DIY envelope cushion cases to have a back flap that is almost the full size of the pillow plus an overlapping closure that covers between 1/2 (minimum) and 3/4 of the back. Sometimes I use even more depending on the shape and intended use. With our dog’s homemade pillow Daddy cushions the overlap is almost the full backing for added security,

Supplies and Materials

To make a basic DIY envelope style pillow case or cushion cover, you will need suitable fabric, coordinating thread, and basic sewing supplies including cutting supplies and a sewing machine. Although the pillows can be completely hand sewn, this would no longer be a quick and easy DIY.

  • Fabric
  • Complimentary coloured thread
  • Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
  • Iron and ironing board (optional)

Tip: For pet-friendly home decor, removable washable cases are very handy! If you are working with washable fabrics, wash, dry and iron (unless heat sensitive) prior to making your case to reduce the risk of shrinkage issues later.  When your case is sewn, you might want to trim and overlock (or otherwise finish) the internal raw edges before inverting to help reduce ravelling over repeat washings. This is especially helpful for ravel prone fabrics, but is also handy for general use. 

Basic DIY Envelope-Style Pillow Case / Cushion Cover

  • Cut fabric to size. For a basic envelope, it will need to be large enough to fit around your entire cushion once and overlap at the rear (plus seam allowances).  See above.
  • Finish the raw top/bottom edges, as these will be exposed for the rear flaps of the envelope.
  • Fold the fabric into the shape of the case, pattern-side in:
    • Leaving the front-side face down, fold the back overlap flap up, and pin to secure.
    • Fold the full-back flap down and pin to secure.
    • Double check all measurements and ensure your folds are square.
  • Sew the sides together along the seam allowances. 
  • Trim threads if as needed.
  • Optional: Trim excess fabric from the seam allowances at the corners to reduce bulk for pointing.
  • Invert through the rear flap gap to right-side (pattern) out and insert pillow.

Front Panel DIY Envelope-Style Pillow Case / Cushion Cover 

  • Cut fabric to size. For a front panel cushion cover, you will need a front and back panel, plus an additional panel to overlap at the rear (plus seam allowances).  See above.
  • Finish one edge of your back panel and back overlap panel for the exposed edges of the rear envelope flaps.
  • Assemble your panels, pattern-side in:
    • Place the front panel pattern side up. 
    • Lay the back overlap panel on top, pattern side down, raw edge aligned to the raw edge of the front panel and finished edge towards the centre. Pin to secure.
    • Place the full back panel on top, pattern side down, raw edge aligned to the opposite raw edge of the front panel. Pin to secure.
  • Sew all four exterior edges together along the seam allowances. 
  • Trim threads if as needed.
  • Optional: Trim excess fabric from the seam allowances at the corners to reduce bulk for pointing.
  • Invert through the rear flap gap to right-side (pattern) out and insert pillow.
How to sew a DIY envelope style cushion cover or throw pillow case

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