How to Make an Envelope-Backed Pillow Cover

With some basic sewing supplies and some vintage fabric (we used an old blanket!), you can give an old pillow new life.

bench with decorative throw pillows
Photo: Frank Frances

A neutral nook gets a big dose of patterned pizzazz with these pillow covers. The largest is an envelope-back style fashioned from a vintage overshot blanket and the others are from Family Heirloom Weavers, a third-generation mill in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, that creates high-quality, machine-washable reproductions. Learn how to make the former below, using just a few supplies. All this project calls for is vintage overshot fabric, a pillow, fabric pen, a ruler, scissors, and basic sewing tools.

What You'll Need


  • Overshot fabric
  • Pillow insert and pillow
  • Fabric pen and ruler
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Point turner or scissors


  1. For this style of cover, you'll use a rectangle of overshot fabric that overlaps in the back of the pillow, creating the closure. To determine how much fabric you'll need for the rectangle, measure the dimensions of the pillow insert; add 1 inch to the height for the seam allowance, and multiply the length by 2, then add 6 inches. (Using this formula, an 18-inch-square pillow insert would require a 19-by-42-inch rectangle.) With a disappearing-ink fabric pen and a ruler, draw the dimensions of this rectangle onto your fabric; cut it out. Place the rectangle right-side down. Double-hem the left and right edges: Fold each edge in 1/2 inch, press, then fold over again 1/2 inch, and press. Pin and edge-stitch 1/8 inch from the inner fold.

  2. Fold the left and right edges in, overlapping them by 4 inches. Measure the square to make sure it matches the dimensions of your pillow insert.

  3. Pin the top and bottom edges and sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn the pillowcase right-side out. Use point turner or closed pair of scissors to push the corners out. Insert pillow.

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