Easy Envelope Backs for Quilted Pillows

Do you make quilted pillows?

Winter Blooms Pillows by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Pillows are a quick quilting project that I really enjoy making. I will often use the extra blocks from a quilt I’m working on to create a matching pillow. In addition to being a nice companion project, this serves the secondary purpose of allowing me to practice my machine quilting before I tackle the entire quilt.

When I made my first quilted pillow, I didn’t think about needing to be able to remove the patchwork from the pillow form. Now I know that there’s nothing worse than spending hours piecing a patchwork pillow only to have it ruined because it’s not easily washable.

Creating an envelope closure for the back of quilted pillows is an easy solution to this potential oversight. Here are simple directions to finish pillows, patchwork or otherwise, with an envelope closure.

Black + White Tree Pillow by Svetlana Sotak

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Pillow top
  • Backing fabric
  • Pillow form
  • Bamboo point turner

Here’s how you’ll make an envelope back without binding:

1. Cut 2 pieces of backing fabric, each the height of the finished pillow plus ½ ” for seam allowances and the width of the finished pillow plus 6″. For example, for a 16″ x 16″ pillow, cut 2 rectangles, each 16 ½ ” x 22″.

2. Fold and press the rectangles in half widthwise, wrong sides facing. (In our example, the rectangles would be 16 ½ ” x 11″.)

envelope-pillow-13. Overlap the pressed edges, making a square the size of the pillow top.

4. Baste the overlapped edges together at the top and bottom.

5. Place the pillow front atop the backing with right sides facing. Stitch around the outer edge of the pillow top, rounding the corners if you prefer to avoid sharp points on the finished pillow.

6. Turn the pillow right side out through the opening in the pillow back.

7. Gently push out the corners of the pillow with a bamboo point turner, then insert the pillow form.

Here’s how you’ll make an envelope back with binding:

Joy Pillow by Debbie Grifka

Follow the instructions above through step 3, then proceed with the instructions below.

1. Place the pillow top on top of the backing, wrong sides together. Machine baste around the pillow top, 1⁄8″ from the outer edge.

2. From the binding fabric, cut enough 2 ¼ ” strips to go around the perimeter of the pillow, plus an extra 5″. Using diagonal seams, join binding strips into 1 continuous piece for straight-grain, double-layer French-fold binding. Bind the pillow as you would a quilt. (Need a refresher before you start the binding? You may want to take a peek at this blog before you get started.)

3. Insert the pillow form.

This handy technique is so easy any quilter or sewist can do it! Practice making envelope pillow backs with or without binding.

For fun and festive patchwork pillow inspiration check out Modern Patchwork Gifts. Or download the special issue magazine to start making quilted pillows today.

Happy quilting!

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3 thoughts on “Easy Envelope Backs for Quilted Pillows

      1. That’s too bad. I will really miss it. I really love all the arty holiday projects. As an experienced fibre artist, I find the MODERN PARCHWORK projects too “quilty” and “back to basics” for me. I always looking to be inspired by your magazines and I haven’t been disappointed with QUILTING ARTS yet. I hope the HOLIDAY edition of QUILTING ARTS will return soon.