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How to make an envelope back throw pillow cover closure


Do you enjoy making quilted throw pillows? If so, you know there are many ways to cover the back of your pillow. They have pros and cons but my typical method is the envelope back cover. It’s an easy foolproof way to cover your pillow and easy to remove as well! Today I have an easy tutorial for you for making an easy envelope back pillow cover closure!





How to make an envelope back throw pillow cover closure

Quilted throw pillows

I LOVE making throw pillows and it is actually how I truly found my love of quilting. I have a rather short attention span, so I really enjoy making a single quilt block and transforming it into a throw pillow! Like magic!

You’ll also find that in many (if not most) of the quilt patterns I have designed, I give directions/suggestions on how to make the blocks into a quilted throw pillow!


Pillow version of my Lemon Squared Pattern






Another version of my Lemon Squared Pattern

Finishing your throw pillows

There are several ways to finish a pillow cover. I find that the envelope backing is the easiest method and it provides a clean finished look. It is also “user-friendly,” as the pillow form can be easily inserted and removed. Some don’t like the envelope back because they have problems with a gap in the opening. So let’s address a few ways to tackle that objection right now!



Not all inserts are not created equal! Some are much fluffier and fuller than others. Of course, this depends on the type of material the insert is filled with (ex. goose down, goose alternative, polyester, bamboo). To add to the pillow mystification, sometimes, it’s just a matter of the manufacturer! Bottom line, if you are using a fuller insert, make sure your pillow cover will allow for it!


Pillow insert size can vary! Meaning, a 16″ pillow cover does not necessarily require a 16″ pillow insert; you could also use a 14″ or even an 18″ if you want a fuller pillow. I usually use a bit larger pillow insert because I like the fuller look with my pillows. Meaning, depending on the fullness of my insert, I may use an 18″ insert in a 16″ pillow cover.


Measurements! Pay attention to the unfinished size of your pillow cover pattern and your backing panel measurements! I’ve discovered the PERFECT measurements for envelope backing panels. I want an overlap of about 7″. Unfortunately, not all patterns out there provide a large enough overlap. Still, I’ve really found it to be the best size to accommodate various inserts out there.





Several quilters have mentioned to me in the past about how making the back closure for a throw pillow can be intimating. Well, fear not, I’m here to solve your pillow problem!

Today I will be sharing a tutorial with you on how to make a simple envelope closure for your throw pillow. You can use this type of closure with or without binding on your pillow. I’ve included two methods for finishing your pillow utilizing back panels. So keep reading!

Envelope back panels

Cut your (2) backing panels. I am using this beautiful Art Gallery Fabric print.

Backing Panel Measurements





Place the panels right side down on your pressing surface/ironing board.

On one of the long edges, fold over 1/2″ and press. Then fold over another 1/2″ and press again. I use this nifty Dritz Ezy Hem Gauge as a guide, mainly because I stink at estimating measurements! I love this guide because you simply fold your fabric over and can iron right over it. Once you’ve ironed your folds, you can pin in place to hold the folds together.

















Topstitch along the fold to secure it in place. Repeat for the second backing rectangle.











Now you have beautiful seams and no frayed edges!

Finishing your pillow-Option #1 – Sew and flip method:


Place your trimmed quilted pillow sandwich right side up on your work surface.


Lay panel 1 of your backing rectangle right side down, making sure the raw edges line up with the raw edges of the top of your pillow sandwich


Then lay backing rectangle panel 2 right side down, making sure the raw edges line up with the raw edges of the bottom of your pillow front. The finished edges will overlap in the middle of the pillow (this ensures there is no gap after you insert your pillow form).


Sew 1/4″ seam all the way around the pillow edge, reinforcing the areas where the backing overlaps on each rectangle


Once you have sewn all the way around the pillow, carefully trim the 4 corners making sure not to cut into your seams. This helps reduce the bulk at the corners and will help your pillow corners pointy!


Also optional, you can serge or zig-zag stitch along the edges of your pillow cover to prevent fraying.


Reach inside through the panel opening and turn the pillow inside out. Smooth the pillow cover, making sure your seams are lying flat inside the pillow. Iron as needed.


Your pillow is now complete!





Finishing your pillow-Option #2 – Using binding on the pillow cover:


Place your trimmed quilted pillow sandwich right side down on your work surface.


Lay panel 1 of your backing rectangle right side up, making sure the raw edges line up with the raw edges of the bottom of your pillow sandwich


Then lay backing rectangle panel 2 right side up, making sure the raw edges line up with the raw edges of the top of your pillow front.


The finished edges will overlap in the middle of the pillow (this ensures there is no gap after you insert your pillow form). Pin in place!


Using a basting stitch, baste around the entire pillow about 1/8″ from the edge. You could also serge or use a zig zag stitch along the edges. This will prevent fraying and will hold all of the layers together as you add the binding


Choose your favorite binding method (as you would a quilt) and bind the pillow cover.


Your pillow is now complete!








Affiliate Disclosure Policy: This website uses affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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I'm the caffeinated quilting extraordinaire, who loves to share quilty educational content for quilters of all skill levels! 

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