Home » DIY envelope pillowcase with ties (no serger needed)

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties (no serger needed)

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Learn how to make your own beautiful envelope pillowcase with ties with this easy tutorial for beginners. All seams are neatly finished without a serger – all you need for this simple DIY project is a sewing machine and about 1 yard of fabric.

This time I used plain white 100% cotton fabric because that’s what I had in my fabric collection. You can use linen or linen/cotton blends to make your own pretty pillowcases with ties.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties

I spent some time trying to figure out what’s the best method to make these pillow covers – it has to be something simple, quick, and beginner-friendly.

My goal here is to enable each one of you to recreate this DIY project successfully, no matter your skill level. After all, only straight line sewing is required.

My best suggestion for beginners is to slow down and read all directions before cutting and sewing the pieces. Also, pay attention to the step-by-step photos. Your first custom pillowcase will take a little longer, but after that the world is yours!

What’s not to love about envelope pillowcases with ties?

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties

Related: How to make a simple envelope pillow cover tutorial

I am so happy with how my envelope pillowcases with ties turned out – I just can’t get enough! After sharing this tutorial with you I’ll go make some more for all family members.

You can make these pillowcases using only a basic sewing machine – no serger needed. The french seam sounds fancy at first, but it’s super easy to sew and will create a super neat finish!

These pillowcases with ties are so stylish and cozy and bring a little something special to the bedtime routine. Also, these can be great gifts for Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or birthdays.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties – How it’s made

In the end, you only need 2 pattern pieces to make this pillowcase – a larger fabric rectangle (that contains the flap) and a smaller rectangle, each of them having attached 2 ties.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties - pattern pieces

However, each of the two pattern pieces consists of other two smaller pieces, but I’ll explain everything in more detail below. In truth, it’s all really simple.

The first piece is longer because it includes the inner flap. The flap is that special envelope closure at the end that allows the pillow insert to be completely hidden inside the pillowcase.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties

DIY envelope pillow cover with ties – sewing supplies

Step 1 – measure your pillow insert

Pillows vary in size but it’s a piece of cake to make custom pillow covers that fit perfectly.

So here’s what you need to do.
First, measure the width of your pillow inserts from seam to seam = W.
Then, measure the height of your pillow inserts from seam to seam = H.

measure pillow insert to make pillowcase tutorial

W and H are the only measurements you need to make custom pillow covers with ties that you and your whole family will love.

Step 2 – cut fabric pieces

I’ll assume that you prewashed the fabric that you’ll use for these pillowcases. 

Cut two pattern pieces – the largest one measuring (W+8”) x (H+1”) and the smaller one measuring (W+4”) x (H+1”).

This way, the inner flap of my pillowcase will be about 6 or 7 inches.

Tip: For more accurate cutting, use a rotary cutter and a cutting mat.

Then cut 4 fabric rectangles for the ties – 2” wide and anywhere from 10” to 20” long. If you want skinny ties, make your fabric rectangles 1.5” wide. My finished ties are neither skinny nor too wide – just regular.

What if your fabric is not pre-washed? Well, then just add 1” everywhere – cut the first fabric piece (W+9”) x (H+2”) and the second one (W+5”) x (H+2”). That should do it.

Both of these options will give you a pillow cover that is roughly the same size as your pillow insert.

My pillow inserts measure 23” by 19”. To make one pillowcase, I cut one fabric piece measuring 32”x21”, and the other 28”x21”(I didn’t prewash my cotton fabric). Also, I chose to make long ties so I cut 4 rectangles measuring 2” x 21”.

Step 3 – make the ties

To make your own ties, fold each rectangle down the middle, then sew along the edge with a 3/8” seam allowance to form a long tube.

I left both ends of the tie open, and used a safety pin to turn the tube. For better results, you can stitch across one end of the tube and then along the entire long edge. To turn your tube use a chopstick or pencil – just push it into the tube until it comes out the opposite end.

Repeat for the other 3 ties. Then press them flat with an iron and topstitch them.

sewing ties for DIY pillowcase

Step 4 – prepare the larger pattern pieces 

Place the two large fabric pieces on top of each other and align all edges, as shown in the photo below.

Then, measure 3” above the bottom edge of the smallest one. 

That’s where you’ll cut through both layers – by doing so you’ll end up with 4 fabric pieces. There you’ll soon insert the 4 ties for your pillowcase.

Now take a fabric marking pen or a tailor’s chalk and mark the wrong side (W or WS) and the right side (R or RS) of all these fabric pieces.

For the moment, set aside the bottom layer.

Step 4 – finish the first pattern piece of the pillowcase (the top layer, the smaller one)

The top layer (the smaller one) is now composed of two pieces. Place them right sides together then slide the ties in between them. I spaced my ties about 6” from the side seams.

Pin the ties in place and sew along the edge with a 5/8” seam allowance. No need to finish the seam, leave it as-is.

Press the seam towards the smaller rectangle, then topstitch it.

Now fold over 3/8” the top edge of the short rectangle towards the wrong side, and fold it over again so that the ties come out from the top of the pattern piece. 

Press and stitch along the folded edge.

The first pattern piece of the pillowcase is done!

Step 5 – finish the second pattern piece of the pillowcase (the larger one)

It’s the same as before.

Place the two fabric pieces right sides together, then slide the ties in between them. Again, I placed my ties at about 6” from the side seams.

Pin the ties in place and sew along the edge with a 5/8” seam allowance. Again, no need to finish the seam.

Press the seam towards the smaller rectangle, then topstitch it.

Now, you have to make a double-fold hem to enclose the top raw edge.

Turn the top edge of the smaller rectangle towards the wrong side of the fabric twice, then stitch it in place. 

Neat! This is how the largest pillowcase pattern piece looks on the right side. We’re now really close to finishing this cute envelope pillowcase with ties.

Step 6 – sew the two pattern pieces together

Now we are about to see how a french seam works – our pretty pillowcase will soon have all edges neatly finished.

First, lay down the larger pattern piece with the wrong side facing up towards you.

Then, place the smaller pattern piece on top of it, wrong sides together, as shown below.

Place the top edges of the smaller pattern piece right below the first seam of the larger piece. The flap will remain unstitched, for now.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties - french seam

Align the side and the bottom edges, pin and sew in place along the three raw edges of the pillowcase with 1/4” seam allowance. Backstitch at the start and end of the folded edges to reinforce the seam.

This is what it all looks like right now. Clip the corners.

Turn the pillowcase right side out and use a pencil to poke the corners out. Press. Fold the raw edges of the envelope flap over 1/4″ and press them well.

Now fold the flap over onto itself, align the edges, and pin.

Sew along the three edges of the pillowcase with a 5/8” seam allowance. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the envelope flap for additional strength.

how to make an envelope pillowcase with french seams

And that’s all! All the raw edges are wrapped and hidden inside the seam allowance. This is one of the simplest methods to create a professional-looking seam without using a serger.

Your gorgeous pillowcase with ties is finished! Now slip your pillow in and tie the ties in a cute bow.

DIY envelope pillowcase with ties sewing tutorial
DIY envelope pillowcase with ties
DIY envelope pillowcase with ties

Did you find this envelope pillowcase with ties tutorial helpful? I’d like to hear what you think of it! And I would LOVE to see pictures if you give this cute DIY project a try.

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