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Envelope Closure Pillowcase (for bed pillows)

I like at least 2 pillows while I sleep.  One for my head and one for my knees/arms.  It all started with my 2nd pregnancy.  My pregnant body just likes to be cozied to sleep with soft pillows.  (Sorry Steve….nothing personal. But don’t you dare mess with a pregnant woman and her pillows. ;) )  And ever since then, I like my 2 pillows.  So when I make my bed, there’s room for 2 pillows each, plus a few decorative pillows.  There’s not a lot of room for fancy pillow shams though……… unused pillow-shammed ones just don’t make the cut.  (I don’t want to have to un-sham them every night just to sleep on them.)


Anyway, I like to have coordinating pillowcases for my pillows because they act as my pillow shams.  And are completely seen when the bed is made.  But sometimes it’s hard to find the actual color/print that I want.  So, making them works perfectly.


I made some really basic pillow cases a while ago, but I decided to add one little feature.  An envelope closure on the end.  Ahhhhh, no more pillow trying to escape out of its case.  (I’m not alone, right?  It’s annoying when those little suckers try to wiggle their way out.)  Plus, no sneaky peeks of your discolored pillow showing a bit at the opening.


 **And no, these aren’t pillow shams.  Shams are generally thicker, more ornate, and aren’t necessarily made to be slept on like a pillow case.




Higher end pillow cases are usually put together this way…..but first of all, I don’t want to spend triple to to hide my pillow a little better and, secondly, the color choices are more limited.  So making your own is definitely a win!

**By the way, yes, we’re still renting.  And no, I didn’t paint our bedroom yellow.  That’s how the owners left it and at first I hated it for a bedroom color.  But now that it’s toned down with the greys and blues, I kinda like it.  Happy surprise.




I know, the world won’t end if your pillow keeps coming out of the case.  Or, if your ugly pillow peeks out.  But sheesh, it sure makes me happy to keep things hidden and clean and pretty. :)




And nope, these aren’t quilted fancy shams with extra seams/piping/edging/etc.  Who needs ’em?? ;)




It’s even more perfect if you find a top sheet in the color/print you need.  It speeds up the process because you can use the pleated/finished edge as the front edge of the pillow case.




Now my pillows are trapped inside their cases……nice and hidden.



Ready to make some of your own?


To get started, decide on your fabric.  Using a top sheet like I did, speeds up the process but if you can’t find the right print, choose whatever fabric you want……but you’ll need to finish off one end before using my measurements.  If you want to add a pleated detail like many top sheets (and store bought pillowcases) have, go ahead and do so.  But a simple hem will work fine too.



Also, these measurements are for a king size pillow.  You would have to adjust the measurements for a standard pillow size……but at least this gives you the concept of how an envelope closure pillowcase is put together.


So, here’s what I did.


I cut 2 strips of fabric from a twin size top sheet that I bought (at Target)…..1 strip for each of your 2 pillowcases.  Cut both strips 20.5 x 83 inches, with the pleated (or whatever detail your sheet has) edge at one end.


Place the unfinished end down on the table, wrong side of the fabric up, and fold down the upper edge a 1/2 inch, another 1/2 inch…..and then pin in place.  Sew right along the lower folded edge and iron flat.


Then, turn over, with the right side of the fabric up, and measure 8 inches down from the top edge.  Place a pin at each side, to mark the 8 inch measurement.


Then, grab the other end and fold it upwards, until it lines up with those 2 pins.


Then fold down the upper edge on top of the other pre-pleated edge, right at those 2 pins on the side.


If you look from the side, you should see 3 layers.


Now, pin both sides in place and then sew along both edges, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.


Then, either zig-zag or serge the raw edges.


Now, turn the entire pillow case right side out, tucking that extra folded edge towards the inside……and press all the edges flat.


When you peek inside, you should see that folded over section.


Then, slide your pillow inside like normal, then pull that extra flap up and over your pillow……and now the pillow is hidden.



And that’s it.

Now make 12 more. :)





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Featured Sponsor:

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. J Cox says:

    Hi Ashley.
    I wanted some really durable pillow cases for my VW camper-van – but nothing! Thin cotton won't last and cant find pillow sized covers in a cotton canvas. I will soften the fabric as much as possible with a boil wash to get out the fabric dressing (before ironing and then cutting out).
    Yes, even a guy with a borrowed sewing machine can follow your instructions! Thanks.
    Give my regards to the family and Oky! Is the mud still red? Lol! (Was in Wichita KS. for a few years at that big aircraft factory before getting homesick for the good old UK)

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks so much for posting this.
    I like this idea so much, but I wanted to use my existing pillowcase that matches my quilt. I didn’t have extra fabric to match so I sewed the strip a little further up on the border of the pillowcase so that the pillow will fit inside and you can’t see the white cotton fabric I used and the pillow doesn’t come out of the case and still can’t see the pillow or the white fabric and it worked.
    The pillow case just looks like a pillow case.
    I measured the length of the strip I need for a queen size from my existing pillow case. I added about 1 1/4″ more to this measurement. I cut it with pinking sheers, If you have a serger you could edge it.
    I cut 9″ wide instead of 8″ and folded under 1/2″ and again 1/2″ on top and hemmed it. I did the same thing to the bottom. I now have 7″. This measurement can be changed somewhat. Now what I did was sewed further up on the edge inside the pillowcase, near the pleated edge stitching, but making sure the pillow would still fit inside the case.
    Next I stitched the white cotton fabric to each of the sides of the inside of the pillowcase.
    I hope you can understand what I did.

  3. Megan says:

    Could you post the lengths of the strips for a standard/queen size?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, what a great idea!

  5. rebeljane says:

    Why is this style so unusual? all pillowcases in Australia are made this way

  6. Tracy Dardenne says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial….I can’t believe how simply you’ve explained things. Thanks again!

  7. Christina says:

    Thank you for posting your instructions on how to make this kind of pillowcase. I have been wanting to make this kind of open-ended pillowcase for a while now but I couldn’t figure out how or which way to sew down the extra “flap” of fabric. But with your super easy drawings, pictures, and directions, you have made it SO easy to follow and do.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, for taking the time to make this page & post.

    Lots of love.

  8. Anita says:

    Terrific tutorial! As an English born Western Australian, I was surprised these envelope pillowcases aren’t ‘standard issue’ everywhere. Anyway, needed to make some (lots of fabric in the stash) and needed a pattern, yours is just perfect. Thanks.

  9. Laura says:

    What measurements would you suggest if we just used our own fabrics, not the ready made sheets ?
    Like measurement for the cuff and the measurement for the pleat too.?
    Thank you. And thank you for your time in making a great tutorial.

    1. Jackie says:

      I had the same question – but didn’t get a response – I estimated a a standard pillowcase size is 21 x 32 so take 32 x 2 + 8 + 1 so need 72 inches of material cut??? but if I’m not using a sheet but cutting out of material (want to make satin pillowcases for granddaughter) should I add another inch to sew the bottom 2 pieces together?

  10. Linda Johnson says:

    Thank you so much! We stayed in a high end hotel recently and all of the pillow cases were made this way. I’ve been wanting to know how to do this ever since!!

  11. Kathy says:

    Love the look but I need help with cutting instructions for standard pillow. Can I take my own pillow case pattern, add 8 inches and use the folding instructions as you’ve given? Want to make ’em…thank-you in advance. Kkathy

    1. Robin says:

      Yes you can. Just to make sure, in the tutorial, each strip that is cut out in the picture is for one pillowcase. So take the length of your finished pillow case and then double it. Then add 8 inches for the overlap and then add 1 more inch to bind the raw edge on the overlap.

    2. Jackie Duff says:

      standard pillowcase size is 21 x 32 so take 32 x 2 + 8 + 1 so need 72 inches of material cut??? but if I’m not using a sheet but cutting out of material (want to make satin pillowcases for granddaughter) should I add another inch to sew the bottom 2 pieces together?

  12. Sinead in Australia says:

    Thank you for this! I just bought my first sewing machine, have zero experience and decided to make a pillowslip for my son’s kindergarten pillow as my first project. How hard could it be? According to many I googlified- very! Your instructions were clear and the pictures actually show you what’s going on. I did a happy little jig at 11pm last night when I finished my first ever pillowslip!!!!

  13. Nanalyn says:

    Thankyou , spent a long time trying to figure out the logistics… simple when you can see it, thankyou again from western australia

  14. Elena says:

    If there is one thing that bugs me to no end is the pillow showing or pocking out of the pillow case. I even tried turning it towards the inside with the back of the pillow showing but it just did not look neat. Why did I not think of this? I am running to the store to get some sheets and reproducing this ideas ASAP.

  15. Susan Gregory says:

    This is just what I needed!! Thanks so much. I’m going to alter it to fit travel size pillows, but I just needed to see the concept!! Thanks so VERY much!

  16. emily says:

    This was such a quick and easy project!! I made 6 queen size in an hour, 2 from king pillow cases I already had and 4 from a thrift store bed sheet with a nice finished edge. Effectively 6 cases for $2.99. Can’t beat that!! Best part is the pillows look so neat and tidy on the bed.

  17. Suzanne Sala says:

    Your detail on how to create the envelope-style overlap pillow case is great.
    I’m going to make a pair soon but for a standard pillow so I will need to adjust the length of the pattern.
    I need a little assistance as to how you arrived at the cutting length of 83 inches for your pillow.
    I’m short 2 inches.
    A king size pillow is 36 inches – that accounts for 72 inches.
    1 inch is used for binding the raw edge.
    8 inches are used for the overlap.
    That’s 81 inches (72+1+8). What am I missing?
    Thank you

    1. Robin says:

      36 inches is the standard size of the actual pillow the 2 extra inches is to have the pillow case a little bit larger to fit over the pillow.

    2. mary says:

      thaks for the math – really helped !!!! these are great.

  18. Penina says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial Ashley – it’s evaporated my brain strain over how to make these. Yes, I too from Australia take for granted this fold over design as standard, even in the cheapest of pillow cases. Ditto the comment on tending to go to YouTube to be spoon fed DIY how tos. Yet all I could find, the back middle section overlapping on a cushion, wasn’t what I was after for a side end opening of a rectangular shape. They were more complicated with three pieces to cut/join, as is the three piece with contrasting panel & piping roll up number – which for all its cleverness and impact of contrast fabrics, struck me as curiously unfinished without the tuck around flap at the opening.

    Anyhews, without the technical design brilliance of a resourceful and skilled homemaker – yet aiming to kick my spoiled Neo Mastiff puppy out of my bed – I bought a thick weave linen blend, about 3/4 the size of a single bed, and will *gratefully* use your method to make her giant cushion come floor bed. The plan is to just layer with old clothes… hmm, maybe need to reinforce with ties or snaps, unless I do a liner. Only learning to sew now, 22 years ago I made a giant cushion + cover, where, without a clue how, did make a flap but with more seams and compromised almost defeating the visual consistency purpose, by using the liner fabric for the fold over. (Because I wanted to use all of the rare fabric on the outside for maximum dimensions). Thanks again :-D

  19. Silvia says:

    El mejor y más sencillo tutorial que he visto hasta ahora en la web.

    Ya he hecho nueve !!!
    Gracias,de verdad

  20. Mark says:

    Being new to the seing world, and now that’s have taken several classes, your pillowcase tutorial, and might I add, extremely well written directions with complimenting pictures, ensures me that I cn make these. (And I’m glad thy are envelope style..the only wy pillow cases should be! Thank you for these instructions!

  21. Heather says:

    I can’t believe how easy this looks. This is just what I need for my little boys’ pillows; it drives me crazy how their cases seem to always be bunched halfway off. Thanks!

  22. Jaime says:

    I hate the peeking pillows as well and never thought to do this. I get around the escaping pillow by doubling up, because even my king sized pillowcases seem to be unable to contain those sneaky pillows. Stretchy cotton pillowcase followed by our super soft sateen pillowcases. This also helps with those pesky feathers that like to poke in the middle of the night.

  23. Jules says:

    So perfect, so simple. Exactly what I need. My daughter has asked me to make some pillowcases to match the quilt I made for my granddaughter. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  24. Lovaine says:

    Like another lady in Australia, our pillow cases in Britain are all made like this. Great idea to use a top sheet, love this tutorial and will definitely be trying this. Your tutorials are all so helpful and so well explained with pics, I usually view youtube and yours are the only tutorials I look at that does photos and explanations. Thank you so much for taking the time to do them, they are really helpful:)

  25. Carmen says:

    Great tutorial… being an Aussie too I was unaware that pillow cases were made any differently! I love the other cushions that you have on the bed too. Did you make them or buy them? I’ve been hunting for similar fabric.

  26. Sarah says:

    Dying to know where you got (or how you made) your headboard….and where you got your bedspread! Love it all! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      I got the bedspread at Ross or Home Goods…..I can’t remember. But it was about 2 years ago. I have seen similar ones there since then, so give it a try. And as for the headboard…….I made it. But won’t be sharing that until later on! :)


  27. es says:

    In winter I sleep with a pillow as well, I lay on my back and lay it over me covering my torso. In summer I just steal my husbands when he leaves in the morning and blast the fan so I don’t get too hot (I also sleep with a pillow covering my eyes and the blankets up to my chin so just my chin has the wind on it). I haven’t been pregnant so I don’t know what my excuse is but I just find it sooo comfortable.
    I’m in need of new bedding am so going to give this a try.

  28. Jenn says:

    What a great idea! I’m actually thinking these would be PERFECT for my kids’ pillows. They tote them around the house sometimes, and if they grab them from the wrong side of the cover…PLOP…on the floor the pillow goes, then it’s just a matter of time before I hear “Mommmmeeeee!!!!” because someone is crying because they can’t get their pillow back in its case! This is also great for those little travel pillows my kids use for school! My son’s is always falling out of its case!

    I can’t believe all pillows aren’t made this way….it just seems to make so much more sense! Thanks a bunch!

    Smiles, Jenn

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh my word, my kids too! Their pillows are next! :)

  29. Susie at ProsperityStuff says:

    Genius! I often make my pillowcases, too, but this sounds like exactly what I need – Never thought of doing it this way. Thanks for such a well-explained, useful tutorial! Great pictures, too.

  30. Kristina Noall says:

    Oh geez. I know I look like a dummy for leaving two comments, but I left the last one before actually reading the how-to. And I had to tell you how wonderfully simple and AWESOME it is! I never thought of using a sheet! And I want to run right to Target and buy those exact ones! Rrgh. To-sew list just got longer! ;)

  31. Kristina Noall says:

    *Sigh* remember that weird song from ten years ago that said “Don’t read fashion magazines, they will only make you feel UGLY.”? Sometimes I feel that way with your blog, but about my home decor (or lack thereof). :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha….sorry Kristina! I feel that way about organizational blogs. They make me feel slobbish! Ugggh. :)

  32. Rachel says:

    Genius. I hate seeing the exposed pillow on our beds – and they do try to pop out all the time! Ugh. This is so perfect!!

  33. lori says:

    love the color combination!
    i have a pillow case that i got at Ikea(on sale) and it is made like this! and I have been stewing on how they did it, I really did not want to take itapart to see how they did it. My pillow seems to creep out of the pillow case at night! drives me crazy!!!! And now I know how to correct the problem!!! THANKS

    1. Ashley says:

      Perfect…….good luck!!!!!

  34. Vanessa says:

    Hi, Ashley

    Great idea! I love how easy this is. I’ll have to try this. By the way, where did you get your bedding set? I have been looking for a white bedding set for over two years and have not found one I like, but I love your. LOL, I really need to get a new bedding soon. Thanks, have a great week.


    1. Ashley says:

      I bought the quilt at Ross or Home Goods…..I can’t remember. But it was about 2 years ago. I know, so unhelpful but I have seen similar ones there since then. Good luck!


  35. Erika says:

    Yes! What a great idea. Oh and your bedroom is lovely!!

  36. Sophie says:

    Hey! That’s exactly how I made the pillow cases for the so small pillow of my little girl. So easy to make!

  37. Regina says:

    What a lovely bedroom…….everything looks perfect. and you have great taste. Beautiful job on those pillows and excellent job on the tutorial. But, I’m not surprised….you do everything well.

  38. Gretchen says:

    Where did you get those lamps?? I need those!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, I found those at Home Goods. That place has random treasures…….I love it when I get lucky there! :)

  39. Katy says:

    Great idea! I will have to keep this in mind when I make my way into my room to redecorate. Very nice room by the way! I love the colors and accents.

  40. trish says:

    I prefer envelope closure pillow cases. I’ve hacked regular closure king pillow cases into envelope closure standard size cases. It’s usually easier, in my experience, to get extra king pillow cases in your sheet pattern than a flat sheet.

  41. Debbie C says:

    Wow, this seems much simpler than I thought! Thanks for the technique! :)

  42. Maureen M. says:

    Brilliant as always, Ashley! I loved the bedsheet idea…might as well let someone else do the fancy stuff for us! I once used a pair of clearance curtain panels with an attached valances to make a bedskirt :)

    1. Ashley says:

      See? You were thinking ahead too. I love a good shortcut!!

  43. Kate says:

    Love your blog, love your tutorials and love the colours in your bedroom! Did you know that in Australia all pillow cases are made like this? Funny the little cultural (it’s kinda cultural ;-)) differences between two countries that on the surface are similar?

    1. Ashley says:

      Really? I’m not sure why all cases aren’t made this way here. So much more convenient. :)

  44. Liz says:

    these are called ‘housewife’ pillow cases. the frugal way to make them would be to cut across the fabric, as opposed to lengthwise, though I can see that you cut lengthwise to make use of the pleated border. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the detailed tutorial!

  45. Emily says:

    Way cooler than the average pillow case!!

  46. Lili says:

    This has got to be the best tutorial I’ve ever read. Can’t wait for the next sale at Target!

  47. Emily Honeycutt says:

    I Love your bedroom! Mine is dark purple, grey accents with white. I love your headboard, where did you get it?

    1. Ashley says:

      I actually made it…….and will share it later on. :)

  48. Shannon says:

    I saw you at Target today! We were checking out at the same time and you had a cart full of pillows chatting with a friend. I was wondering if there was going to be a pillow case tutorial. :) I also totally texted my friend because it was like seeing a celebrity! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha…….no way!! Celebrity?!?! You saw me……no stilettos or designer handbags. Hahaha! You should have yanked on my arm and said hello! And how hilarious that you guessed it. I needed some new pillows badly, so the timing of this project was perfect! :) Next time, say HI…..I’m always at that Target! :)


  49. Charity says:

    Clever. =) I’ve never seen the shams with the envelope closure on the ends before.
    I love the way your bedroom looks! It’s beautiful

  50. Kristin says:

    Great idea! I’ve always hated those fancy shams…I just bought cheap extra pillows to throw in them but then had to put them in the closet and swap out the ‘real’ pillows at night. That was annoying (and didn’t last very long)! Yours are so pretty. I love your projects…they are always cute, and even practical at that!

  51. Anonymous says:

    Great idea! Thanks for the plans. I bought some material to make a bedspread and bought extra to make shams, but I’m going to make these instead!!

  52. Hannah says:

    What a pillow sham?

    1. lori says:

      a pillow shame is a fancy(ish) pillow cover. you use them to decorate the bed.You don’t usually sleep on them

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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