Crocheting an Envelope Pillow uses a very simple rectangle and removes the need to use zippers or buttons as a closure.
If crocheting projects for your own home is something you are interested in, pillows are a great way to get started. While they are larger than some things like coasters or dishcloths, pillows are still on the smaller side and don’t take too long to make. Perhaps the best part of crocheting pillows is that they are so visible. You can show off whatever colors or stitches make you the most happy, and a pillow will become an instant focal point while adding comfort to your room. If made to be removable, crochet pillow covers can be taken off for washing or for seasonal changes whenever you’d like.
But while crocheting a pillow can be a very fun and quick project, it can be difficult to know how exactly to finish your crochet piece so that it can actually go on your pillow form. Adding buttons or a zipper are both great ways to finish pillows, but both can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. On the other hand, stitching your pillow all the way around is convenient and simple, but it means that you’ll have to wash the whole pillow together if it needs it.
As an alternative, making an envelope-style pillow gets rid of all of these problems. The design needs no “extra” skills, but still creates a removable cover.
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Basic Crochet Pillow Construction
The pillow I’m showing here was a stash-busting project that I made originally as a CAL with readers. It fits an 18” pillow and uses the Griddle Stitch. Envelope pillows can be made in any size or stitch pattern, but if you’d like the exact pattern that we used in our CAL, you can find it in the Crochet Maker’s Vault.
For the rest of this post, I am specifically covering how to crochet an envelope pillow cover out of one rectangular piece. While you can absolutely crochet an envelope-style cover out of multiple pieces, motifs, or any number of shape combinations, this is the most simple way and will hopefully help you get familiar with this design. Consider it a starting point for your own imagination!
Making the Right Size Cover
To figure out how large of a piece to crochet, start by looking at the size of the pillow form you want to use. You will want to crochet a cover that is a little wider than the width of your pillow form. This provides a little bit of extra space for your seams. In addition, making an envelope style cover means that your work will overlap in the back, so this means you will need to crochet a piece that is probably longer than you expect. Since the back should overlap by at least a couple of inches, you can use a tape measure or piece of yarn to estimate how long your crocheted piece needs to be. Often, it needs to be a little longer than you think.
Use these measurements to determine what dimensions your cover piece should be. I suggest that you make a swatch to check your gauge and figure out how many stitches wide and how many rows long your rectangular crochet piece will have to be to make a nice-looking pillow cover. This will help set you up for success as you work.
Getting a neat pillow opening
As you start your crochet piece, I recommend using a slightly smaller crochet hook for the first few rows. This is to create a tighter edge, which will keep your pillow opening a little tighter when it all gets put together. Do the same thing at the other pillow end, for the same reason.
Checking Your Pillow Cover’s Fit
Once you have a long enough rectangle to make your pillow(40-42”) I recommend you take your pillow form and wrap your cover around it to get an initial idea of what it will look like. Try to arrange it about as tightly as the cover will/should be. The two ends of your pillow cover should overlap on one side(the back).
Based on your own preferences and all the colors in your cover, you can decide at this point whether the opening in your pillow will be exactly in the middle of the pillow, or offset slightly to the top or bottom. You have some flexibility for at least a couple of inches each way, and this way you can work with what looks best to you.
Once you have it the way you want it, you’ll need to take your pillow form back out of your cover to seam it up. However, you need a way to remember exactly where to fold it. To accomplish this, I took stitch markers and put one marker on either side of the very top and very bottom of the pillow, to mark my fold lines. I recommend you put your markers right at the edge so they can be easily seen from either side of your work. Take the pillow form out once you have something like this in place.
At this point, take just a moment and think about whether or not you have a front side, or favorite side of your work. If your color transitions consistently look better from one side, or if all your ends are on the same side, then that would probably be better as the “wrong side” of your pillow.
A few yards of yarn are needed for seaming up the sides. I used simple slip stitches along the sides of the cover once it is folded the way you want for the pillow. This means the edges should still be overlapping.
For the same reason, decide which end of the cover you want to show, and put that one on the bottom of the overlapping opening as you seam up the pillow sides. When you turn the cover right side out it will be on top.
I recommend using stitch markers to connect the sides of the pillow along both edges and especially where the opening is at the back.
Even though the section exactly in the middle of the cover is technically supposed to be the front of the pillow, you can adjust this somewhat by shifting the opening at the back of the pillow up or down a little, until you find what you like best.
Now it’s time to turn this rectangle into an actual cover!
Lay your cover on a flat surface with the right side facing up. Fold the two ends towards the middle so that your folds are at the markers you placed for the top and bottom of the pillow. The two ends should overlap by several inches.
Just like you decided which side of your work is the front, decide now which end of the cover you want to show. Put that end of the work on the bottom of the overlapping opening for when you stitch the pillow sides up, and it will show when you turn everything right side out. Once you’ve got your cover re-folded, you may want to attach the layers of crochet together at the corners(with locking stitch markers, or safety pins, etc) so that they don’t shift as you are stitching.
With everything set up, make a line of slip stitches down the edge of your pillow to make secure seams.
When finished, turn your whole pillow right side out and check it with the form inside if you want.
Adding Details and Finishing
After your Pillow cover is done, there are still several finishing touches that you can add if you want. Tassels, pom-poms, and crochet appliques are just a few ideas.
I hope you find these processes and tips helpful as you create your own crochet envelope pillow. If you would like to hear about new projects, patterns, and tutorials on a regular basis, be sure to sign up for updates from Amelia Makes! As a bonus, I’ll send you my 101 Crochet Ideas download right away!
Keep the Crafting Delightful!