Crafts, DIY

How To Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap Closure

Learn how to sew a pillowcase with a flap closure. This simple style of pillow cover is also known as an envelope pillowcase.

A pillowcase with a flap, also known as an envelope pillowcase, is an easy project for a novice sewer. They consist of sewing a few straight lines. These pillowcases are perfect for a bed, chair, or sofa.

This is a quick tutorial on how to sew pillowcases with a flap.

Supplies Needed for This Envelope Pillow Cover

  • Fabric Quarters – These 18″ x 21″ pieces of fabric are perfect for small sewing projects. They are affordable and less intimidating for novice sewers. Many fabric stores carry a wide variety of different colors and patterns of fabric quarters available.
  • Sewing Thread – Choose a thread that coordinates with the colors in the fabric you choose.
  • Sewing Machine – A simple beginner sewing machine is great for this easy project. There are several options online for less than $100.
  • Sewing Pins – These pins help hold the fabric in place as you sew. They are necessary for sewing straight lines.
  • Pillow Inserts – After you finish creating the pillowcases, you need pillows for them! This project uses 12″x12″ pillow inserts.

Learn to make a pillow cover using cloth napkins! It’s also an easy sewing project for a beginner!

How to Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap

This is a simple project. It’s perfect for beginners. And it’s a great way to personalize your home decor on a budget.

Step 1– Measure and cut a square for the front of the pillowcase. A pillowcase size is determined by the size of the pillow insert. For a 12″ pillow, the cover should be 1 inch larger than the size of your pillow. A small pillow is 12 inches wide and 12 inches tall. So the square needs to be 13 inches wide and 13 inches tall.

Step 2 – Measure the fabric for the back panels of the pillowcase. The back panels should be the same width as the front panels. This example is 13 inches wide. However, the back panels are a different length. The back panels overlap and remain open to create the envelope flap insert for the pillow. The pillowcase needs about 5 inches of overlap for the back to accommodate the pillow. So the back panels are each 9 inches long.

Step 3 – Finish off the one raw edge of each back panel. The raw edge is where the fabric was cut and is most likely to fray. With the inside of the fabric facing up, fold over about half an inch of the fabric. Then pin to secure the new edge. Sew along the edge using a zig-zag stitch. The edge you finish is part of the flap

Step 4 – Next, align one of the back pieces with the front piece of fabric. The outside of the fabric for both panels should be on the inside. The result is an inside-out pillowcase. When you flip the pillowcase right-side-out the sewed seams are hidden. It’s an easy way to give a sewing project a more polished finish.

Step 5 – Use sewing pins to secure the pillowcase edges together. These edges are all raw edges. Then sew together the three outer sides. Leave the fourth side open for the flap. This is the side with the new edge you created.

How To Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap

Why Use a Zig-Zag Stitch?

I used a simple zig-zag stitch for creating these DIY pillowcases. This style of stitch is more secure than a straight stitch. Which is necessary for creating a sturdy pillowcase.

Basic sewing machines have the ability to sew a zig-zag stitch with zero additional effort. Simply change the pattern, it usually appears as a zig-zag on the sewing machine.

Step 6 – Secure the second back panel to the front panel the same way. Align the three raw edges, with the outside of the fabric facing in. Pin the edges in place. Then sew the three side seams together with a zig-zag stitch.

Step 7 – The second back panel overlaps the first back panel. Sew the second panel over the first along the two outer edges only. Do not sew the flap closed!

How To Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap

Step 8 – After the sewing is complete, turn the pillowcase right side out. Then fill it with a 12″x12″ pillow insert.

How To Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap

Create a Larger Pillow Cover

For a larger pillow insert, create a larger pillowcase. A 16″x16″ pillow requires an 18″x18″ pillowcase. A pillowcase that size requires a little more than a yard (36″) of fabric.

Cut the front panel into an 18″x18″ square. Then cut the back panels into two 18″x23″ rectangles. Finally, sew the panels together the exact same way.

The result is a larger throw pillow cover. Perfect for a couch!

How To Sew a Pillowcase With a Flap

Envelope pillowcases are a simple project for any novice sewer. They are simple and relatively quick sewing projects. The results are gorgeous throw pillow covers that match your style and decor in your home.

More Simple DIY Projects for Your Home


  1. Looking good! It is amazing how intimidating something like pillows can be until you actually make them. They are such great accessories. Cheers!

  2. WOOO HOOOO!!! You did it. I say you’re definitely 4 pillows RICHER! And great tutorial, I love the little stagger stitch on that cute fabric!! Looking forward to seeing you all linked up tomorrow!!

  3. They turned out great! Well done!

  4. High five for conquering your sewing phobia! Now you can become a little sewing wizard and sew a million pillows for EVERY piece of furniture that you own ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Amy@BuffaloRoam

    YAY ASHLEY!!! These turned out so great! I can’t believe you’re a first-timer. They look flawless! Great job!!

  6. nicely done! ๐Ÿ™‚ i felt craft-accomplished this weekend, too! aaron hung up our wedding canvases in the bedroom (and i added other things to make a more complete collage) AND i finished making a 24×36 canvas piece for above our bed! photos of all of it will hit my new blog (which is set to launch tomorrow!) in the near future. BUT. all of that to say. yay us, yay for weekends, and yay for crafty projects being completed! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Awesome job Ashley!

  8. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesome!!!! you did it!!!!! the pillows LOOK FABULOUS!!!!! so happy for you! three CHEERS!!!!!! hugs…remember to link up with us tomorrow — grab your button!!! : )

  9. Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design

    They look so good!! I have to admit, I’ve had a sewing phobia for awhile now, but I’m beginning to think I need to learn! I think the stripes would look good as an accent on your curtains; what color did you decide on for the curtains?!

  10. Krystle @ Color Transformed Family

    Way to go! You did great. My challenge really did become impossible. I lost all track of time and wasn’t even able to buy the supplies. Oh, well! I am looking forward to y’all moving into your new house. It will be fun to see what you do with the place.

  11. I love the zig-zag pattern! At first (last week) I thought it was hemstitch but after checking again I realized it wasn’t. I was thinking of trying a hemstitch pattern for the tablecloths and napkins, but now I’m considering doing a zig-zag pattern using a thread in a contrasting color. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Diana @ Boy + Girl

    They look so great! You must be so happy! I agree sewing is pretty fun!

  13. So fun to see these again Ashley. Thank you so much for linking up to the challenge!

  14. Great job Ashley!! I’m so jealous of your sewing abilities :).

  15. Kelly @ Corner of Main

    Nicely done! I like the zig zag stitch you did….I have never attempted that!

  16. Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove

    The pillows turned out awesome!

  17. Great job! They look awesome! I think you’re going have to attempt more projects now! I like the white fabric.

  18. Always Nesting

    Great tutorial. I love having the overlapping flaps in the back instead of trying to add a zipper to the cover.

  19. Ashley,

    You are a rockstar! Those pillows turned out perfectly! I knew you could do it! Congratulations! You have conquered your “impossible.” Thanks for linking up to the party!


  20. Great job. I just recently sewed my fist (well second if you count the one I made in grade school) pillow and it’s such a fun feeling to look at it and think “wow I made that”!

  21. Awesome job on your pillows! They look great! I’m about to order some fabric to make curtains for our living/dining room and I’m so nervous! Your post helped to give me some confidence! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Wow – I can’t sew a button so I am very impressed. Love the fabric choices – a great mix! Thanks so much for joining our Impossibilities Challenge. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for the man cave!

  23. Excellent job overcoming your sewing phobia!

    Thanks so much for joining our Impossibilities challenge!


  24. Iโ€™m sorry Iโ€™ve not visited your Impossibility Challenge post before now โ€“ this working lark does get in the way of real life !!! Those cushions are really great. I wish I could sew like that (not having a sewing machine is a bit of a handicap!!)
    Congratulations on making your impossibility possible!

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