is a truth universally acknowledged that a person in possession of a
sewing machine and a sofa must be in want of more pillows. Pillows seem
to be such a widely loved sewing project, and with good reason. They are
easy, fast, and offer endless options for personalization and
A pretty closure is the perfect finishing touch to a pillow project.
most people focus on the front while sewing pillows (which makes sense,
since that's the part you see), there are also a lot of options to
consider when thinking about the back of your next pillow.
options for sewing a pillow back are varied. The first step when
selecting a pillow-back technique is to consider how you'll use your
pillow. Do you need to be able to take the cover off for laundering? Do
you want something that is securely closed? Would you like a decorative
closure or one that's simple and hidden?
Below are some pillow-back techniques from various issues of Stitch magazine. Try them out on one of the pillow projects from the Sew Daily store or use them as a jumping-off point for experimentations of your own.
Simple No-Opening Closure
technique completely and permanently encloses your pillow form without
any opening on the back. This is the ideal finish if you'll be filling
your pillow with loose stuffing or if you're using a pillow form but
don't need the cover to be removable.
For each pillow cover, sew the front panel to the corresponding back
panel with right sides together, using a ½" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
Leave an opening in the center of the bottom edge for turning.
2. Trim the corners.
3. Turn the pillow cover right side out and press, turning the seam allowances to the wrong side along the opening.
4. Insert the pillow form and slip-stitch the opening closed.
Try adding ribbon ties to secure an envelope closure.
Use buttons to add flair to a simple envelope closure.
envelope closure creates a clean finished back that leaves an opening
for inserting and removing your pillow form. It's perfect for sewing
pillows that will need to be laundered, and it's a great technique to
use if you want a pillow with an opening but don't want to tackle sewing
zippers. Start with a back piece that's several inches wider than your pillow front and cut it in half.
Fold ½" (1.3 cm) to the wrong side along the edge you'd like finished
and press. Fold an additional ½" (1.3 cm) to the wrong side along the
same edge and press again. Repeat with the remaining back panel. Sew
each hem closed near the inner fold.
With right sides together and raw edges aligned, pin the pillow front
and back panels together. The hemmed edges of the back panels will
overlap at the center. Sew completely around the perimeter.
Trim the corners diagonally to reduce bulk, pink the raw edges, and
turn the cover right side out, gently working the corners out with a
point turner or similar tool.
4. Insert the pillow form through the opening.
Envelope Closure Variations
Experiment with sewing buttons along one finished edge and button holes
along the other to secure the opening. Mark and sew buttonholes along
one finished edge after it's hemmed. Once the pillow is complete, insert
your pillow form, mark button placement, remove pillow form, and sew on
buttons. Depending on the fullness of your insert your pillow cover may
not lie completely flat, so adding marks for button placement at the
very end will keep the closure from pulling or gapping over a large
2. Try adding a contrast panel and ties to the standard envelope closure to take your pillow back to the next level (opening image, top left).
Although it looks complicated, this technique is created by simply
piecing two contrasting fabrics together on one envelope flap and
closing with a separated set of ties.
Easy Zipper Closure
closure creates a clean pillow back with a completely secure opening.
Because the edges of the fabric around the zipper opening aren't
finished, this technique is ideal for fabrics like felt that won't
ravel. Start with a pillow back that's the same size as your pillow
front and a zipper that's a few inches smaller than the width of your
An easy zipper creates a clean closed pillow back.
Using a rotary cutter and rigid acrylic ruler, slice an opening for the
zipper in the center of your pillow back, stopping a few inches from
2. Pin the closed zipper in place along the opening on the wrong side of the pillow back, with the zipper pull just inside the opening.
Using the zipper foot, straight stitch around the zipper opening, ¼" (6
mm) from the opening to secure the zipper, making sure the cut edges of
the zipper opening are lined up. If necessary, open the zipper
partially to keep the zipper pull out of the way while sewing near the
Open the zipper and leave open until after turning the pillow. Place
the front and back right sides together, pin together around the
perimeter, and then sew completely around the pillow. Clip the corners
and turn right side out through the zipper opening.
5. Insert pillow form through zipper opening and close zipper.
simple closure methods can be mixed and matched with any pillow project
to fit your needs. With these techniques as starting points, you can
modify, experiment, and make the back of your next pillow project as
beautiful and unique as the front. Try them out on one of the quick and easy sewing patterns from the Sew Daily store!