i should be mopping the floor: Envelope Lumbar Pillow Cover

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Envelope Lumbar Pillow Cover

The tutorial for this Envelope Lumbar Pillow Cover contains affiliate links. I make a small portion when these links are used, at no additional cost to you.

Who doesn't love a fun Lumbar Pillow Cover (envelope-style) that's trimmed out with cute pom poms? I made this cute Halloween one for a sweet friend who loves the holiday. See below how to make your own envelope lumbar pillow cover (I have the free SVG cut file available, too).

Free Trick or Treat SVG Cut File
Not only am I sharing this Envelope Lumbar Pillow Cover (and its free SVG file) over here today, I am sharing two piping-trimmed fall pillows over at Eighteen25 today with Jodie and Jen for their Spooktacular series. Those pillows match this lumbar-style one perfectly. See below how to make this fun Trick or Treat one!

Envelope Lumbar Pillow Cover

While I created the lumbar pillow cover I'm sharing today for Halloween, this tutorial works for any season. I think a red gingham pillow with green pom pom trim would be adorable for the holiday season. Honestly, I can think of about 100 ways I'd love to make this lumbar pillow cover. I will forever be a pillow-junkie.
Cute Halloween Porch
And the beauty of an envelope-style cover is that it's easy to change every season or throw in the wash if it gets soiled. I have a drawer purely dedicated to my pillow covers. I *may* have a problem.

Non-scary Halloween Porch
And don't forget, I'm also sharing a tutorial for the above two (piping-trimmed) pillows over at Eighteen25 for their annual Halloween series. I had sworn off sewing with piping after my big chair reupholstery situation from the summertime (yowza). However, I'm coming back around to it and found a nifty little pack of pre-made piping that made these a breeze! Head over to Eighteen25 to check out these pillows (the free SVGs for them are available here).

Envelope Pillow Closure

Let's Get Started on a Lumbar Pillow Cover

If you're familiar with making envelope pillow covers, this one is just slightly different. With the lumbar shape of the pillow, a traditional envelope flap in the back (they run horizontal across the middle-back of the pillow) wouldn't work well. Since it's a "shorter" pillow, a traditional envelope flap would gape open. So I changed the pattern up and made the flap run vertically...but still hitting in the middle of the back of the pillow cover (as shown above). I actually used orange thread for two reasons here:
  • One, I knew this was being shared in tutorial form and wanted you to see the seam in the photos (look carefully, you can see it there on the opening in the back).
  • Two, I tend to throw traditional sewing methods out the window quite a lot. I LOVE the contrast of the orange thread against the black and white fabric. Don't be afraid to change things up a bit. While stitching traditionally "shouldn't show"...let's face it, it's kind of fun if it does show sometimes, right?

Supplies for A Lumbar Pillow Cover

Lumbar Pillow Insert

  • lumbar pillow insert (you can grab a 12x24" one like mine here on Amazon)
  • a yard of fabric (I always buy a bit extra in case I mess up...which I do quite often, y'all)
  • thread
  • decorative pom pom trim (see my tip below)
  • straight pins or Wonder Clips for piecing your pieces together
  • other sewing items: your sewing machine (set to a basic stitch), scissors, measuring tape, cutting mat, etc.
  • (optional) my free Trick or Treat SVG cut file for the front of your pillow (download that here)
  • (optional) heat transfer vinyl if using the above mentioned Trick or Treat SVG cut file


Orange Pom Pom Trim
I love using decorative pom pom trim in so many places. However, if you purchase it at the craft store, you have to buy it by the yard...and it's often over $9 per yard. I like to buy an entire spool here on Amazon. It's closer to $2 a yard this way...and I have a ton of it for multiple projects.

Fabric for Envelope Pillow

Directions for a Lumbar Pillow Cover:

If you've never sewn and envelope pillow cover, you may want to familiarize yourself first with my traditional version found here (it's the square cover). The main difference is that here we're sewing a rectangle, so the flap opens the opposite way.
  • Start by cutting your fabric.
    • For my 24"x12" pillow, I cut my larger piece right at 24"x12" (I'll be using 1/2" seam allowance so the finished pillow looks nice and full).
    • The two smaller pieces are 12"x16" (I like an almost 4" overlap in the back, if you prefer a smaller overlap to make pillow insertion easier, take that into consideration and make it an inch or so shorter). To do the 4" overlap, take the size of your front piece and add 8" to the width (so, in my case, 24+8=32), then divide that in half (32/2=16).
  • Take your two smaller pieces (the ones for the back of the pillow that will overlap to form that opening), and turn one of the shorter sides of each piece over 1/2" and iron that in place, then turn it again another 1/2" and iron that in place. Head to your sewing machine with that turned and ironed edge to sew it in place. You'll do a simple basic stitch on top of it with a small backstitch and both the beginning and end. You'll do this to both of the smaller pieces (as pictured above with my orange stitching).


Sewing an Envelope Pillow
  • Once both of your smaller pieces have them hem sewn into place, you'll lay out your pillow and start piecing it together to sew.
  • Place your larger (whole) rectangular piece of fabric facing right side up on your surface. 
  • Place the two smaller back pieces on top of that rectangle with their right sides down (touching the other right side of the larger (whole) rectangle that will be the front of the pillow. You can see how this will look in the image above (I pulled back one of the corners to show you the layout...yours will lay flat).
  • If you do not wish to add the decorative pom pom trim, you can pin or clip the entire perimeter at this point. You'll then sew the entire perimeter with a basic stitch, starting and stopping with a backstitch on each end. I also like to do an extra backstitch along the back flap openings where all of the layers of fabric pieces come together (on both sides). This is where you'll be pulling the fabric the most to add or remove your pillow...reinforcing that stitch with an extra backstitch can be super helpful.


Adding Trim to Envelope Pillows
  • If you do wish to add the decorative pom pom trim (which I highly recommend for the cuteness factor alone, y'all), you'll add it before you pin or clip the perimeter. It's a slightly tedious process, but not a difficult one...just time-consuming.
  • Add the trim facing inward between your pieces of fabric (as pictured above). I cut my trim into four pieces, two for the longer edges, two for the shorter edges. The pom poms hang off of a woven 1/3" trim piece. Make sure that trim piece gets pinned in between the fabric. It needs to butt up to the edge perfectly to make sure it is caught in your stitch once the pillow is sewn in place (again, see the photo above).
  • In the above image, I started to pin the trim in place, but later found it to be easier to use Wonder Clips, instead, to catch the trim. See below how that worked, using another one of my pom pom trimmed pillows.
Sewing with Wonder Clips
Wonder Clips to the rescue. They're so much easier than pinning. Kind of a game-changer in the sewing world. I did the same method on the lumbar pillow cover as you can see above on a similar envelope pillow with pom pom trim.
  • Once your entire perimeter is clipped (or pinned), you'll then sew the entire perimeter with a basic stitch, starting and stopping with a backstitch on each end. Be sure to watch carefully and sew slowly, making sure you catch that woven trim the pom poms are attached to between the two layers of fabric around the entire perimeter. I also like to do an extra backstitch along the back flap openings where all of the layers of fabric pieces come together (on both sides). This is where you'll be pulling the fabric the most to add or remove your pillow...reinforcing that stitch with an extra backstitch is quite helpful.
  • Once you've sewn the entire piece all the way around, be sure to clip the corners off to make them come out nice and pointy. If you've never done this, see my complete envelope pillow tutorial for details.
  • Turn your pillow right side out and iron it.
  • If desired, follow the package directions on your heat transfer vinyl to add my free Trick or Treat SVG Cut File to the front of your pillow.

Trick or Treat Pillow
Happy Trick or Treat Season, y'all!





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