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Thursday, September 23, 2021


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Did you know that September is National Sewing Month?  It began in 1982 with a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan in which he declared a month long celebration "In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation."  After learning how to sew in my Jr. High Home Ec. class and continuing to learn further skills from my Mom over the years, sewing is still an often used skill in my life and something about those words just warm my heart!  With multiple local fabric stores closing their doors in my area over the past few years, I'm so glad that Walmart has a Fabric Department where I can pick up all of the sewing basics that I need.  I'll share some of those with you today and thought I'd also share a tutorial for how to make the easiest pillow ever, a simple envelope closure pillow.  Half of the work on this pillow is getting it cut out and some ironing, and then all you need to do is make the most basic straight stitch.  Walmart has a nice selection of Better Homes & Gardens fabric in precut 2 yard pieces that are perfect for a project like this.  I've wanted to freshen up our Office/Music/Bonus TV room and found a nice BHG fabric for some new pillows.  You all are used to seeing bold colors and patterns for the most part in my home, buy I really like so many different styles! It's fun to have this room that's a bit different where I can play with some different colors and patterns than my norm.  This is an ideal project for a beginning seamstress, or for any skill level if you want a quick and easy pillow refresh! 

First of all, a bit of equipment talk.  I'm asked often about my machine.  My husband bought me one about 9 years ago that's a combination sewing and embroidery machine and I used it a lot for both large and small sewing projects and monogramming.  It actually bit the dust a while back and would have cost more to repair than to get a new machine (totally operator error, I didn't have it serviced as often as I should have- lesson learned!).  So, I upgraded to the newer model SE600 this past Spring.  I was very happy with my original machine and this one is basically the same machine, just new and improved and I'm getting used to a few changes of where buttons and features are.  It sews like a dream!  Early on with my first machine, I used the Instructions Manual and found a few tutorials on YouTube that were helpful in figuring out how to use it and monogram with it, and it's been very user friendly after some initial instruction.  The machine comes preloaded with a good variety of script options, but I purchase and download my monogram fonts from Etsy.

Want to learn to sew without making a big investment in a machine?  This little beginner's model would be perfect for nearly any home project.  I have an older version and I've used it for mending, making pillows, and even full length lined drapes!   If you're not sure what machine would be best for your needs, this Sewing Machine Guide is helpful.  

Here are some of my most-used basic sewing supplies and what I'll be using for today's project, as well as a few picks from the BHG fabric line- click left and right arrows to see them all.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post for some Walmart Home pieces that you'll see in today's photos as well.

Now, on to the envelope pillow tutorial!  

pillow tutorial, how to make an envelope pillow, Better Homes and Gardens fabric, sewing tutorial

First, gather your supplies.  You'll need your fabric (at least 1.5 yards for 2 20" pillows), I love this plaid for Fall!  (Check in store if this exact one is showing up as out of stock online, mine had plenty! However, there are many other fantastic options and colors too.)  You will also need scissors, straight pins, thread to match, an iron, and something to measure with. I often like to use a rotary cutter and mat if working with a solid or random pattern fabric.  If I'm using something with plaids or stripes I find it easier to just cut with scissors and follow the lines of the pattern on the fabric.  

Trim any uneven edges of fabric to make a straight edge.  If fabric has a pattern, determine where best to cut to make sure the desired part of the pattern is centered on the pillow front.  If your pattern has lines, consider and plan out how they will match up on the side seams when sewing front and back together before cuts are made.  

Measure and cut fabric for the front of the pillow.  I want my finished pillow to be 20", so I'm going to cut a 21" square to allow for a 1/2" seam allowance all the way around.   Since I'm working with a plaid I was able to use the lines of the pattern as a guide. 

 If I'm working with a patterned fabric I use a straight pin to mark the top edge so it doesn't get turned around.  

Measure and cut for the back of the pillow.  The measurement will be different from the front since two separate pieces will be needed on the back to create the "envelope" opening.  Again, if working with a pattern, take care to line up the pieces that you're cutting for the back so that the pattern will match at the side seams (if that kind of thing matters to you!😉).  I like to have a generous overlap of fabric just to make sure the fabric doesn't gap and show the pillow insert, so I allow for 5-6".  So, my pieces for the back were the same width as the front, 21", but then I cut one about 15" long and the other about 12" long.  

Also to note, my horizontal envelope opening won't be centered on the back of the pillow, the top section will drop down a bit below the center.  This is totally a matter of preference but that way I find the seam to be unnoticeable from the back when on the end of a chair or sofa.  If you want your seam centered, just add about 6 inches to your pillow measurement and then cut that long piece equally in half before proceeding.  

Heat up your iron and get ready to press!  First, press all pieces if needed if not already done (you might want to press your fabric at the beginning before cutting out, I just generally wait until this point so that it's easier to manage.  

On the 2 back sections, locate the edge that will be the opening going across the center of the pillow.  Press each raw edge to finish, first with a 1/2" seam then fold over again and press under 1".

Stitch those finished edges down close to the open edge.

At this point, I'm going to add our monogram to the front of these pillows for a little extra detail so I'll do that before proceeding any further.  

After any trim or embellishments are added to front if desired, line up front and back pieces, right sides together.  Lay the front of the pillow down first, right side up, then lay the top back side piece right side down on top of it, lining up the top edges and sides.  Pin in place.

Now lay the last bottom back side piece right side down on top of both of those layers, lining up the bottom edges and sides.  Pin in place.  

Do you see my mistake?  After I paid special attention to cut the fabric so the pattern would match up on side seams, I finished the wrong edge on the top back piece (so that piece was actually upside down).  No matter how careful, I usually have to redo something on the majority of my projects, ha!  After a quick pass with my seam ripper, I pressed it out and redid the seam on the correct edge and everything matched up perfectly.  

There should be 3 layers of fabric across the middle section of the pillow, and all edges should be evenly alighted and pinned all the way around.  You should only see the wrong side of your fabric.  

Stitch all the way around the pillow edges using a 1/2" seam allowance.  When I come to the middle section of the pillow where the envelope opening sections go across, I backstitch back and forth over that section several times to give extra strength to the seam.  That is where the cover will be pulled and stretched when putting in the pillow insert, so you want to avoid popping any stitches in the process. After stitching all the way around, most of the time I trim the edges with my pinking shears so that they don't fray.  Totally optional step! 

Then, press the seams open all the way around.  Don't skip this step, it gives your finished pillow a much more professional look.

Turn the pillow right sides out, making sure to poke the corners out from the inside to a nice point (use a dull pencil, chopstick, or something similar if you don't have a tool for it), and press the edges again. 

That's it!  Here's the front, then the back. 

Fill with your favorite insert, I typically use one about 2" larger than my finished pillow cover so it will be nice and plump.

What do you think?  Have you ever made a pillow before?  If not, I hope this shows you how simple it can be and gives you the confidence to try!  Here are some of my favorite Walmart Home products for Fall, a few of which you see in our freshened up Office photos today.  If you're not interested in making your own pillows there are some super cute ready-made ones to choose from for a cozy Fall vibe!


Be sure to look for the brand new Wow & Now section for cute, trendy, fun items at buy now prices in select stores and online.  If you see something you like snatch it up, because when it's gone, it's gone! 

Make life easier by shopping online for free pick-up in store, or click here for a free 15 day trial of Walmart+ and receive free next-day or two-day shipping with no minimum order on orders from

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  1. I ordered the sewing/embroidery machine! You were going to post links to your favorite embroidery files on stories and I can't find it now. Help please.


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