How to Sew Ruffle Envelope Pillow Covers

Learn how to sew your own ruffle envelope pillows, use a gathering foot, and the formula to determining fabric size for each pillow.

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I love learning new ways to do asks I do often and this tutorial does just that! Today I’m excited to share a tutorial on how to sew ruffle pillows using the envelope method (which means no zippers needed). And in this beginner friendly tutorial I’ll show you how to use the gathering foot for your sewing machine.

I often find myself sewing gathers for apparel time and time again. I use the same method each time, sewing two or three rows of basting stitches close together and gently pulling the thread tails to create the gathers. While that’s my preferred method when working with delicate fabrics, I’m loving using the gathering foot to quickly create ruffles. It makes this project come together very quickly. Once you make one pillow, you might want to make four more, just as I did.

Ruffle pillows are a quick sew and a fun home decor accessory for sofas and beds. You could use this process to sew throw pillows as I did, you use it so sew pillowcases or even ruffled zippered pouches. The possibilities are endless!

Keep reading to learn how to sew your own ruffle envelope pillows and learn my go-to formula to determining fabric size for each pillow and ruffle.


1 yard of fabric per throw pillow (I used Tula Pink’s Tiny Stripes in Sunrise and Honesty and the Tent Stripe in Nova, Aura, Mystic)
Throw pillow forms
Coordinating thread
Optional: cute woven labels (I used the Daisy Multipack and the Notions Multipack)


Baby Lock Gathering Foot
Sewing machine (I’m using my Baby Lock Ballad)
Fabric scissors or a rotary mat and rotary cutter
Pins or clips
Optional: serger (I’m using my Baby Lock Victory)

Use a 1/2″ seam allowance for this project unless otherwise noted.

Step 1 – cut the fabric

Prewash and dry your fabric. This step is a must if you ever plan on washing your pillows. If you have kids or pets, don’t skip this one because you’ll be washing them way sooner than you think!

Give your fabric a good press after washing to smooth it out. Use the following formula to determine your fabric size and cut out the fabric using your preferred cutting method.

(1) Front fabric panel: pillow size + 1″ added on all sides
For example, for a 16″ x 16″ pillow, you will cut your front fabric to be 17″ x 17″

(2) Back fabric panels: pillow height x 1/2 pillow width + 4″
For example, for a 16″ x 16″ pillow, you will cut your 2 back fabric pieces to be 16″tall  x 12″ wide.

Ruffle: 4″ tall x (circumference of pillow x 1.75) If using one yard of fabric, the ruffle will need to be pieced.
For example, for a 16″ x 16″ pillow, you will cut you need fabric pieces that are 4″ tall x 112″, that’s (16 x 4)*1.75

Step 2 – Piece together the ruffle

Sew the ruffle pieces together along the short sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press the seams open. Once you have your required length, sew the short ends together to create a long tube.

Step 3 – Press the ruffle

Fond the ruffle piece in half, wrong sides together. Press.

Step 4 – Gather the ruffle

Attach the gathering foot onto your sewing machine. Set your stitch length to the longest setting available. Set your tension to the highest setting available. Now it’s ready!

Sew along the raw edge of the ruffle fabric at a 3/8″ seam allowance. As you sew, the fabric will automatically gather, just like magic. Continue sewing the entire length of the ruffle. Leave long thread tails in case you need to adjust your gathers slightly.

Step 5 – hem the back panels

Fold in the long side of one back panel 1/2″ and press. Fold again and press. Edge stitch along the fold to hem.

Repeat with the second back fabric panel.

Step 6 – pin the ruffle in place

Pin or clip the ruffle along the raw edge of the front pillow piece. Distribute the gathers as needed. Baste the ruffle onto the pillow front using a 3/8″ seam allowance. If sewing a square or rectangle pillow, the corners will be sewn with a slight curve.

Want to add a label on the outside seam? This is when you do it! I like to use a washable Elmer’s glue stick to stick my label where I want it and then baste it in place. The glue dries clear and washes out when you wash your pillow cover.

Step 7 – sew the pillow together

Place the pillow back pieces on top and pin or clip. Sew all the way around using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

I find it easiest to sew with the basting stitches up so you can easily follow the corner curves.

Step 8 – finish the edges

Use your serger, or an overlock stitch on your sewing machine to finish the raw edges of the fabric. Don’t have either? Simply use a pair of pinking shears.

Turn your pillow cover right side out and give it a good press. Insert your pillow form and you’re done!


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