Mom’s Tea Towels and Sweaters Become Holiday Pillow Envelopes

If I were to post a photo of all the decorative pillows I have, you’d either have me committed or have my husband sainted.

I store them in every nook and cranny, in every closet, out in the garage — all over the place.

Decorative pillows are the easiest and fastest way to “redecorate” a room. Within an instant, you can take your summer look to a fall look, simply by changing out the pillows and maybe even an afghan.

Same sofa, same room – just different times of the year. And I do the same thing outside on my front porch.

Same front porch, same wicker settee – just a different time of year.

I have pillows for all occasions and holidays — but a couple of years ago I finally got smart and started making pillow envelopes, rather than actual pillows. I can stack 10-20 envelopes on top of each other, in the same amount of space it takes to store only one pillow!

And, they’re “sew” easy!

I know I’ve shared how to make pillow envelopes in earlier posts to this blog, but I’ll give it another go and show you all of them I’ve made this week.

First up is a pillow cover I’m making using an old tea-towel that was my mom’s, but was never used. It took me a long time to get the courage to go through her things after she passed away, and for whatever reason, when I finally did it, I held on to her holiday sweaters. This year, I figured out what to do with them.


Now, here’s the thing … if you aren’t interested in making an envelope, you could just turn this right sides together, sew the sides leaving an opening to turn, then turn it and stuff it and stitch the opening together, and you’re done!

But, I don’t want anymore whole pillows, so I’m making an envelope.

I put a pillow form on top of the hand-towel or your choice of other fabric and cut the towel to the size of the form, leaving a half-inch for the seam.


The back is the actual envelope, and I used some holiday fabric that I already had in my stash. This particular completed pillow envelope will fit a 12-inch square pillow form, but you can make them any size you need.

Cut two piece of fabric for the back that measure the same width as the front, but only half plus two-inches long.

For this pillow envelope, I cut the front about 13 1/2-inches square In order to fit around a 12-inch pillow form), and then I cut the two back pieces 13 1/2-inches wide by 9-inches long. The two back pieces will overlap in the back leaving an opening for you to insert the form.

Place one of the fabric halves on top of the pillow front, right sides together. Fold over the center edge one-inch, then fold it one inch, again. Lay the other fabric half over the pillow top, again, right sides together, and also fold the center edge one-inch, twice.  You can stitch these edges before you pin them to the pillow top, or you can iron them down to hold the fold.  I stitch mine.

Then stitch all the way around the edge of the square, leaving about a half-inch seam.

When you have sewn completely around the square, cut down the corners, as shown.

Then turn, iron out any creases, and insert the pillow form.





Here are a few others that I’ve made this week.

This was my mom’s favorite Christmas sweater and I finally figured out how to keep it relevant by making a pillow envelope.

This is an old sweater of mine that I also cut up and made into a pillow envelope.

This is just a piece of vintage chenille that I bought at a little antique/junk store and made a pillow envelope out of it.


And, believe it or not, this used to be a big tote bag that my mom carried her knitting in during the holiday season. It was hand-painted by my cousin. There were quite a few stains on the tote, so I just cut out the Santa and made a very small envelope. I love it!

This is what I’ll be tackling next. It’s a dress I wore during the holiday season back in the late 80s/early 90s. I put so much work into making that dress, and my mom cross-stitched the Santa, that I never wanted to get rid of it, but it’s time. I’ll be making pillow envelopes out of this, too.


I look forward to seeing your design ideas.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Evans says:

    I just love you. Love you for all you do and for sharing with us. You jokingly called me a copycat when I said I was gonna put a hat on my craft last night but as my husband would always say. Imitation is the BIGGEST and BEST form of Flattery.. and you should be flattered because I do admire all you do.. and how you find the time , I will never know because you are always on the go. Keep it young girlfriend.. don’t stop now.


    1. I totally agree that imitation is the best form of flattery. I truly was kidding and hope you “put a hot on it”!! Love you!


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