Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to make a Simple Envelope Closure Pillow and Blanket Set

Firetruck pillow and blanket by Eden and Eliot

My new year's resolution for 2011 is to make what I would otherwise buy - which led me to sew this pillow and blanket set for Eden, when her preschool teacher said she needed extra bedding for naptime.

Its a cute little fleece set, patterned with firetrucks, ambulances and police cars (which she helped pick out). But after it was finished, she refused to bring it to school. (You see a pattern here re: my post about the slippers.)

So this has gone to little brother Eliot, who is much more accommodating when it comes to wearing or using the things his mother makes.

This was a really simple set to sew up, and experienced readers will not need any instructions here.  But since I've benefited from very basic tutorials -  I thought, why not write one anyway for all my friends out there who don't fancy themselves crafty.  Children's bedding tends to be expensive, so if you're inclined to make your own - read on, its a cinch.

  • Fleece - 1.5 yards (adjust for bigger or smaller sets)
  • 13 inch pillow insert (Ikea carries a really inexpensive one)
  • Sewing machine & coordinating thread
  • Ball-point sewing machine needle (suitable for knit fabrics)
  • Disappearing ink fabric or chalk marker


Lay out your fleece fabric on your cutting surface wrong side up, measure and mark a rectangle 36" x 48" for the blanket . With the remaining fabric, mark a rectangle 14" x (14" + 6") for the pillow.  The extra 6" will form the overlap for the envelope closure.  My pillow insert is 13" square, so the 14" width gives me a half inch seam allowance on each side.  If you want a poofier pillow, make the rectangle 13" x (13" + 6"), and it will give the pillow a nice squeeze.

Make sure you mark both rectangles before you start cutting.  Since mine was a patterned fleece, and I wanted to make sure I got a couple of the firetruck/car images intact on the front of the pillow, I didn't end up with the most efficient/fabric saving layout.

For the Pillow


With the wrong side of the fabric up, fold in a half inch seam on each of the short sides of the rectangle, pin and stitch.  If you feel comfortable, you can start stitching and fold as you go along.

When you are done sewing the seams on the two short sides, fold the fabric over so that it overlaps as shown in the photo above.  The wrong side should be facing you, and the distance from the top to the bottom folded edges should measure 13".  Secure the side edges with pins.

You can flip open the flap, to check that you have it folded correctly.  Take the time to make sure that your pillow front will show the pattern that you want to end up with.  The pillow front is the bottom most layer in the photo above.  You can adjust the location of the flap to ensure this.

Stitch a half inch seam on the sides, (where you have secured with pins).  You should end up with a seam as shown in the photo above.

Flip the pillow inside out.  You now have a finished pillow cover, with an overlapping flap as shown (otherwise known as an envelope closure).   That overlap is what allows you to insert your pillow and keep it secure without zippers, buttons and what-not so little fingers don't get into trouble.


Flip it over to see the pillow front.  If you've checked on the position of your pattern in the previous step, you should end up with a happy outcome - voila!  One intact firetruck and ambulance!  Stuff your insert and you're done!

For the Blanket

This is the simplest part - just fold in a half inch seam on all 4 sides and stitch.  And there you have it - your finished blanket and pillow set all ready to keep your little one snuggly and warm.

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