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Friday, June 27, 2014

How to add an envelope to the back of your quilts.

Since I made my nieces quilt I have had questions about how to add an envelope to the back of a quilt. This is a nice way to add information about the quilt you've made or to have a place to put a fabric letter for someone special. On the inside of the envelope I would also put a permanent label about your quilt just in case the fabric letter or information sheet gets lost over the years. You can see the picture below of this.
Here is the images of the quilt as I posted in a previous blog post.

On to the instructions for the envelope.  Mind you I made this envelope very quickly and you should take more time so that it is really special and made nicely.

So here is an envelope I found that I liked the size of.

I unfolded the envelope carefully so I could use it as a pattern

I gathered fabric that matched the back of the quilt however you can choose any fabric.  I folded the fabric right sides together and made sure once folded it would be large enough for my envelope pattern I made above.

I pinned down my pattern to the fabric and cut out my fabric envelope.  You will have two pattern pieces that will already be right sides together.

I then took the paper pattern piece off the top of the pattern and clipped curves and corners and pinned it together to be ready to sew.

Next, using my quarter seam quilt foot on my sewing machine, I sewed all the way around the envelope but left and opening at one flat (not curved) side that is about 1 and 1/2 inches so I will be able to turn it right side out.

Hemostats are a great tool for turning things right side out.  I placed the hemostats into the opening I left in the envelope and grabbed the corner of the envelope furthest away from the opening and clipped them shut.  I then pulled the hemostats back out of the envelope which caused the envelope to be turned right side out.

Using a stick or some blunt object like the one below and run it along the inside of the envelope to finish turning it completely right side out so that it looks just like your paper pattern.

As you can see, I left my opening at the end of one of the points because I decided for this point to be flat rather than pointed.  I will close the opening by using the foot you see here and with my needle all the way to the left so that when I stitch all the way around the envelope I will only be less than 1/8 inch away from the edge.  This is an edge stitch.

Now that you've sewn all the way around the envelope you will now iron the envelope by folding in one side of the envelope in at a time and ironing a crease.  Then fold the top and bottom of the envelope in and iron creases.  You will have an envelope with creases like in the image below when you have completed your ironing.  You will later use those creases to hand sew the envelope to the back of your quilt.  

Choose a button you love and measure it to see how large a button hole you will need to make.  I used my embroidery machine and made a decorative button hole.  If you have one you can too.

Mark your button hole placement on the top flap of your envelope as shown below.  I used a frixion pen for this as you can iron the mark off once you have completed the button hole.

You will sew the button to the bottom flap of the envelope leaving the side flaps free.  When the envelope is buttoned closed the side flaps will stay in place, there is no need to secure them unless you want to and then you would sew the button to all there flaps with the bottom flap on top of both side flaps.

To make your letter as I did in the image at the top.  You can use freezer paper that you've cut or purchased that is 8.5x11. 

 Starch your white or light colored fabric you intend on using for the letter very well then iron it onto the freezer paper using a wool setting.  Once it is ironed well to your freezer paper you can type up your letter in a word processing program on your computer and place the fabric with the freezer paper into your computer (generally fabric side facing down) and print your letter onto your fabric.
You can finish your letter the same way I did and that is cut another piece of fabric the same size as your letter (it can be decorative fabric) and right sides together sew these two together leaving a hole in one edge to turn it right side out.  Then as you did for the envelope edge stitch the letter all the way around closing the opening you used to turn the letter right side out.

Hope you enjoyed learning how to place a special letter on the back of a special quilt!


  1. That was cool. I'll have to try that trick on a quilt.
    Thanks for sharing