diy fabric envelopes for valentine’s day

Yes, it’s an utterly made up holiday. But what’s wrong with making up a reason to tell people around you that you care? Nothing. Especially if you do it with something handmade!

These fabric envelopes are an all-purpose gift. Whether you are celebrating February 14 with friends, family, or your sweetheart, you can do it with these pretty keepsake fabric envelopes.

finished fabric envelopes in three fabrics

This is a three-way tutorial, based on three types of fabric: a cotton print, silk dupioni, and thick and fluffy eco felt.

All three make really pretty ways to present your Valentine’s Day gifts, whether they are love letters, a simple greeting, or a gift card.

pattern for your fabric envelopes

step 1: draft your pattern
This pattern is incredibly simple and can be made in pretty much any dimensions. Draw out your pattern on a bit of posterboard or paper you have laying around (newspaper perhaps? magazines from last month?).

Check out the image above. On my pattern, a = 4 inches and b = 8 inches. Make yours anything you like.

For the cotton and silk envelopes, you’ll need to add a seam allowance as well. I like to use a 3/8″ seam allowance, so that’s what I added to each edge.

double faced satin ribbon

step 2: choose a closure
We’re trying to keep this simple, yes? So we’ll need an envelope closure that is easy and attractive. I hate velcro, and snaps are ugly, and making buttonholes is a PITA, so I chose ribbon closures. I have a ton of ribbon, plus it’s so pretty and colorful!

I used grosgrain ribbon to go with the cotton and the felt, and double faced satin to go with the silk dupioni, for a more posh effect.

cut fabric for fabric envelopes

step 3: cut your fabric
Your next step is to cut the fabric. Use your paper pattern to cut one of whatever fabric you’re using. If you are using the cotton print, you’ll need two pieces of fabric, one for the outside and one for the lining.

attach ribbon to right side of flap

step 4: attach the ribbon
For the cotton and silk envelopes, attach one end of the ribbon to the right side of the fabric at the point of the flap.

Make sure the ribbon is laying down on the fabric, with the other end towards the bottom of the envelope.

finished hems on silk envelope

step 5: finish the edges
The next step for the silk envelope is to finish the raw edges. You’ll do this by folding and pressing down (to the wrong side) a narrow hem on all sides, and then stitching it down.

Fold down the tip of the envelope flap before you fold down the sides. I used a 3/8″ hem, but use a bigger one if it’s easier for you. Use a hot steamy iron to get nice sharp creases in your silk, then sew the hems down in matching thread, making sure to catch the ribbon when you sew the tip of the envelope flap.

topstitching on felt envelope

For the felt bag, it doesn’t really matter which side you attach the ribbon, as felt does not have a “right side.” It’s up to you which becomes the right side when you do the topstitching.

I chose to topstitch so that the pointed tip of the envelope flap was visible, so my ribbon ended up being on the wrong side (it wouldn’t matter either way if I used topstitching thread in my bobbin, but I didn’t).

Topstitch along the angled edges of the flap, and along the envelope bottom.

sew self to lining, leaving an opening at the bottom

step 6: sew together
For the cotton envelope, your next step is to sew the lining to the print. Sew all the way around, leaving at least 2″ along the bottom open.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of that opening, and make sure you don’t sew over the ribbon! Trim the corners and then turn it right side out. Iron flat, making sure all the corners and seams lie nice and flat.

how to neatly finish a seam

Now all three envelopes are ready to be finished! Fold the bottom of the envelope to meet the bottom edge of the flap, and then sew along each side.

See the image above for a nice neat way to finish your seams…bring your top thread to the back side of the fabric using a hand needle, and then tie the thread ends together in a knot. It’s nicer looking than backstitching, and just as secure.

The last step is to fold down the envelope flap, and use a hot iron to flatten the crease…remember to use a press cloth when ironing your eco felt!

DIY fabric envelopes three ways

You’re done! Put your love letters or your Starbucks gift cards or your tickets to Hawaii (or whatever) inside your pretty fabric envelopes, and tie them up with the pretty ribbons.

You make these for any holiday of course, not just Valentine’s Day. Stuff the envelope full of cash for a newly wed couple or a college student, or make several as a super-fancy way to deliver invitations to a swank dinner party. Have fun with it, and let me see pictures of the ones you make!


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