pretty quick pillowcase tutorial (& bonus french seam instructions)

I guess you can read that anyway you’d like – this tutorial creates a pretty pillowcase, and it’s also pretty quick! And a bit addicting too. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to just keep on making them.

pillowcases2

As I said in the previous post, I based my measurements for Whitney’s pillowcase on a pillowcase that we have here. I don’t really know what a standard pillowcase size is, but these measurements result in a pillowcase that measures about 20″ x 29″. If you have a larger pillow, you may need to adjust your measurements accordingly. What’s nice about pillowcases is that the measurements don’t have to be so exact – there’s a pretty good chance that even if you’re shy an inch or so of fabric, you’ll still be able to stuff your pillow in its new case!

Materials:

1 yard of fabric per pillow (Note: if you want the cuff of the pillow to be a different fabric, you can reduce the main fabric to 3/4 of a yard, and add in 1/4 yard of a coordinating fabric for the cuff)

1.5″ x width of fabric for the trim (or, alternatively, you could use other trim here – I used rick rack for these pillowcases).

Note: For these pillowcases I used Anna Maria Horner flannels, which are a standard 42/44″ width. All fabrics have been prewashed.

2nd note: This works best with a non-directional print, due to the way it’s sewn together.

Let’s make a pillowcase!

Cut your fabric pieces. For each pillowcase you’ll need to cut one piece that’s 9″ by the width of fabric (this is for the cuff), and one piece that’s 26″ by the width of fabric (main body of the pillowcase). Leave the selvedges on the fabric. This will give you an extra bit of width, and they’ll be hidden when we finish the pillowcase with french seams later on. Cut the fabric you’re using for trim to 1.5″ by width of fabric.

pillowcase1

Prepare your trim by folding it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

pillowcase2

Next we’ll sew the trim and cuff to the main body. To do this, stack these three fabrics together in this order — on the bottom, open up the 9″ cuff piece and place it face up. Next, align the long edge of the 26″ main body piece on top of the cuff piece, also face up, matching the selvedges. On top of this, align the raw edge of the trim and pin all three layers together. You might be able to see this better in the photo below:

pillowcase3

Sew the entire length, sewing all three layers together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

pillowcase4

Now if you lift up the fabric for the cuff you’ll have a little something that looks like this –

pillowcase5

Press the seam up, towards the cuff fabric. Then iron the top edge of the cuff under 1/4″.

Next, we’ll make the actual cuff by folding down the ironed edge to meet the trim. Leave about 1/4″ of the trim showing. Pin in place and iron the cuff edge.

pillowcase6

Top stitch along this edge using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, covering the stitch line you made when sewing on the trim.

It should be looking a bit more like a pillowcase now, and we’ll finish it up by sewing together the body of the pillowcase. As I mentioned in the beginning, I use french seams so there aren’t any exposed raw edges.

In order to do this, you’ll fold the pillowcase in half, wrong sides together, aligning the edges. Pin along both edges, making sure that the cuff edges match.

pillowcase7

Sew along the two edges, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim your corners, then flip inside out. Press both seams so you have a nice straight edge.

Sew these two edges again, this time using a 3/8″ seam allowance. This will enclose the raw edges inside the new seam.

pillowcase8

Flip right side out and admire your pretty new pillowcase!

pillowcases

This entry was posted in Household Sewing - bags, napkins, pillows, Tutorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

126 Responses to pretty quick pillowcase tutorial (& bonus french seam instructions)

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    The stack of Anna Maria Horner pillow cases is so pretty I want to sew some up right now! :) Thanks!

  3. 3
    Holly says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the great tutorial! I so need to buy these fabrics already! =)

  4. 4
    amylouwho says:

    awesome! I am working on pillows for my bed this week and need to make a couple of these! Perfect timing! Thanks!

  5. 5
    Aunt LoLo says:

    What a great tute! And THANK YOU for the easy French Seam tutorial. Somehow, I couldn’t wrap my brain around it before….

  6. 6
    Katie B says:

    Thank you! I’ll be trying this soon.

  7. 7
    Georgia says:

    This is great- thanks for sharing!

  8. 8
    Rebecca says:

    Gorgeous. Thanks for taking the time to out together a tutorial. I just love that Fortune print.

  9. 9
    Charity says:

    Thank you! I’m definitely going to give this a try! :)

  10. 10

    I adore making pillowcases… Like you say they’re so much fun and sooooo special! it’s a gift you know that someone will use. best of all the fabric options are unlimited!

  11. 11
    Pam says:

    I’m so glad you posted this tutorial! I saw your finished pillowcases and thought, “now I have to figure out how to make them”. Thanks!

  12. 12
    Donna Raagas says:

    Great pictures to illustrate your construction. Makes it easy to follow along and copy your projects. Great p+s (pictures + stories)!

  13. 13
    Leanne says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am now adding “make a bazillion beautiful pillowcases” to my to do list.

  14. 14
    Millissa G says:

    Thank you sooooo much!!! I can’t wait to give them a try!

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Jenny says:

    Yay! Thank you! I’m going to cut fabric for these right now…

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Melissa says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I am so inspired.

  19. 19
    Rita E says:

    This is great! I’m a visual learner so the pictures are a BIG help … thanks!!

  20. 20
    Crystal says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial! They are really cute! I will have to make some!

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Corky says:

    Ashley, have you seen the new method of doing the pillowcase so there are no unfinished seams at all? it is an amazing method and easy to do. You roll the case up into the edging and when it is turned inside out the seams are all finished. Add the French seams and Voila! Here is a good tute: http://www.countrycrossroadsquilters.com/pillowcase_instructions.pdf

    • 23
      admin says:

      Hi Corky,
      Someone sent me a link to a tutorial the other day, but I had already made these pillowcases using this method. It looks like a cool method though – thanks for linking to it! (always nice to have another option!!)

  23. 24
    Joanna says:

    Love these! I can’t wait to get some snuggly flannel and try this out!

  24. 25
  25. 26
    Donna says:

    I’ve always zigzaged the edges because I didn’t understand French seaming instructions, but you’ve made it so simple. Thanks a bunch!

  26. 27
    Karen N says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.

  27. 28
    Terra says:

    So easy, I’m never going to buy another pillow case again!

  28. 29
    Julie says:

    Great tutorial Ashley. Thank you.

  29. 30
    Roseanne says:

    Pardon my silly question please… But am I right in assuming these pillowcases are just open ended without the bit that you tuck your pillow into? Or is that somehow done in the initial cuff bit? thanks

    • 31
      admin says:

      Roseanne,
      yes, these are just simple pillowcases – no extra fabric flap to cover the pillow (I never bother to use those even when my pillowcase has them so I didn’t include it in this tutorial)

  30. 32
    Andie says:

    How easy and fun! My daughter has requested a satin pillowcase as she’s heard they prevent major bedhead. I’ll try this method with some poly satin and see how it goes. Thanks!

  31. 33
    Bridget says:

    Thanks for a great tutorial !! Cant wait to make one. Enjoy reading your blog. Your quilts are so inspiring. I am in the market to upgrade my sewing machine & am a bit overwhelmed. Think I have read you have a Pfaff machine?? If so what model? Would love any advise on what to buy. THANKS !!!

  32. 34
    Nova says:

    great tutorial, thanks for sharing.
    x

  33. 35
    Amber Polk says:

    I love the fabric! You made it look so easy! I’m giving this a try this week!!

  34. 36
    Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! My son is moving from crib to a big boy bed and to make the change easier I makeing him a pillow. I found Brown Bear Brown Bear flannel! Hope it turns out as cute as yours

  35. 37
    Rachel says:

    I love this! Your pillows cases are gorgeous. Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

  36. 38
    Claudia says:

    Thank you ! This is exactly what I was looking for!

  37. 39
    Jody says:

    Goodness me, how beautiful :).

  38. 40
    Arabella says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! Love the pillowcases… they look fab!

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  40. 41
    Wendy says:

    Holy sheets, Batman! Now that I’ve made myself a bedskirt, pillow cases are up next!
    Thanks for the tute…

  41. 42
    Trina says:

    Hey Ashley,

    This is a great tutorial. I’ve made one pillowcase and have the second one cut, pinned and ready to go. (The second one is sure to turn out better than the first since I’ve read all the instructions now!) I posted the pictures, and linked to this tutorial, on my blog thegallopinghorse.wordpress.com. I also posted pictures of a quilt in progress inspired by your Hope Valley series of baby quilts. (Hopefully you aren’t embarrassed by it!) Thanks for having such an awesome blog!

    Trina

  42. 43
    whatupduck says:

    Just made my first one and ohhh, did it turn out lovely! Such a great tutorial and so easy I may never buy another pillowcase. I’m sure I’ll be linking you to my website real soon. But I have to send my daughter the pillowcases before I post ;-) I little care package treat for her and I can’t spoil the surprise!

  43. 44
    Holly says:

    Thanks for this easy-to-follow tutorial! I made my first ever pillowcase on the weekend following your instructions and I’m so pleased with the results! French seams are so satisfying!

  44. 45
    Lori says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Just made two pillowcases in Liberty Tana Lawn…wonderful, easy instructions for perfectly polished pillowcases!!

  45. 46
    Carmen says:

    Your tutorials are stinkin’ awesome!!

  46. 47
    Gail says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’m going to make up a few of these to replace the pillowcases that were stolen when our house got broken into in December. Apparently they used the pillowcases to stash the loot in. Now I can replace them with something even better–handmade!

  47. 48
    Wallis Bolz says:

    Hello,

    This is a good pillowcase construction method if you are using a cord trim with a lip as the accent piece. Thank you. What do you mean by trimming the corners before you sew the second seam?

    Best Wallis

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  49. 49
    Lynnet says:

    I love this tutorial. I’m working on a quilt for my daughter and this would be just the thing to finish out her room! Simple construction methods easily explained, I can do it!

  50. 50
    ebethsha says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I just used it to make pretty cuffs for my new pyjama pants. :-)

  51. Pingback: I Heart My Girls « Little Blue Cottage

  52. 51
    judy in carefree says:

    There is a way to make this so there are no exposed seams and no topstitching…it’s all in the pinning and folding.

  53. 52

    These are my number one little kid gift. I love the look of french seams but am lazy and use my serger. Great tutorial!

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  55. 53
    Leslie says:

    These are gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial!

  56. Pingback: Pretty & Quick Pillowcases How-To: {Sewing} : TipNut.com

  57. 54
    Kimmie says:

    Thank you for showing me (us) with such great visuals. The photos helped hugely with understanding how the trim was to be attached.

    As soon as we settle in I’d love to do this sewing project with my kids. We have a bit of jetlag from our adoption to Ethiopia.

    By the way, we love VT…we have a cabin in Bradford!

    Nice to meet you…thank you again.

    Kimmie
    mama to 8
    one homemade and 7 adopted

  58. 55
    Ti says:

    wow, great tutorial and very clear instructions and pictures too, good for me as beginner. I’m going to make this soon! Thanks for sharing ^_^ & greetings from Melbourne- Aussie.

  59. Pingback: Unique Craft and Project Ideas » Blog Archive » Quick Pillowcase

  60. 56
    Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the tutorial. It helped me make a set.

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  63. 57

    Thank you for this great tutorial. I have decided to make pillowcases for my grandkids at Christmas as a new tradition. I hope it is ok… I posted one of your pics (giving you credit of course) with a link back to here for others to find this great tutorial. Thank you again!!

    Grammie Marcia

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  65. 58
    Nina says:

    Very beautiful pillowcase. Love them.

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  67. 59
    CJ says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial!! I am teaching two young girls to sew and this was their third project. We didn’t put in the trim but all else just as you have instructed. They were so pleased with their projects and are going to give them for Christmas gifts.

  68. 60
    Amy @DYKTMP? says:

    YES! I am making a pillowcase for my sister too! And my brother. This is such a easy tutorial. So my siblings are twins, of course one a boy and the other a girl. I have to make the pillowcases fit their personalities. BUT whats nice about that french seam is I can take a little fabric from each and swap it. That way they are unique but share some qualities… just like twins! SO thanks for that tutorial! hehe VERY pretty blog btw. I am definitely going to take a look around, become a follower, that sort of thing! Cheers

  69. 61
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  72. 63
    Wen says:

    WOW! My daughter and niece use the little rice heat packs and they needed new covers for them. I used this pillow case pattern idea to cover it, it was amazingly easy, quick, and adorably cute! Thanks for posting!

  73. 64
    Lana says:

    Hi Ashley,
    Check out my blog…I used this tutorial today and made some lovely little pillow cases for my guest room! I love that you put these up! They are so fun, and since I am “nesting” not for a baby but for Spring, they were perfect!
    Hope all is well!

  74. Pingback: And She Scores! | alottastitches

  75. 65
    ProfSharon says:

    Thanks for the clear sewing instructions. I had learned to do this several years ago and couldn’t quite remember the steps — your photos were a good reminder.

  76. 66
    Barbara Whitescarver says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I love how it is designed to look like piping. Your fabrics are so pretty.

  77. 67
    Karen says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I just finished several pillowcases that will be going to US soilders using your pattern. They turned out beautifully.

  78. Pingback: The World Surrounding Me » Blog Archive » Thinking about pillows

  79. 68
    Jessica says:

    finally used your tutorial, came together great! Thanks

  80. 69
    JLeong says:

    These were so fun and easy to make! I’m glad I tried the french seam on scrap fabric first though! Thanks for the tutorial.

  81. 71
    Claudette Gant-Blunt says:

    REMINDS ME OF THE PILLOWCASES OF MY YOUTH…NICE!!!!

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  85. 72
    Natasha says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve commented before, but I just made my second pillow case from this tutorial today, and it is perfect. So easy and gorgeous! Thanks again!

  86. 73

    Luv these pillowcases these are so cute and easy to make

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  91. 74
    ktmade says:

    I didn’t see a place to email you, but I wanted to tell you thanks for the great tutorial and let you know that I linked to it and used a picture (and linked back to you) for a post I did on sewing pillowcases to send to a pediatrics ward in Rwanda. Thanks again!!

    You can see my post at http://www.ktmade.com/2012/02/pillowcases-for-good.html.

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  94. 75
    Sue says:

    I love this tutorial…I have been making simple pillowcases out of top sheets left from set where the bottom has worn out and paired them with plain colored sheets to but am looking forward to trying this method of finishing..it looks more polished than my simple fold over hem..thanks for the great info

  95. 76
    Amber says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I made some of these tonight with a first time sewer friend of mine and it was a great project for her. Our three girls love their pillowcases!

  96. 77
    LaDonna says:

    I love, love, love the trim! They look so professional. And you did an awesome job on the tutorial & pictures. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  98. 78
    angie craft says:

    just did up 3 of these…love,love,love them….never buying a boring pillowcase ever again!

  99. 79
    katie says:

    thank you! such a nice tutorial and i have to admit….i’m a little addicted to making these~

    happy weekending!

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  101. 80
    Joan H says:

    I have used this great pattern for 3 cases and I can’t thank you enough for it. I really LOVE it.

  102. 81
    Teri Ralph says:

    I’ve been looking for a great pillowcase pattern or tutorial for a while. I love this tutorial and don’t think I would have any problems making a set or two for everyone in my family in no time!! Thanks!!!

  103. 82
    Katina Chapman says:

    Can anyone tell me how to print the instructions for future use. For some reason I can’t find a print icon anywhere? Growing old sometimes is so….frustrating.

  104. 83
    Mrs.T says:

    I am a beginner and have become addicted to making these! Thanks so much for sharing :-)

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  111. 84
    deltadawn1977 says:

    I made mine out of halloween fabric, using a
    orange cuff and a black trim. The grandchildren loved them for their trick n treat bags. For valentine day I got the sexy stud muffin fabric and made them for my gal friends, we are all in our seventy’s, but can still dream…..the ladies loved them.

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  114. 86
    Lori says:

    Hi! I am loving this tutorial! I’m making a set of pillowcases for each of my sisters and my mom! I have a question though – when I am top stitching the cuff over the trim, it seems it’s pulling a bit, which ends up making the front fabric a bit “ahead” of the inner fabric, does anyone have any tips to prevent this from happening?

    Thank you!!

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  116. 87
    Rebecca says:

    Maybe I’m having a senior moment but how when does the bottom seam of the pillowcase get sewn? I must be missing something. I see how the sides are sewn in french seams but when is the bottom done? thanks Need a reply asap s I’m making them now for gifts. Thanks.

  117. 88
    Tina says:

    Thank you for posting this! I followed the directions and made two beautiful pillowcases for my daughter.
    I can’t wait to make more!

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  119. 89
    Kristan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. I made my first one today and it turned out great!

  120. 90
    catherine golden says:

    This is my go to pillow case tute! I love it and have used it so many times. I am trying to figure out if I could use the trim/cuff technique on a throw pillow instead of the typical binding technique. But not sure I can figure out the corners, probably will not work although I could glue on the skinny trim to the front of the pill cover and then do then sew on the wider binding (cuff section)to the back and even do the mitered corners. Hmmmm, will have to see….Thanks!
    Cat

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  122. 91
    Martha Smith says:

    Your method is mine too. I’ve made many pillowcases this way and am astonished at what other people do to make the job more complicated. I work in a specialty fabric shop and have heard many sewing students worry about how to make pillowcases. If I get a chance, I send them to your site. Many thanks for a great explanation.

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