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.


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!


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.


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


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:


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Flip right side out and admire your pretty new pillowcase!


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

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