MAKERS HOME fabrics by Natalie Barnes from WINDHAM FABRICS

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pillowcases! a tutorial

pillowcases tutorial 101
I have a wonderful girlfriend who has a wonderful husband
it's his birthday, and I never know what to get him
so once again, and yes, I've done it before
he's getting
two matching pillowcases
thank you to the person who invented this technique
(I did not, and I don't know who did)
I thot I'd share my favorite technique
for a standard 20 x 28 pillowcase

 select two fabrics
one for the body of the pillow, one for the border
if you want a little accent strip, then select three fabrics
(we will not be demonstrating that technique here)
starting with the border fabric, cut 20" x width of fabric
(if you have directional fabric or a fabric with a repeat
and you want to fussy cut the fabric
for your 10" strips, you will require more fabric)
turn the cutting mat not the fabric
(another big tip of mine - for accuracy, do not move the fabric, move the cutting mat!!)
and trim to 21" wide
 hey, look at that!
it's a NO WASTE project
keep your selvedge and make a selvedge block
make a coaster, make a hot pad, make a block for a quilt
 now cut this 21" wide by 20" long piece into two (2) 10" pieces
 with your selected pillowcase body fabric
you will cut two 27" lengths of fabric
 again, my tip for fast pillowcases
fold this piece of fabric in half
then cut it to be 21" wide
you know I am always trying to give helpful hints
for accuracy
but this project of simple pillowcases are two pieces (three if you want an accent strip)
and they are big pieces
I would never suggest you cut quilt square pieces
in this manner
 take one pillowcase body and one pillowcase border
open them both up 
body is 27" long x 42" wide
border is 10" long x 42" wide
put the pillowcase border right side DOWN onto the pillowcase body right side UP
 when you pin, be sure to pin close to the edge
 you are going to roll the body of the pillowcase towards the border
and make sure your 'roll' is no more than about two inches in diameter
and snuggled up close to that pinned edge
 "open" up, or lift the border edge that is not pinned
and continue rolling towards that border edge
 until you have rolled all the way to the pinned edge
 now place the border, right side down, over the rolled up body of the pillowcase
 and tuck that bottom width UNDER the roll

 you're going to line up the two edges of the border, with the rolled up body of the pillowcase
in the center
and pin all three layers together
 now, clean up that machine that you love so much
and that lets you make so much love to give to others
(get your manual out and get personal with your machine!)
 stitch along pinned edge using a 3/8" seam
and...ALWAYS remove your pins as you sew!
 here comes the magic - I know there are a lot of pictures, and a lot of 'steps'
but this part is worth the whole tutorial!
start pulling on that rolled up pillowcase body 
 you're turning it inside out!  
it makes for nice clean borders every time
 finished edges on the inside and the outside of your pillowcase
without an additional seam or having to finish it by hand
 Here's the other tip that makes for accurate, clean, tidy, neat sewing
press, press, press
every step, every seam
every moment spent pressing is time you save when you're sewing
i promise

now we're going to sew the seams
 now you're going to fold your pillowcase in half
matching the border seams
and with wrong sides (of body) together
stitch along the raw edges of the side and bottom of the pillowcase
using a 1/4"  seam 
 press, then turn inside out
 making sure the seams are pushed "out" and flat
(if you pressed carefully, this will be the case)
another hint
start sewing this seam
about 3/4" from the top edge of the border
then sew in reverse to the edge
and sew forward again
your threads will be buried in the pillowcase
not out at the edge, where they could unravel
and you won't have that backstitch/backstay bulk at the edge of your pillowcase
but rather it will be inside of your pillowcase
 now continue to sew just bigger than a 1/4" seam - probably 3/8"
and you will be encapsulating the raw edge of the last seam you stitched
or, as they say, boxing it in
turn right side out
and you have yourself a pillowcase
repeat these steps
and you will have a pair of pillowcases


please go to
to purchase the fabrics used in this project


Jill said...

I love making pillowcases!! Thanks, Natalie!!

mascanlon said...

I love this works so quick and the pillowcases always come out so nice...thanks for the tip on starting seam 1/2in down, good idea and one I never thought of!

natalie. beyond the reef said...

Here's another little hint...for a french seam 'corner', I take one diagonal stitch before turning that 90 degree corner...just to take up a little bulk...I'm just full of little hints like that!!! ;)

Snoodles said...

I've wanted to try this project, but never had the always seemed confusing. I think now I will give it a go! Thanks for the tips to make it easier!