How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Kevin Brown

How to Sew a Pillowcase: Two Simple Methods

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have an aversion to bed-in-a-bag sets. It’s too much match-y-ness for my taste. (Although, if coordinated fabrics make your heart sing, far be it from me to judge. Sing away, heart.

Sing away.) Sewing your own pillowcases is a fast and easy way to break up the prepackaged bedding sets and add personality.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods
How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

This tutorial will show you two ways to sew a pillowcase: one with a single piece of fabric and the second with a contrasting cuff.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Method 1: No-Frills Pillowcase

This is the easiest and most straightforward method of sewing a pillowcase. It will take you about 5 minutes, or ten if you take a couple of text breaks. Begin with a yard of 45” cotton quilting fabric.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Fold the fabric with the selvedge edges aligned and right sides touching. Identify the non-folded edges as sides A, B, and C.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Starting at the folded corner on Side A, stitch a 1/2” seam towards the selvedge corner of Side A.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

When you reach the selvedge corner, turn the fabric and move your machine needle to sew a 1-1/2” seam along Side B. You could’ve trimmed this off beforehand, but as I mentioned, this is a basic and fast pillowcase sewing method. No need to trim it off. The selvedge edges won’t fray, which is a bonus.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

You have two seams, one on Side A and the other on Side B. Side C, on the other hand, will stay open. You might want to consider doing a zig-zag stitch on the edge of Side C to prevent fraying. Although this example didn’t do it, it’s a good idea for long-term use of your pillowcase.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Fold about 5” from Side C. Ensure it’s an even 5” all around. Pin if desired.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Sew an even seam to hold the 5” cuff in place around Side C.

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How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

If you’re feeling fancy, you can sew a second seam. This is optional, mostly because I felt guilty about not zig-zagging in the first place.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

With all the seams in place, you can flip the pillowcase.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Go ahead and turn the pillowcase right sides out. Press here for crisp, wrinkle-free bedding.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Here is what the cuff looks like. You’ve finished the pillowcase. It was painless, right?

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Great job! If you want to sew a pillowcase with trim on the cuff or a contrasting cuff, read on for Method #2: Burrito-style pillowcase method.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Method 2: Burrito-Style Pillowcase

Discover why this method is called burrito-style, but don’t be deceived by the name. This method is easy but requires you to trust that it’ll work out. It’s great for a pillowcase with coordinating/contrasting fabrics for the case and cuff or to add an accent trim.

It’s especially perfect for kids’ pillowcases, allowing for contrast fabric. Start with 3/4 yard of regular cotton quilting fabric, 45″ of trim (which could be a 2″ wide piece of fabric pressed in half lengthwise), and a 1/4 yard of cotton quilting fabric of the same or different print.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Lay out your 1/4 yard piece, unfolded, with the right side facing up.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Lay your 3/4 yard piece on top of the 1/4 piece, aligning the top raw edges. Both pieces should be facing up. Just do it.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Next, align your trim piece with the top two edges of the 1/4 and 3/4 pieces. The raw edge of the trim should align with the top edges.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Unless your trim piece is very thin, aligning it with the top edge and sewing a 1/4″ seam would erase the trim. In this case, align your trim piece 1/4″ down from the edges of the 1/4 and 3/4 pieces.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Now roll up the 3/4 piece until it reaches halfway up the 1/4 piece.

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How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Looks like a burrito, right? That’s why it’s called a pillowcase-making style.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Grab the corner or lower edge of your 1/4 piece.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Fold the tortilla upwards to align the edges.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

To ensure a well-crafted sandwich, pin it together layer by layer. Start by pinning the following edges, from bottom to top: 1/4 top edge right side up, 3/4 top edge right side up, trim edge raw side out (toward raw edges), and 1/4 bottom edge right side down. Got it?

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Work down the length of your pieces, pinning it in place. Make sure you catch the trim piece, especially if it doesn’t align precisely with the raw edges.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Plan on a 1/4″ or 1/2″ seam, whichever is most comfortable. Stay consistent all the way down your now-loaded burrito.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Sew the pinned line with a straight stitch.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Go back and zig-zag the raw edges now to prevent fraying.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Now you’re going to turn your burrito inside-out.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Gently remove the smaller burrito (3/4 piece) from the larger one. You can push the larger one down as you remove the smaller one, but find the method that suits you best.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

You’ll see your trim piece emerge. Keep going. (Note: You might be wondering about the trim pieces used in this tutorial – lace and pom-pom. I had just enough of each to be the trim piece for one pillow, but I wanted to do two pillowcases and have them match if necessary. So, I used the pom-pom for half the trim and the lace for the other half, stitching them together in the center. Confused?

That’s why I didn’t bring it up earlier. You hopefully aren’t dealing with this issue.)

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

When unrolled, place your pillowcase fabric flat and right side up on the ground.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Fold the pillowcase sideways so that the cuff edges line up, with the right sides touching.

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How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Align the top folded ends of your cuff together; this is more important than the trim, although your trim hopefully lines up well enough on its own.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Starting at the folded cuff ends and keeping the selvedge edges aligned, sew a seam down the side of your pillowcase.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Turn your machine to the bottom corner and sew across the now-bottom of your pillowcase.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

While you’re here, sew a zig-zag seam along the raw edges of your pillowcase to eliminate fraying. You could use a serger, if available. Lucky you.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Trim excess trim pieces.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

To make your pillowcase, turn it right sides out. Done.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Pull the new pillowcase onto the pillow and throw it onto the bed.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

Making your own pillowcases allows you to mix patterns and colors on your bedding without relying on bed-in-a-bag. It’s a creative way to add variety to your bedding.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

The trim switches from pom-pom to lace, and the connection is on the fold. I like the versatility of having two trim options.

How to Sew a Pillowcase Two Simple Methods

We hope you enjoy creating your own pillowcases and bedding options. Read about sewing your own duvet cover, a bolster pillow, and bed-making ideas.

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