Pillowcase Sewing Instructions

Learning how to sew a pillowcase is perhaps the easiest sewing project you can tackle. All that is necessary is the correct size pillow and some pillowcase sewing instructions, so that you can measure the pattern correctly, and a couple of yards of material.

Before sewing your pillowcase, wash the fabric. Fabric often shrinks slightly after the first wash. If you make the pillowcase before washing it, the fabric may bunch and pull after it is washed. To prevent this, take your time and wash and thoroughly dry the fabric before you being to sew.

Choosing Fabric

Silk pillowcases
Silk generally comes to mind when thinking of pillowcases and sheets, but silk is actually not a good choice when it comes to pillowcases. Silk is very slippery, stains easily and should be dry-cleaned.

Linen pillowcases
Linen is an absorbent fabric and will hold the heat. For these reasons it's a good fabric for making pillowcases. However, some linen wrinkles easily and can be very limp. Pillowcases hold up best when they have some substance to them. Be sure of the fabric before you purchase it.

Cotton Pillowcases
In my opinion, good old-fashioned cotton is the best material to use when making a pillowcase. Flannel, which is fluffy and warm, is perfect for a winter pillowcase and 100 percent cotton fabric is cool, perfect for a summer pillowcase.

How to Sew a Pillowcase

Materials You Will Need:
Tape measure
Sewing machine
Contrasting fabric (optional)
Embroidery thread (optional)
Liquid paint (optional)

Use the pillow as a size guide. Lay the pillow on the washed and ironed fabric to get an idea of the size. Use a tape measure for an accurate measurement. Standard pillowcases are about 21 by 32 inches. If making a queen or king size pillowcase, you'll need to readjust the measurements. Body pillows are approximately 21 by 54 inches but can be made to whatever size you prefer.

The pattern will be rectangular. Make it approximately several inches wider than the pillow so that when you turn the edges under and sew them you'll still have plenty of room for the pillow inside the pillowcase. (Most pillowcases allow for about nine inches of expansion once the pillow has been inserted.)

If you want to use a contrasting fabric or color, add a six-inch strip of different fabric on the edge of the pillowcase. The six inches should be included in the length and not added as an additional six inches. If you plan on embroidering or painting a design or name onto the pillowcase, the edge or opening of the pillowcase is the perfect place for it.

Cut the pattern out in either one long piece or two equal pieces. Fold the pattern over or place the two pieces on top of one another. If there is nap on the front and back of the fabric, make sure the fabric is lying with right sides facing one another.

If using two pieces, pin them together and then use a sewing machine. Start at one side and work your way down to the end. Stop and lift the presser foot and turn the material. Sew across the bottom of the pillowcase and then stop again. Lift the presser foot and turn the fabric so that you are now sewing down the third side. Stop. Do not sew the fourth side shut.

When you are finished sewing the three sides, fold down the raw edges at the opening of the pillowcase, iron or pin in place and then fold the edges under once more so that all raw edges are concealed. How far in you fold the fabric depends on how much of a cuff or hem you want on the pillowcase. (Remember, the pillowcase will still be inside out so you will be sewing the finished seam on the inside of the pillowcase. When you turn the pillowcase, the stitching will appear as a hem line.)

When finished the pillowcase should extend about four inches beyond the pillow. When you have pinned down the edges all the way around, place the edging into the sewing machine and finish the opening. As you sew, make sure the stitch is about one half inch from the edge of the edge of the seam.

Turn the pillowcase inside out and iron. Decorate as desired. Make sure you have cardboard inserted into the pillowcase before you begin decorating. Without the cardboard between the front and back of the pillowcase, the paints may penetrate through to the other side and ruin the pillowcase.

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