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Making Pillowcases

Pillowcases are the very simplest of sewing projects. They're also quite inexpensive. Mine cost about $3 apiece for materials.

It takes one yard of 44" fabric to make one pillowcase, if you cut and sew efficiently. Two yards is a bit easier to work with, but you'll have leftover fabric. I usually buy extra fabric, particularly with cotton, to allow for shrinkage.

I like to use a contrasting fabric for the hem, but it isn't necessary.

Wash the fabric before cutting or sewing the pillowcase. I usually wash my fabric one temperature setting hotter than I will wash the finished product. I would wash these completed cases at Cold/cold setting, so I washed the fabric in Warm/Warm. Running the initial wash at a higher temperature increases the amount of shrinkage, which is a good thing. You don't want the pillowcases shrinking after you sew them.

I took these photos when I made a doll-sized pillowcase (my cutting lines were a bit crooked, and I didn't worry about it since it was a doll pillowcase. Ignore that. Make yours straight). You can follow my directions exactly, which make a queen-sized pillow case, or you can measure a ready-made case at home, and use those dimensions. Don't forget to add an inch to the width and to the length for seams, if you use your own measurements.

Cut fabric.

After you've washed and ironed the fabric (never skip the ironing) cut out:

If you use one yard of fabric, you will have to cut out two 20"x32" rectangles for the pillowcase body (the photo shows a single piece of fabric). Follow the instructions as shown. When you get to the step where you sew the sides of the case together, sew the bottom together as well.

Attaching hem.

Lay out the large rectangle (or two rectangles) right side down.

Take the two smaller rectangles and lay them, right side down, on either end of the large rectangle. Line up the edges. Sew the strips onto the end of the pillowcase body.

I like to trim the seam and zig-zag the edges. This finishes the seam off, prevents it from raveling, and gives a more professional look.

Folding the hem.

Take the pillowcase to the ironing board.

Place the large rectangle right side down on the ironing board. Fold the small rectangles up, so that you can see the face of the fabric on the hem. Press the seam firmly to flatten it.

Folding the hem.

Turn the entire pillowcase over, so that you can see the right side of the body fabric, and the wrong side of the hem fabric.

Fold down 1/4" along the top edge of the hem piece.

Iron it flat.

Folding the hem.

Fold the hem piece in half, bringing the top edge down to cover the seam between the hem and the body.

Iron the crease firmly.

Sew the free edge onto the pillowcase body.

Folding the pillowcase.

Fold the pillowcase in half, right side together.

Carefully line up the top edge of the hem.

Sew the side seams together. If you've used two rectangles, this is the time to sew the bottom together as well.

Finishing the case.

Trim and finish the seams.

Iron the pillowcase flat, paying special attention to the corners.

Turn the pillowcase right side out.

Poke the corners out into complete square shapes. I use the tips of my closed scissors to do this.

Completed project.

Iron the completed pillowcase.

Make sure the seam are completely unfolded before pressing, otherwise you'll iron them into an accordian shape.

Put the pillowcase on your pillow.

Celebrations and rituals in family life.

Christmas 2002
Our family's daily Christmas activities for 2002.

Christmas 2003
Our family's daily Christmas activities for 2003.

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