Sew a Pillowcase in Standard, Queen, King Sizes or a Travel Pillow

Sew a Simple Pillowcase
Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
  • 01 of 05

    Why Make Your Own Pillowcase?

    Sew your own pillowcase to have the size, color, or print you want and to save money.

    Consider making pillowcases as a gift. Kids and teens love having things with themes or their favorite topic. Consider sports and space print fabrics for the guys. Girls love flowers and cartoon heroes.

    Make your favorite college student a pillowcase that follows a theme of their course of study. Consider embroidering a name across the hem of the pillowcase for travel pillows. There will be no more arguing about...MORE who owns which pillow.

    Many people like a satin pillowcase because it helps preserve their hairstyle. Finding an affordable satin pillowcase is not a problem when you are sewing your own.

    Since sewing a pillowcase is all straight sewing, this is an excellent project for a beginner or for teaching someone to sew.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Materials Needed to Make a Pillowcase

    Sew a Simple Pillowcase
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • Fabric (for amount, see below for the size pillowcase you want to make)
    • Matching thread
    • Measuring tools and cutting tools that will help to keep your fabric square 
    • Scissors
    • A sewing machine (or hand sewing)
    • An iron and pressing surface

    Fabric Requirements

    All amounts listed below are for preshrunk fabric. Always preshrink washable fabric. The direction of the fabric is only dictated by a one-way print. An allover design is the best use of the fabric. Cut your fabric to the size needed, cutting excess...MORE from the selvedge edge of the fabric. Square your fabric to start.

    • Travel Size (12x16-inch) Pillowcase: 24x25 inches (3/4 yard of 45-inch-wide fabric makes 2)
    • Standard Size (20x26-inch) Pillowcase: 40x40 inches (1 1/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric)
    • Queen Size (20x30-inch) Pillowcase: 40x44 inches (1 1/4 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric)
    • King Size (20x36-inch) Pillowcase: 40x50-inches (1 1/2 yard of 45-inch-wide fabric)
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  • 03 of 05

    Sew the Seams

    sewing side seams on a pillowcase
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • Fold the cut fabric in half, matching the longest edges to each other.
    • Pin the longest edge and one end, matching the edges.
    • Using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew a seam on the pinned edges.
    • Apply a seam finish to the seam allowance. 
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  • 04 of 05

    Hemming the Pillowcase

    How to sew a nice straight hem on a pillowcase
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • Press the sewn seams as they were sewn.
    • Open the pillowcase and place it on an ironing board or pressing tool.
    • Press under 1/4 inch to the wrong side of the fabric. A beginner can be helped with this process by first sewing a line of stitching 1/4 inch from the raw edge and then using the line of stitching as a pressing guide to turn the fabric on the line of stitching.
    • Turn the main hem under by 4 inches so the raw edge will be enclosed.
    • Optional: Place embroidery on the body of the pillowcase...MORE hemmed edge before sewing the hem in place so that the back of the embroidery will be hidden inside the hem.
    • Sew the hem in place by stitching as close to the turned-under edge as possible. In the photo, the inside edge of the left edge of the presser foot is a guide, riding along the edge of the pressed edge and the needle position is at the farthest possible left setting, which leaves the stitches on the edge of the fold.
    • Turn the pillowcase right side out and press.
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  • 05 of 05

    Ideas for Embellishing a Pillowcase

    Ways to embellish pillowcases
    Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
    • Use embroidery. One side of a plain color pillowcase can be embellished with a fun or decorative embroidery design. A favorite for bridal showers is a pillowcase that is embroidered with "I Have a Headache" on one side and "Tonight's the Night" on the other side using glow-in-the-dark-thread.
    • Explore quilt stores for a wide array of fabric choices.
    • Buy sheets on clearance to make your own pillowcases.
    • Before you assemble the pillowcase, find the center front and applique a...MORE design on one side of the pillowcase. Only do one side so that the other side remains smooth for sleeping.
    • Sew the hem in place using a decorative stitch that is built into your sewing machine. Many of us have all kinds of built-in options that we never use. This is a great time to use those decorative stitches.
    • If you're a little short on fabric, consider making a baby hem and adding wide flat trim on top of the baby hem.
    • Look at different types of fabric. a quality flannel makes wonderful pillowcases and many people like a lightweight stretch-fabric pillowcase.