Pillowcases can be a fun project to sew, even for beginners and kids! In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a pillowcase in just 15 minutes using either a regular sewing machine or a serger.
Make a new set of pillowcases for your bed, stitch some up for a gift or gather your friends and sew pillowcases for charity!
Learn how to make a pillowcase with the burrito pillowcase method in this tutorial.
Materials for a pillowcase
- 3/4 yard (27″ x width of fabric from selvage to selvage) of the main fabric
- 1/4 yard (9″ x width of fabric from selvage to selvage) of coordinating fabric for the cuff
- 2″ x width of fabric (from selvage to selvage) strip of solid fabric for accent, pressed in half lengthwise to make a 1″ folded strip
Directions for how to make a pillowcase:
Step 1: Lay out the fabrics for your pillowcase.
Layer the fabrics in front of you as follows:
- Place the 9″ coordinating fabric right-side up.
- On top of that, place the 27″ main fabric right-side up, aligning the top raw edges.
- On the very top, place the folded accent strip, so that the raw edges are aligned with the top raw edges of the other pieces.
Step 2: Roll up the fabric
Starting at the bottom and working your way up, begin to roll the 27″ main fabric panel into a little tube or “burrito.” Stop rolling when you get about to the center of the 9″ coordinating fabric.
Here’s another view of what your stack will look like. Double check to make sure this is what you see. The coordinating fabric should be on the bottom, right-side up. The main fabric will be on top of that, right-side up. The folded accent strip will be on top of that, raw edges aligned with other raw edges.
Step 3: Fold up the bottom fabric
Next, take the bottom of the coordinating fabric (the chevron fabric for me), and bring it up over the burrito. Align the raw edges with the raw edges of all the other fabrics. Pin in place along the raw edges, making sure to trap the skinny accent strip as well.
Step 4: Sew along the raw edges
Sew with a 1/4″ seam along the raw edges, or you may use a serger as pictured.
Step 5: Unroll the burrito and press
Begin to tug at the fabric inside the burrito, pulling it out of the tube, until it looks like this:
Continue pulling until your pillowcase looks like this. Press flat, paying close attention to the accent strip and coordinating fabric.
Step 6: Trim to size
It’s time to trim off the selvages and get your pillowcase to the right size! First, trim the pillowcase so it is 28″ from the accent strip to the opposite end. Then, remove the selvages so the pillowcase is only 40″ wide. I like to fold my pillow case in half like this so it is easier to measure and cut the 40″ length (which means trimming to 20″ when folded in half).
Finishing with a sergerIf you are using a serger, fold the pillowcase in half (as pictured above), and serge the raw edges on the top and right sides only. Turn right side out and press. You’re done!
Finishing with a sewing machine
If you are using a regular sewing machine, you’ll want to sew a French seam on the top and right sides, so you have a nice finished edge. First, fold the pillowcase in half with wrong sides together.
Next, stitch a line 1/4″ in on the two sides with raw edges only. This will go against your intuition, unless you’re familiar with French seams.
Turn the pillowcase wrong-side out and press, poking out the corners. Now, sew a 3/8″ seam (or a 1/2″ if you prefer) on the same two sides you sewed earlier. This will trap the raw edges inside and make a nice, clean finished edge.
Here’s what the finished French seam looks like on the inside of the pillowcase. This not only looks prettier, but it will be more durable than an unfinished seam.
That’s it! You’ve learned how to make a pillowcase and you’ve finished the burrito pillowcase pattern. You can also make the pillow without the 2″ accent strip, or sew it up in all one fabric for a more traditional look!
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