Sewing Blog

A Simple Method for Sewing Pillowcases to Fit ANY Pillow

It’s easy to find tutorials for how to sew a pillowcase for standard-size pillow — but what if you have a pillow that’s a different size? In this post, I’ll share simple directions on how you can adapt the burrito pillowcase method to fit a bed pillow of any size. You can read the pattern below or follow my simple video tutorial on YouTube.

Here’s what you need to get started

Fabric:

  • Main Fabric: 30″ x 16″ (If using a directional; print, make sure it runs along the 16″ side)
  • Large Accent Fabric: 30″ x 9″ (If using a directional print, make sure it runs along the 30″ side)
  • Tiny Accent Fabric: 30″ x 2″ (folded in half and pressed into a 1″ folded strip)

These are measurements for my toddler-sized pillowcase, but keep reading to find out how to adjust these measurements to fit your pillow.

Other supplies:

  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing pins
  • Rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler

How to adapt this for any size pillowcase

To calculate your own pillowcase size, measure the length and width of your bed pillow. I’ll insert the toddler pillow measurements as an example below the equation:

(Width of pillow + 3″) x 2 = X
(12″ + 3″) x 2 = 30″

Length – 1 = Y [16″]
17″ – 1 = 16″

Note: It may seem odd to subtract an inch from your pillow length, but remember that we are adding another few inches in the length with the cuff!

  • Main Fabric: Cut to X” x Y” (If using a directional; print, make sure it runs along the Y side)
  • Large Accent Fabric: Cut to X” x 9″ (If using a directional print, make sure it runs along the X side)
  • Tiny Accent Fabric: Cut to X” x 2″ (folded in half and pressed into a 1″ folded strip)

Custom-size pillowcase tutorial

I’ll use my toddler pillowcase measurements for this tutorial, but you can substitute your measurements in.

Step 1:

Layer your fabrics as follows:

  • First, lay down your Large Accent Fabric right side facing up.
  • Next, layer your Main Fabric, so that the longer raw edges are aligned on one side.
  • Next, lay the folded Tiny Accent Fabric strip on top, so that the raw edges are aligned with the others

Roll up the Main Fabric only, starting at the bottom, until it’s in the center of your fabric stack as pictured.

Step 2:

Once you’ve rolled only the Main Fabric, gently fold the bottom of the Large Accent Fabric (the 9″-wide strip on the bottom layer) so that its raw edges meet the raw edges above. Pin these layers together  making sure that all of them, even the Tiny Accent Fabric strip, are aligned evenly.

Step 3:

Sew a ¼” seam along the edges you’ve pinned, backstitching at both ends. Reach inside the tube and gently pull out the inner fabrics.

Step 4:

Once you’ve pulled the fabric from outside the tube, press your pillowcase seams flat.

Step 5:

Next, it’s time to sew a French seam! Fold your pillowcase in half as pictured, with the wrong sides together. This will feel like you are doing something wrong, but it’s the first step in sewing a French seam. Sew a ¼” seam along the two seams with raw edges.

Step 6:

Turn the pillowcase inside out, and press your seams. Adjust your seam allowance to ½” and sew along the same two sides. This will completely encase your raw edges inside the new French seam to give you a nice, clean edge on the inside of the pillowcase!

Step 7:

Give it a final press, and you’re done! I made my own 12″ x 17″ pillow form from two pieces of muslin (cut each to 13″ x 18″), sewn together and stuffed with fiber fill stuffing.

Free Guide! Sewing Stylish Pillows — Simplified

Free Guide! Sewing Stylish Pillows — Simplified

Sew perfect pillows and create the look you love for your home with these tutorials.Download the FRE Guide

18 Comments

Julie W

Thanks for this! Exactly what I was looking for today!!

(btw, in step 5, shouldn’t that be 1/4″ seam allowance?)

Reply
LindaH

Now I’m looking forward to making custom pillow cases for my memory foam pillows. Standard size pillowcases never seem to fit them, they’re way to big.

Reply
Lisa Price

I think you might have steps 5 & 6 reversed. On Step 5, wrong sides are together for the first pass of the french seam (correct) but your seam allowance should be 1/2″ on that first pass. Then on Step 6, you say to turn right sides out but they are already out. You mean to say, turn wrong sides out to do the second pass of the french seam and this time the seam allowance should be 1 1/4″. Otherwise, you are trying to enclose a large seam allowance with a small seam but reversed makes more sense. Then turn right sides back out and press. Doesn’t that sound more correct?

I do appreciate the formula for calculating different size pillows. I have struggled with the measurements of odd size pillows in the past.

Reply
Craftsy

Hi Lisa,
Looks like we had a little typo in Step 5 with the seam allowance. We’ve updated the post with the correct measurement, so that should help explain a bit. Happy sewing!

Reply
Lindsay

Thanks Lisa! I do think step 6 would be clearer if it said “Turn the pillowcase inside out,” instead of right side out. Thanks for the suggestion!

Reply
KImmylouwho

she did it right; some people trim the 1/4″ seam to 1/8″ and then use a second 1/4″ seam. but the 1/2″ work fine to cover the first 1/4″ seam.

Reply
D

I’m guessing in step 5 that it’s a 1/4″ seam, not 1 1/4″?

Reply
Craftsy

Yes, you are right! Thanks for letting us know of the mistake. We’ve updated the post now. Happy sewing!

Reply
Gina

Wish I had this Friday when I sewed a pillowcase with the trim on the inside instead of outside LOL! This is an excellent tutorial and I thank you very much.

Reply
Peggy Jebavy

Thanks for giving the numbers to make different sizes. A group for which I belong makes these every Christmas for our local Seton House for the girls. We pack them up with things from their wish list which are mainly the basics to get by while they are there. Then we distribute about 15 pillowcases filled with goodies to be given to any girls that might find themselves there over the holidays. We hope the pillowcases make them feel like someone cares in their time of need.

Reply
Helen

I think you still have a typo in Step 6. As has already been mentioned, if wrong sides are already together (Step 5), then the pillowcase needs to be turned wrong-sides out in Step 6 so that the seams will be properly encased when the two sides are sewn again.

Reply
Terry Miheluch

I’d be interested in seeing the directions after they are all fixed as I am totally confused now. Thank you. I’d love to make these

Reply
Patricia J Clements

Oops..My reply should have been from Patricia Clements, not my husband, Charles Dickens. Sorry.

Reply
Amy

Thank you for this tutorial! The directions for custom sizing are a godsend. My toddler is thrilled with his new doggie-print pillowcase—he laid it on my lap and pretended to take a nap before I even managed to get to the side seams.

Reply
Adrienne

When I make pillow cases I use my serger to sew the seams then when I turn the inside out to finish the French seam there are no pesky threads sticking out from an inaccurately sewn 1/4″ seam.

Reply
mike shinoda

awesome tips given by your blog and mostly i like it step 7 really appreciated thanks .. for this share this post!!!

Reply
Eileen

Worked out perfectly and easy to follow steps. I made a Peppa Pig flannel pillow case for my just turning 2 years Grandaught. Thank You!

Reply

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