Posted on October 2, 2012
I have been contemplating an idea of handmade Christmas presents for this year, and have come up with some pretty neat ideas so far for both sewing and knitting projects. And I may even try a few crochet projects – will see. However, on/under/around (and there is even more in the closets, ssshhh – don’t tell my hubby) my sewing desk I have piles of fabrics waiting to become something useful. The other day I came up with an idea of a pillowcase that turned out surprisingly nice so I wanted to share this quick and easy project with you.
The standard pillowcase sizes are:
- Standard: 21″ x 30″
- Queen: 21″ x 34″
- King: 21″ x 40″
The pillowcases can hence be made from a regular width (44” – 45″) fabric, and the size of the pillow determines how much fabric you will need length-wise.
For a standard pillowcase you will need 3/4 yard of main fabric; for queen 7/8 yard; and for king 1 yard. In addition you will need 1/4 yard (9″) of fabric for the band; although you might want to have a slightly wider band, about 12″ for king size. It just looks nicer with such a large pillowcase. Also, you may want to have 2″-3″ of fabric for the little decorative trim.
Start the project by washing your fabrics prior cutting and sewing in order to avoid the shrinkage problems later. Once the fabrics are ready, it’s time to cut. I use rotary cutter with pillowcase type of projects where I am cutting just straight lines – it’s way faster and easier than dealing with scissors.
When you are cutting your fabrics, make always sure your first cut is straight, and trim the raw edges before cutting if they happen to look a bit funky.
Below I have 28″ of flower fabric for the main body, 9″ of red batik for the band, and a 2″ strip of dark batik for the decorative trim.
Next step is to match up the fold lines, and cut the salvages off. This way all the fabrics are exactly the same size width-wise.
Salvages trimmed. Fold lines are lined up on the right.
After the salvages are cut off, take the little decorative trim and the band to ironing board, and fold & press them in half, right sides facing out. After folding and ironing your pieces will be about 1″ and 4.5″ wide (and about 40″ long).
And now the magic is going to happen!
Open up the bigger folded and ironed piece of fabric, and place it right side up on the table. Place the pillowcase main body, raw edges lined up, on top the band piece, again right side up. Next you place the decorative trim piece on top of the main body fabric, lining up the raw edges just like you did with two other fabrics.
Now you take the main fabric and start to roll it up towards the fabric sandwich you just created. Roll the fabric until about the half way of the band fabric (the red batik).
Next you take the band fabric, and wrap it around the tube you just created from the main body fabric, and pin fabrics together. Make sure you do not pin the main fabric roll into your fabric sandwich!! At this point you should have following layers of fabric pinned together: band fabric, one edge of main fabric, decorative trim, and the other side of band fabric. The end of main fabric is tightly rolled and is inside this fabric tube.
Pin the raw edges together.
Now it is time to sew! With a regular straight stitch, sew a 1/4″ seam allowance only on the long edge – do not sew the short edges!
Sew the long edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Once you have sewn the long edge, pull the main body fabric out of this “fabric sleeve” you just created. By using this technique, all your seams are neatly inside the pillowcase band. How cool is that!!?
Pulling the fabric out.
Seams are hidden!
To finish up the pillowcase, you can simply sew the side and bottom seams with zigzag and straight stitches, use serger, or spent a few extra minutes and create neat, sophisticated French seams. That’s what I did since I no longer own a serger but donated it to my mom.
When sewing French seams, the raw edges are hidden inside a double seam. Start the French seam by sewing the long edge of pillowcase with wrong sides together (really, wrong sides together – this is not a typo in instructions) with a 1/4″ seam allowance. I would recommend to start sewing at the band and proceed towards the bottom of the pillowcase – for the sake of accuracy. You may also want to use a few pins to make sure that the band and trim are aligned perfectly.
Sewing first French seam, wrong sides together.
Once you are done with the long edge, turn the inside out and press the seam carefully with an iron. And now it is time to hide the seam. So when the pillowcase is inside out, sew the long edge of the pillowcase again, using 1/4″ seam allowance – and you are now hiding the seam that you sewed a few minutes earlier.
I am always having a hard time with the accuracy when French seams and ironing are involved so I frequently trim a little bit of fabric in order to make sure the raw edges stay hidden. Or sometimes I use slightly larger seam allowance on the second round of sewing.
Next, do the similar French double seam at the bottom of the pillowcase – by sewing the first seam wrong sides together, turn inside out, iron and sew again.
French seam – and raw edges are hidden!
And the final product is here… The whole sewing and cutting project took less than 30 mins – what a fun project to do without enormous amount of work!