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How to Make a Pillowcase

Updated on April 28, 2016
Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer has been writing about crafts online for almost 4 years. She is an avid crafter who has been creating for most of her life.

How to Make a Pillowcase
How to Make a Pillowcase | Source

Pillowcases for charity

Do you have lots of fabric on hand? Do you want to do something worthwhile with it? Why not make pillowcases for charities. Check out these organizations to see how you can help.

  • ConKerr Cancer - This wonderful organization accepts pillowcases that they give to children that are battling cancer and who are in hospitals for extended periods of time.
  • APQ - 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge - Providing links for various charities across the United States that accept pillowcases, this effort continues to help people around the world.

It is easy to use the pillowcases that come with the sheet sets found in stores. They are usually good quality and match perfectly, but why not jazz things up a little bit.

Changing pillowcases can change the entire look and feel of a bedroom. A fancy pillowcase can turn a plain set of white sheets into something spectacular. A child's favorite princess or action figure can always be close by their side when depicted in a pillowcase.

Give your bedroom a makeover or make a child smile by making your own pillowcases. It is quick and easy when you follow these step by step instructions.

Supplies needed to make one pillowcase

  • 3 coordinating fabrics - I recommend using 100% cotton. For the large section of the pillowcase you will need a little less than 1 yard of fabric.
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pins
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Cutting surface

Step 1 - Choose and prepare fabric

Choose and prepare fabric
Choose and prepare fabric | Source

Using 100% cotton, prewash and press all fabric. Cut the following pieces:

  • For the main part of the pillowcase (in the photos, the white fabric with yellow, green and blue flowers) cut a piece 22" x 42". Standard fabric widths average between 42" to 44" so it is quite easy to cut. Fold your fabric, wrong sides together and selvage to selvage, press, and cut length to 22". To cut the width, measure 21" (remember it is folded in half) and trim. Make sure to trim on the selvage edge side, not the folded side. When unfolded, your prepared fabric will measure 22" x 42".
  • For the accent strip (the blue fabric) cut a piece 2" x 42". Follow the cutting instructions above.
  • For the larger outside border (the yellow fabric) cut a piece 11" x 42". Follow the cutting instructions above.

Step 2 - Sew together the border and accent strip

1. With right sides together, sew the accent strip to the border along the long side.
1. With right sides together, sew the accent strip to the border along the long side. | Source
2. Accent border sewn on and pressed.
2. Accent border sewn on and pressed. | Source
  1. With right sides together, match up edges along the long side and sew the accent strip to the border strip. Use a 1/2" seam when sewing.
  2. Press the seam open.

Step 3 - Prepare the border to attach to the body of the pillowcase

1. Fold the short sides of the border strip together (right sides facing each other) and pin.  It will form a loop.
1. Fold the short sides of the border strip together (right sides facing each other) and pin. It will form a loop. | Source
2. Use a 1/2" seam and backstitch at the beginning and end.  Sew along the short end.
2. Use a 1/2" seam and backstitch at the beginning and end. Sew along the short end. | Source
3. Press seam open.
3. Press seam open. | Source
  1. Fold the border in half, short ends together and with right sides of fabric facing each other.
  2. Pin at the seam where the accent piece and the larger border piece meet, for a seamless finish. Beginning and ending with some backstitching, sew a 1/2" seam along the short edge. Once sewn, it will form a loop (or circle).
  3. Press seam open and set piece aside.

Step 4 - Prepare the large section of the pillowcase

Back stitch at beginning and end when preparing the main section of the pillowcase.
Back stitch at beginning and end when preparing the main section of the pillowcase. | Source

To finish the main part of the pillowcase:

  1. Fold the fabric, matching the edges, with fabric right sides together, so that it measures 21" x 25" folded.
  2. Sew along the long side of the folded fabric, using a 1/2" seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
  3. Sew along one short side, using a 1/2" seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
  4. Leave one short end open.
  5. Flip inside out and press.

Step 5 - Attach the pillowcase border to the main section

1. Fold the border in half and pin, with right side of fabric out.
1. Fold the border in half and pin, with right side of fabric out. | Source
2. Press folded border.
2. Press folded border. | Source
3. Pin the border around the outside of the large part of the pillowcase.  Match the seams.
3. Pin the border around the outside of the large part of the pillowcase. Match the seams. | Source
4. Sew the border to the body of the pillowcase.
4. Sew the border to the body of the pillowcase. | Source

To attach the border to the main part of the pillowcase:

  1. Fold the long side of the sewn border in half, wrong sides together, and match the edges. It helps to pin it together.
  2. Press.
  3. Pin the border around the outside of the main body of the pillowcase. Match the seam of the border to the seam of the pillowcase. To get the smaller accent border against the main section of the pillowcase, make sure that it is facing the inside when pinning.
  4. Sew, using a 1/2" seam.

Step 6 - Finish the pillowcase

Finish the pillowcase.
Finish the pillowcase. | Source
Make a bright and sassy pillowcase for a preteen girl.  They will love it.  Let them choose the fabrics for even more fun.
Make a bright and sassy pillowcase for a preteen girl. They will love it. Let them choose the fabrics for even more fun. | Source

Flip the sewn border over and press. Put it on a pillow, step back and enjoy your work!

Pillowcases make great gifts for anyone. Your friends and family will love receiving something specially made just for them.

A cheerful pillowcase also brightens the day for someone in a nursing home or who is ill and bedridden.

Taking only an hour or so to make, custom made pillowcases add a terrific decorative touch to any bedroom. Why not make one, or a pair, today.

© 2013 Glimmer Twin Fan

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I am just getting back into sewing and found this most useful. The pillowcase looks lovely. I am going to bookmark and voting up and of course a big pin.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for all of your support Carol! This is a quick project when you are just getting back into sewing. Sometimes it's nice to have a quick project instead of something that takes days. I appreciate the comments.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Now why didn't I think of that! I pulled out my sewing machine from the closet a few months ago and have been making covers for throw pillows . Excellent hub:) Voted up and useful.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Hey, I might actually be able to do this one! I have a sewing machine that has decided I don't love it anymore. Actually, I'm not sure I ever loved it - we had sort of a wary friendship . . .

      I like the idea of sprucing up a room by adding colorful pillow cases - nice hub!

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      I have a pair I made fir Christmas a year ago...I love them..then I lost the instructions..thanks for posting..voting up and across.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is not much chance I'll be doing this, but I will share it so others can learn. Good tutorial my friend. Have a great weekend.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Gypsy48! I was in the mood to brighten up some rooms because it has been so dreary here. I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you so much Marcy. Give it a try. They take no time at all and really are fun. My daughter saw me doing this hub, picked out some fabric from my shelves and asked me to make her one. Since she is miserably sick with the flu how could I refuse. I added that purple polka dots picture in her honor.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks faythef! - Christmas pillowcases is a great idea! I appreciate all the support!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for your support Bill! I appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. My daughter is down with the flu. Hopefully she has not shared.

    • profile image

      GoldenThreadPress 4 years ago

      GlimmerTwinFan: Wow! Voted Up! One of the nicest DIY Hubs I've seen in the last couple of months. Not to mention great close ups! I love the idea of creating your own pillow case. And when your PC is no longer needed you can make it into a wash bag or even a PC dress (check out my DIY Hub on this topic for more ideas). Even so, I can't wait to get back to my sewing machine and make some PCs today! Best Regards--Deb

    • sherrituck profile image

      Sherri Tuck 4 years ago from Virginia

      Very well written. I will have to try making these!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you so much GoldenThreadPress! I appreciate your nice comments. I will take a look at your hub to see some ideas.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it sherrituck. Have fun making one.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      This is such a lovely idea and looks fantastic. I'm ashamed of my non-sewing skills. Ouch!

    • profile image

      heatherpanda 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. I will also like to learn how to make fitted bed sheets.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it travmaj. I think that even non-sewing people could make these if they had a machine. Thanks for the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks heatherpanda.

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      dragonflyfla 4 years ago from South Florida

      This is great, I have been wanting to make my own pillowcases. The only thing I dread is the sewing! Thumbs up.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks dragonflyfla! I appreciate it and luckily there really is not that much sewing in this one.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Love this Glimmer and all the details. Also love the links to the charities that accept/donate pillow cases. Very cool!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      GT....This is absolutely terrific! I make pillow cases quite often. I enjoy it and they also make wonderful gifts.

      But the truth is....I could have never done the perfect job you have done, with this instructional hub! Bless your heart! This is awesome...UP+++

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you Sharon. These are so easy to make and people who sew usually have lots of extra fabric on hand. I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it fpherj48! My daughter and her cousins never get tired of a new pillowcase as their tastes change. Thanks for the really nice comments.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for sharing this awesome tutorial.. love how descriptive it is and the photos are great too! I think I could actually do this.. Now if I can stop procrastinating and get my sewing machine to the shop! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Good luck Jamie! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Hope you get your machine fixed. Thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Very nice post. My mother made me some beautiful pillow cases and I still have them today. Very detailed post and will help those who desire to make a quality set.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thank you teaches! One could really make them fancy with lace and things and they would be real keepsakes. It's nice that you kept the ones your mother made you. I appreciate the comments.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Will you please come over here and work for me? lol! you are so clever, and always show us how to make them using photos which is so helpful, another great hub, and voted up!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate it Nell. Thanks so much for your kind comments. I'd love to go back over to England for another visit! Interesting fact about me, according to my parents, I was "started" in London. Maybe that is why I like it so much. :-)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Bravo 10 times for adding the links to charities. Linking your easy to follow tutorial to my hub on sewing a child's pillowcase--thanks!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much RTalloni. I'll have to check out your hub. I appreciate the support.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Glimmer, you're really talented! I"m looking into getting a new set of pillowcases and these would definitely be a great idea. Thanks for sharing, and I'm passing this hub around!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for your support Michelle! Definitely make your own. It's lots of fun and there is so much beautiful fabric available.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This is an excellent concept. There are so many different occasions to commemorate using this useful and creative project.

      Thanks for the share.

    • profile image

      Bea 4 years ago

      Great pattern. What is the finished size of the pillowcase?? thank you

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks shiningirisheyes. I appreciate the comments and also think it is fun to change up pillowcases for different occasions.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Bea - Depending on the seam you use, it will measure approximately 20 1/2" wide and 34" long, give or take a little bit. It fits a standard pillow. Thanks for asking.

    • The Unlearner profile image

      Jo 4 years ago from Isle of Wight UK

      Your photos and detailed instructions are excellent. I have never tried to make a pillow case, but always wanted to. I have recently been given a whole heap of my grandmothers vintage fabric and retro print from the 60's, I think I have found my next project. Thank you + new follower

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi The Unlearner - I appreciate your kind comments. What fun it would be to use some vintage fabrics that have sentimental value to you. Use them with care, because they might not hold up to repeated washings. I bet they would be pretty for a decorative pillow.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi GTF,

      As always you do a fantastic job here of explaining with in depth instructions and superb pictures the entire process of making a pillow case.

      Excellent hub! Voted up, useful and interesting .Shared and pinned as well.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Glim. Will share these tips for those interested in starting this project!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Many thanks rajan - I enjoy doing these hubs and the best part is that I get a nice product to use when I'm done. Have a great day.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Thanks so much Michelle. Hopefully lots of people will be making pillowcases soon.

    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 3 years ago from Arizona

      Another great way to use leftover fabric! I'll have to try this one too!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Hi shawna.wilson - This one is fun, but it takes larger pieces of fabric. I don't know about you, but my scraps are usually a lot smaller and chopped up after cutting for a quilt. Glad you liked the project and thanks for reading.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      I really like how you put the different designs and colors together. They turned out great. This technique would make decorating a room fun adding all the fabrics from the linens to make unique pillowcases. Adding it to my craft board.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Thanks favored! I love pairing fabrics and playing with fun and different colors and patterns. I agree that one could really add some fun to a room by the fabric chosen. Thanks for sharing! Have a nice day. Sorry it took so long to respond. I was taking a break from the computer.

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