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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The fastest, easiest pillowcase ever

Today turned out to be an incredibly productive day. I finished all 7 of the bridesmaids pouches for my friend Bonz (her name is also Bonnie, she owns huskies, and she's an insatiable crafter. We are soul sisters. Her nickname is Bonz, mine is Boo!), and before continuing onto the groomsmens' bags (which will be fast and easy), I decided to reward myself by indulging in a trend I've been seeing. Pillowcases!

Have you seen the pillowcases popping up lately all over craft blogs? They're so cute! I've always had very simple, basic sheets. Usually I'll decorate more with accessories (blankets, pillow, etc.), and keep things simple for the bed. But when I saw all these adorable pillowcases, I caved. They look so bright and happy, and I have been BADLY in need of some extra happy lately. I won't lie, I've been pretty depressed. It's amazing my crafting inspiration has been as active as it has. It comes and goes, some days are better than others. If it wasn't for my huskies and crafting, it would be a bleak life indeed. When I say it totally makes my day to wake up and read all your comments and crafty love? I really mean it. Some days it's about all that sustains me. OMG! Angst? Feelings? On a crafting blog?! I'm a writer too, so yes. Things other than crafting will appear here. Lately I've been having such a blast communicating over twitter, blogs, and facebook with Jenna of Sewhappygeek, and Shanna of Fiberofallsorts, that I've been super duper inspired, and sewing has pretty much taken over my life. I even joined up with my very first ever quilting bee! It's being organized by Shanna, and I'm so excited. I'm not a quilter, but I'm confident enough in my sewing skills to feel comfortable creating one quilt block a month. I balked a little, because I have a history of letting people down, and because the bee takes place over the course of a year. A year?! Who knows what life will be in a year?! But when I sat and thought about it, one quilt block a month is totally do-able. No matter what turmoil life throws at me, I should be able to complete a single solitary quilt block a month. I'll write more about that in the future. And Jenna, I met her during the whole "Bastard-stole-my-tutorial" fiasco, and she has quickly become a good friend. She wasn't the bastard, she was another victim I contacted about her tutorial being stolen also.  Love you guys! So, to fill the void, sew! Knit! Blog! It's all healthy and productive, right? Just smile and nod. 

My attention span for following people's tutorials hasn't been so great lately, so I've been figuring them out for myself. The bonus of that is I can create new tutorials for you guys! Yay! I know there's lots of pillowcase tutorials out there, but I figured one more wouldn't hurt. Plus, this one's pretty cool. Why? Because they take 20 minutes each, there's no exposed edges, and you get to use ribbon. Awesomesauce! So grab your fabric, ribbon, and follow along!

I measured a pillowcase I already had, I think it's just a "standard size". 
Each pillowcase will take one yard of main fabric (with some leftovers), and a half yard of a contrasting fabric. For the ribbon, I dove back into the stash of vintage ribbon from garage sales. :)

Here we go!
Cut one piece of the main fabric 20"x52"(I didn't want a seam at the end, but if you don't mind feel free to cut two pieces at 20"x 25.5") 
Cut two pieces contrasting fabric 20"x10"

Fold the edge pieces in half so that they measure 20"x5", iron and give it a steam

Place the folded piece on the WRONG SIDE of the fabric so that they 20" edge match up, and sew a 1/2" seam. It's easiest if you have a nice generous seam allowance. Do this for both edges.

It should look like this. You haven't opened the seams yet, so the edges are lying on the wrong side. Make sense?
Iron and steam your seams open. WHAT?! SEAMS SHOWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE?! That's so....WRONG! Nope, you're doing it perfectly. Stick with me here.
Now take your ribbon and line it up, pinning it over the seams. Sneaky, eh?

Woo! All done there!

The underneath looks like this. Look Ma! No exposed seams! Heh heh heh...
Almost done. Promise. Now you're going to fold your pillowcase, bringing the contrasting edges together. 
Sew up the sides with a 1/4" seam (or if you want to do a 1/8" seam that's okay too. You just want a leeeeetle seam) with the RIGHT SIDE FACING OUT! This seems very counterintuitive, but trust me. 

Okay. So now it looks like you've sewed up the sides to expose the raw edge. Turn your pillowcase inside out and iron the seams flat. It should look like this.
Here's the part where your trust in me pays off! Sew about 1/2" seam all the way down the sides, like this.   Just make sure that the raw edges are captured inside the new seam. 

VOILA! The raw edges are inside the other seam, leaving you with a "hey, I almost did a french seam but not really" thing. From what I understand, it would be a french seam if you sewed the seam flat, right? I have no idea. I've never done a french seam. I thought I was being a clever Boo.

See? It's like a seam inside of a seam. That way, when you wash it, you won't have any fraying or any pinked edges showing! Yay for neat seams!

Now turn inside out, stuff your pillow inside, and whee! Fun pillow cases!
Man, I love that vintage ribbon. What am I going to do when it runs out? *sob*

Happy bed. Good thing a male doesn't live here, he'd be so embarrassed. And Totoro says hi.  Hi Totoro!
I sewed up the second pillowcase as a test to see just how long it would take without "technical difficulties" (and because I have symmetry issues when it comes to decor), or taking photographs, and it was about 20 minutes. Seriously. This is a quick, easy project, and I would *LOVE* to see anything you guys make! Send me pictures, please!


  1. Love love love this! I am inspired to make some cute pillowcases. I have done them in the past but way too complicated. I love the fabric you chose. Hugs!

  2. Kay- I mostly understood a bunch of tutorials I glanced over, but ultimately I tried to do one for myself, and it turned out to be the fastest, easiest project I've ever done. Seriously once I had the pieces cut out, it took all of 20 minutes. Super duper duper easy. :) Lemme see if you make one! *hugs*

  3. Absolutely love it, gotta make some but I'll be darned if the hub can put his greasy head on something that cute! LOL

  4. Wow missy. . this is so wonderful! I love that you hide the seams everywhere. ♥ IT!

  5. Totally cool! Love using the ribbon to "hide" the exposed seam!

  6. How perfectly timed....I have a large fitted sheet that ripped, so i'm going to make me a couple pillow cases from it using your design. The contrasting flange will be awesome and a great stash buster. Thanks for sharing!

  7. What an adorable tutorial and pillowcase! I really need to make a duvet cover and pillowcase set for our bed. But it's a superking so totally non-trivial. But I'm thinking a few matching pillowcases might cheer the room up a bit, so thanks for the inspiration and tutorial!

  8. Cute pillowcase! Actually, you did do a French seam. If you trim one seam allowance and fold the other one over it (raw edge folded over) and sew that down, that's a flat felled seam.

  9. very nice!! I am going to have to make a few new ones for myself.. I have tried another method but it leaves raw edge inside.. looking forward to trying this. thank you

  10. Thank you much! The tutorial makes great sense and reading it made me laugh, always a plus!

  11. Your tutorial was great and I should be posting some pictures soon on my blog (giving you credit for the tutorial). I'll let you know when I do. I used white satin ribbon that I embellished with a decorative stitch - turned out great. If you don't have ribbon, you can also use a strip of material in a third contrasting fabric to cover the seam. Thanks again!

  12. Totally love your pillow, you've inspired me to give my rather jaded looking bedroom a whole new makeover, I'll start with the pillow and work from there

    Totally empathise with you about being depressed, and hope you are feeling a bit lighter now

  13. Cindy- you totally read my mind. :D I will definitely do that one of these days!

    Rae - Hugs to you, sometimes we just have to admit that we're having a rough patch and do our best to move through it. Here's hoping both our rough patches smooth out soon! *hugs*

    Sundrywonders - I did a french seam? GO ME!! :D Thank you for pointing out what a french seam and felled seam are. I must do more research and broaden my knowledge.

  14. BTW, anonymous, whoever you are- what the heck is it about guys having the greasiest, grimiest heads EVER?! When I was with my ex, his pillowcase and side of the bed would be so gross. Granted, he was a smoker (ew), but still.. Grimy!

  15. This is brilliant!! I am on summer vacation and these would be perfect to whip up for the beds!! Thanks for tutorial!!

  16. That's nice! Quite creative and vintage. Great job!

  17. I love these. I have been making them for years in the travel pillow size for children. They can take them in the car or wherever and they seem to love them. You've inspired me to make them bigger!!! (love your site - found it by accident!!)

  18. so cute....makes me wish i didn't leave my sewing machine with my ex. maybe someday i'll get a new one. LOVE the custom cases.

  19. Wonderful tutorial, excellent pics. Would you consider doing a printer friendly version?
    Thanks for sharing. :0)

  20. Beautiful pillow and great instructions,I love primary colours it's like material laughing.


  21. Bonnie,
    Thanks for the great tutorial - I linked to it on my blog and used one of your pictures (and linked back to you) for a post on creating pillowcases to give to a pediatrics ward in Rwanda.

    You can see my post at

    Thanks again!

  22. This is a cute idea! Thanks for great tutorial. I didn't have any cute vintage ribbon, but liked trying these new techniques.

  23. Thanks for the great tutorial. I enjoyed learning the new techniques on this project and was very happy with how mine turned out.

  24. You and the pillowcase are so sweet!!

  25. Absolutely adorable pillowcase, I have made a few in the past. Love the fabrics you used. Gonna try yours next.


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