I mentioned a bit ago that I was planning to make Halloween pillowcases for my grandkids. Today is the day that I carried out that plan. Sherry was interested in having me make a couple for her grandkids, too, but I assured her that it was well within her ability to do it herself. She's not sure she believes me, so I decided to put together a tutorial for her and anyone else that would like a fun, non-threatening project to sew.
Materials needed for one pillowcase:
- 1 1/4 yards soft cotton or cotton blend fabric
- 1/4 yard contrast fabric, if desired
- 1 1/4 yards trim, if desired
- Thread to match
- Fabric shears or rotary cutter
- Cutting mat (if using rotary cutter)
- Gridded ruler
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine
- Iron and ironing board
Before we start, I'm going to pass on to you THE most important tip to ensure that your sewing projects turn out as professional-looking as possible: Your IRON is every bit as IMPORTANT in the process as your sewing machine! Let me repeat that: Your IRON is every bit as IMPORTANT in the process as your sewing machine! Any time you are following directions and they say things like "press seam open" or "turn right side out and press", be assured that you NEED to do this! Skipping this step may save a bit of time, but that's what makes things look "homemade" instead of "handmade". Okay, off we go!
Prewash all fabrics and trims to remove sizing and eliminate the possibility of problems such as shrinkage after your pillowcases are made. Press, if needed, before cutting.
Cut fabric 34 1/2"" wide x 41" long if it's a non-directional pattern, or two pieces 34 1/2"" wide x 20 1/2" long if you want the pattern to run the same direction on the front and back. Pin fabric, right sides facing, and stitch in 1/4" seam down a long edge, turn and continue down a short edge, turn and continue down other long edge, if you cut two pieces. Otherwise, fold in half, right sides facing, and sew in 1/4" seam down remaining long edge and one short edge. You should have one short edge still open (unseamed). If you're concerned about the fabric fraying out, zigzag or overcast the same previously-sewn seams near the outer edge of the fabric:
Press seams to one side near open edge:
Fold a 4" hem in open edge and press:
Open out hem, fold under 1/4" hem and press:
Fold 4" hem (now 3 3/4") back over and pin at regular intervals:
Sew near inside folded edge to finish hem (sorry about the bad pic):
Turn entire pillowcase right side out, press, and admire - you're all done!
Wasn't that EASY? Here are a couple of variations:
If you want a contrasting fabric for the hem, cut the pieces for the pillowcase at 26 1/2" wide instead of 34 1/2" wide. Also cut a strip of the contrasting fabric 8 1/2" wide by 41" long. If you want a third fabric as a decorative border between the two, cut it 1 1/2" wide by 41" long. That's what I'm showing in this section:
Sew body of pillowcase as above. Turn right side out and press. Sew short ends of contrasting fabrics together (you're making a "ring"), rights sides facing, in 1/4" seam, but do not overcast the edges. Press the seams open:
Fold each strip in half so raw edges meet and press:
Pin accent strip to open edge of pillowcase body, raw edges even and matching seams and centers (skip this step if you're just doing a contrasting hem without the accent strip):
If you're concerned that this strip might shift in the next step, you can baste it before moving on. Otherwise, layer the contrasting hem OVER the accent strip (accent strip will be sandwiched between pillowcase and contrasting hem) and pin, again with raw edges even and matching seams and centers. I find it easiest to temporarily remove the pin from the accent strip, then put it back through all the layers. Sew in 1/4" seam through all layers and overcast. Flip contrast hem and accent strip to outside and press, pressing seam towards pillowcase:
That pillowcase is done, too!
If you'd rather insert a trim than an accent strip, there's a slight change. Sew ONLY top edge of pillowcase body (skip this step if you're doing the one-piece version that gets folded in half), then press seam to one side:
Flip fabric over to right side and pin trim to the edge (the short edges that will remain open - the trim will straddle the seam you just made). Make sure that the part of the trim you want to show after you're finished is facing AWAY from the raw edge, and 1/4" in from the raw edge. In this instance, I want only half of the ric rac to show, so I pinned it right up to the edge:
If you're not confident that the trim sill stay in place while you continue, you can baste it in place before moving on. Carefully fold pillowcase, right sides facing, so that raw edges of remaining sides line up, and sew seam on remaining long and short edges, leaving trimmed edge open. Overcast, if desired. You are doing it this way so that you won't have any raw edges of the trim exposed when you're done.
Turn pillowcase right side out, press. Pin contrasting hem over trim as in previous pillowcase instructions. Stitch in 1/4" seam and overcast, if desired. Flip hem and trim to outside as before and press, pressing seams toward pillowcase:
I couldn't decide if I liked the yellow ric rac or the orange better, so I did one of each:
And here's my happy little stack of pillowcases:
They'll go postal on Monday, along with some other Halloween goodies! Hopefully you were able to follow the tutorial all right, but if anything's clear as mud or you have any questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment!
These can be made for other occasions, obviously, or for no occasion at all - it just depends on which fabrics you choose!