Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beginner Sewing Tutorial: Pillow Case

My mother in law showed me how to make these a few years back and I had a blast making holiday ones for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas last year.  At first I was going to just make a few for my girls but as I started making them, I had so much fun that I made them for everyone in my extended family.  And I am now getting requests for more. 

I swear I sleep better on my homemade pillow cases than I ever did before.  There is just something about that special little touch that makes everything better.  And a pillow case is one of those little things that brings a smile to your face at the end of a busy or tiring day.  It screams "lay on me" which translates into rest, peace, and tranquility to this busy mom! 

You can personalize these easily also.  Embroidered names, initials, holiday greetings are a few ideas you could do.  Also a crocheted trim, adding rick rack, ribbon, or buttons would make this an even more special treasure.  But for this tutorial we are going to focus solely on the actual pillow case and we will leave the embellishing for another post. 

Things you will need to make one standard size pillow case: 

A.  One 9"x 42" strip of fabric
B.  One 3"x 42" strip of fabric
C.  One 26" x 42" piece of fabric
D.  Coordinating thread

OK, the first thing you do is pre-wash and dry your fabric.  Then lightly iron it and you are ready to cut.  A standard pillow case is usually 21x32.  So we need to cut 3 pieces of fabric.  Two of these will be our band and the largest will be our body of the case.  OK, lets cut one 9" wide, one 3" wide, and one 26" wide.  All the pieces should be 42" in length and we will use a 5/8" seam throughout.

Next, lets take our 3" band piece and iron it in half.  Meaning fold in half length ways so that measures 1.5" ( Picture A). 

Next,  we are going to lay out our pieces.  Take your body piece right side facing up and lay the 1.5" band on top with the fold going down and the open seams together.  Next lay your 9" band right side together.  Basically we are making a sandwich with the folded 3" band in the middle.  (Picture B) 

Pin and sew.  Trim your seam and press the 9" band up and away from the body.  (Picture C)

Now, we are going to flip our work and press the other end of the 9" band in 5/8".   Fold the band in half matching our previously sewn stitch line to our pressed seam.  Press and pin in place. 

We are ready to sew.  Using a matching thread and sewing on the right side of the fabric, stitch a as close to the edge of the 2 joining fabrics as possible.  This gives it a very neat and tidy stitch line. (Pictured D,E,F)  Press.   

 Now place right sides together, matching the bands, and stitch outer and bottom seams of the case.  You could be done here, but I go ahead and serge the seams to give it a more finished look.  If you do not have a Serger, simply run a zig-zag stitch just on the outside of your seam and trim the excess, being careful not to cut your stitches!  Congratulations you just finished your new one of a kind pillow case!  SWEET DREAMS!! 

 (Picture A)
 (Picture B)
   (Picture C)

This picture has different fabric because I was making 2 cases when I was taking pictures for this project.
(Picture D)
(Picture E)
(Picture F) 

I added a crochet edging just for fun.  It's easy!  Simply add a blanket stitch and then a row of single crochet and then whatever edging stitches you choose.

Happy Crafting!  

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