DIY Custom Pillowcases

Urban Cholita: PillowcasesA few years ago, my mom bought me a pair of down pillows from the Hutterites. The pillows are great, but they’re an odd size. As a result, our standard pillowcases don’t quite fit. The end of the pillow pokes out like a chubby man’s midriff in a too-small T-shirt. This sliver of exposed pillow shouldn’t matter. After all, other people have Real Problems. But it bothers me. It seems . . . unseemly.

Here’s one solution that didn’t occur to me over the many months that naked wedge of pillow tormented me: DIY. Yes, that’s right. You can sew pillowcases. It’s super simple. I’ll show you how.

These pillowcases are composed of three pieces: the cuff, the trim, and the body.

pillowpiecesI used the same fabric for the cuff and the body (Michael Miller Mini Mikes), but feel free to use two different patterns if you’re feeling wild. The trim is a scrap of Sis Boom’s Dance with Me fabric left over from our wedding napkins

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 yards cotton quilting fabric for the body and cuff
  • 1/4 yard (or less) cotton quilting fabric for the trim
  • cutting mat
  • rotary cutter
  • pins
  • ruler

** If any of the instructions below seem confusing, I recommend you watch this video for a thorough tutorial.

Step 1: Square  your fabric.

Step 2: Fold the fabric in half so that the selvages match up. Cut a 9″ strip for the cuff. (When you unfold the fabric, you’ll have a piece of fabric 9″ tall and ~44″ wide)

Urban Cholita: Cuff

Step 3: Now, with the fabric still folded, cut a piece that is 27″. This is your body, and 27″ will make a standard pillowcase. (I wanted my case a little bigger to fit my odd duck pillows, so I cut my body 30″. But you can make these any size. To calculate the total length  of the pillowcase add 4″ to the body length and subtract 1/2″ for the seam allowance).

Step 4: Take your second fabric and cut a 2″ strip selvage to selvage (across the width of the fabric). Fold this strip in half wrong sides together and iron it (now your strip will be 1″ wide).

Step 5: Fold all your fabrics in half (matching the selvages) if they aren’t already. Then line up the fold lines and trim off the selvages and any overhang. You want all the fabrics to be the same width (~41-42″).

Step 6: You must lay these fabrics down in a very particular order. First, place the 9″ cuff strip down right side up. Next, you’ll lay down your body right side up. Next comes the folded trim. You’ll be matching up the long raw edge of these fabrics.

Urban Cholita: Fabric sandwich

Step 7: Now that you have your fabric sandwich put together, start rolling the body up from the bottom edge into a tube.

Urban Cholita: fabric tubeStep 8: Flip the bottom of the cuff over and match the bottom raw edge with the other raw edges. Urban Cholita: tube DSC_0043

Step 9: You’ll end up with a fabric tube that looks like this from the side. Pin all the raw edges together and sew them up with a 1/4 inch seam.

Urban Cholita: Fabric tube

Step 10: Now comes the magic, and the part where I stopped taking photos (doh!). Pull the tube inside out, and iron everything flat. You’ll see that you’ve already attached the cuff and the trim. All you have left to sew are two sides.

Step 11: Fold your pillowcase right sides together so that the raw edges of the cuff line up. Now sew the two raw edges with a 1/4 inch seam and finish them off with a zig-zag or overcast stitch. Turn your pillowcase right side out and give it a good press. Voila! You, good sir, just made a pillowcase. I am proud of you.

*You can also get fancy and sew french seams. Check out this tutorial. And here’s another great pillowcase tutorial.

1 Comment

Filed under DIY, Tutorial

One response to “DIY Custom Pillowcases

  1. Thanks for linking my tutorial. I always appreciate a mention.

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