How To Sew A Pillowcase For Beginners

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Learning how to sew a pillowcase is a relatively simple task that can be completed with a few basic supplies and some basic sewing skills. The finished product will be a stylish and functional pillowcase that can be used in your home décor or as a gift for someone special. In this article, I will provide detailed instructions on how to sew a pillowcase for beginners, step-by-step.

Sewing A Pillowcase Overview

Learning to sew a pillowcase is a great beginner sewing project. In this tutorial I will show you how to sew a decorative pillowcase. We will learn how to create simple ruffles along with how to sew a pillowcase with a flap. After you have mastered this lesson, you will be able to take you new skills and easily translate them to learn how to sew a standard pillowcase if desired.

Sewing pillowcases is one of my favorite sewing projects for beginners. It gives the opportunity to work on your stitching and sewing skills. It is also a fun way to add some personality and style to your home. If you are interested in learning how to sew a pillowcase, read on for detailed instructions!

Materials Needed to Sew A Pillowcase

At the outset, you will need to gather a few basic supplies. Below you I have listed specific items you will want to collect before you begin sewing your pillowcase.

Materials Needed to Sew A Pillowcase

Fabric: Be sure to choose a fabric that is soft and smooth with no stiffness or roughness. Cotton, polyester, and flannel are all great options for sturdy yet soft materials. For my tutorial, I used two separate colors, one for the pillow and a separate color for the border.

Sewing machine (optional): You will need a basic sewing machine in order to sew your pillowcase. If you do not own a sewing machine, you can still complete this tutorial using hand sewing techniques.

Pins: For holding fabric in place while you sew.

Scissors and / or Pinking Shears: These will help you to cut your fabric to the size of your pillowcase. Pinking shears are a great option because they can help to prevent fraying while you cut.

Rotary Cutter and Cutting Mat (Optional): If you already have a rotary cutter and cutting mat, these can be used to cut your fabric instead of scissors. This is a great option if you have a lot of fabric to cut or if you want to achieve perfectly straight cuts.

Measuring tape or ruler: For measuring your fabric and ensuring that it is the correct size.

Seam ripper (optional): This can come in handy if you make any mistakes while sewing.

Iron and ironing board (optional): For ironing your fabric before you begin sewing. If you already have an iron for quilting then you can use it.

Thread: Be sure to match the color of your fabric to ensure a clean, finished look.

Sewing Table (optional): If you do not have a dedicated sewing machine table do not worry, any stable flat surface will suffice.

Now that you have gathered your materials, you are ready to learn how to sew a pillowcase step-by-step! Below I will provide detailed instructions for creating both basic and more decorative pillowcases.

How to Sew A Pillowcase Video Tutorial

If you are looking for a visual aid, I recommend watching a video tutorial. Below is a helpful video that can guide you step-by-step through the process of sewing your own pillowcase.

How To Sew A Decorative Pillowcase

This tutorial is for beginners who want to learn the basics of sewing a pillowcase with some extra flair. This pillowcase features ruffles along the opening and a flap closure.

Iron Your Fabric Before Starting to Make A Pillowcase

Ahead of starting you will want to iron your fabric. This will help to ensure that your fabric lays flat while you are working with it and also gives the finished product a neater appearance.

Fold Your Fabric

Prior to cutting you will want to fold your fabric. For a standard pillowcase that is the same size as your pillow, you will want to fold your fabric in half vertically. Allow some extra room at the top of the fabric so that you can later create a flap for your pillowcase. If you are creating a decorative pillowcase with ruffles, you will want to cut your fabric into thirds instead of halves.

Cut your fabric to size.

You will need to first measure your fabric pieces. We will first fold our main fabric in half lengthwise and measure 13 inches and leave a 6 ” section on the end. This will be for the flap of your pillowcase.

If you are using a rotary cutter and cutting mat to make a pillowcase, you can use the ruler and cutter to measure out the size of your fabric pieces.

Proceed to cut your fabric according to the measurements that you have determined. The end result of making pillowcases fabric that measure 13 x 13 when folded.

If you are making a standard pillowcase you will use different measurements. A standard size pillowcase measures 20 x 26. So you will want to cut your main fabric piece in a rectangle that measures larger than 20 x 26.

Cut Your Border Fabric

Similar to your main fabric for our pillowcase, you will need to measure and cut the border fabric.

Border Fabric Strips

For the border of the pillowcase, we are typically going to do one side piece that almost reaches the corner on both sides and one top piece for the flap. So if measuring 13 inches for our pillowcase interior, I recommend cutting a strip at least 19 inches long. We will leave the fabric strips longer as we will be folding them into a ruffle

You will need a total of 4 strips of fabric for the border for making pillowcases in this guide. Try to cut in straight lines if cutting with scissors or pinking shears.

How many different fabric prints can I use for this diy pillowcase?

For our tutorial we keep things simple and use only two fabric colors, one for the main fabric and one for the pillow cases border. As you gain experience sewing pillowcases, you can experiment with using different fabric prints and patterns.

Looking for other great beginner projects, Best Beginner Quilting Kits

If you want to use more than two colors or patterns, be sure that the fabrics coordinate well together. You do not want your pillowcase to look too busy or chaotic. When in doubt, stick to using similar colors or patterns throughout the pillowcase for a more cohesive look.

One great option is to use a solid color fabric in the middle and then add contrasting patterns or colors to the edging of your pillowcase for a fun, modern look.

Whatever you decide, remember that making your own pillowcases can be a very creative process and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Now that you have cut your fabric to size, it is time to move on to sewing!

Sewing The Border

We will sew each of the four border pieces together to create one long strip of fabric. Place two of the border pieces right sides together and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat this step for the remaining two border pieces.

How to Sew A Pillowcase Border

Create The Flange

Now we will create the flange for our pillowcase. This is the fabric strip that will be sewn around the entire opening of the pillowcase.

To do this, we will first need to gather the fabric strip. To create a nice, full ruffle it is best to use a fabric strip that is at least double the width of your pillowcase opening.

For our pillowcase, we cut our flange strip at 19″ wide. This will give us a nice, full ruffle when we gather it.

If you are using a narrower fabric strip, you may need to sew two strips together to create one long strip that is wide enough.

Once you have determined the width of your flange strip, cut it to the desired length. The length will be determined by the circumference of your pillowcase opening. For our pillow case, I recommend cutting the strip at least 3 times the length of your pillowcase opening.

For example, if you have a 40″ circumference opening, cut your flange strip at least 120″ long.

If you are using a narrower fabric strip, be sure to sew two strips together to create one long strip that is wide enough.

Once your fabric strip is ready to go, you will begin sewing the flange to the pillowcase opening.

Pin your fabric right sides together and sew down each side of the flange using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim any excess threads or loose edges and turn right side out.

Sew the Raw Edges Onto Our Pillowcase Base Fabric

Now that you have your flange attached to the pillowcase, it is time to sew on the raw edges onto our main fabric.

Lay your pillowcase base fabric right side up and then place one of the long border strips along the raw edge of the pillowcase opening. You will want to align this strip with one of the sides first and then stretch it out to fit along the remaining two sides.

Pin this strip in place and then repeat with the other long border strip on the opposite side. Now you should have all four sides of your pillowcase base fabric bordered by a border strip.

Once all of your strips are pinned in place, sew around the entire pillowcase opening using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

French Seams

A French seam is a type of seam that is sewn with a specific technique to create a neat and finished appearance on the inside of the fabric. French seams are a great option for projects that require a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.

Other great sewing projects, How to Sew A Hem by Hand

To sew a French seam, first fold the fabric so that the wrong sides are together and pin in place. Next, sew a narrow seam around the perimeter of the fabric, using a 1/4″ or 1/2″ seam allowance. Then unfold the fabric to reveal your folded seams and trim away any loose threads or excess fabric. Finally, use your sewing machine to sew another seam over the first one, this time using a 3/4″ or 1″ seam allowance. Your finished French seam should look clean and neat on the inside of your fabric, and will be durable enough to use for any project. Congrats, you just made your first French seam.

Hem the Back Piece

Taking the back pillow fabric and the 6 inch fabric strip cut earlier, pin the strip on each side of the back piece of fabric.

Sewing the Flap

You want to make sure that you turn under the edges and fold them in half before sewing so that there are no raw edges visible. Once your strips are pinned into place, sew down each edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance. When finished, trim any excess thread or loose edges and turn right side out.

Assemble the Front and Back Fabric Pieces

Now that your pillowcase base and back pieces are hemmed, you can start assembling your pillowcase.

Fold the right side of your base fabric down one inch to hide the seam on the edge. Pin in place and then sew around the entire perimeter of your pillow case using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

This will create a nice, clean finish on your pillowcase.

Now take the back piece of fabric and insert it into the pillowcase so that the right sides are together. Pin in place and then sew around the entire perimeter of your pillow case using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Turn right side out and insert your pillow form. That’s it! You’ve now completed your very own pillowcase!

Finished Pillowcase

Conclusion for Our Pillowcase Beginner Sewing Project

Now your DIY pillowcase is complete and ready to use. Congratulations on a job well done! Whether this is your first time making a pillowcase or you are an experienced sewer, we hope that this tutorial was helpful and easy to follow.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you!


Below are some frequently asked questions about sewing a pillowcase.

Do I need any special tools or supplies to sew a pillowcase?

You will need basic sewing supplies, such as needles, thread, pins, and scissors. In addition, you will probably want to have a sewing machine for speed and convenience. However, it is possible to sew a pillowcase by hand if desired.

How long will it take to make a pillowcase?

The length of time required for any sewing project including sewing a pillowcase will depend on your skill level and the complexity of the particular design that you are working on. Simple designs can typically be completed in an hour or less, while more complex designs may take several hours or even days to complete.

What are some common mistakes people make when sewing a pillowcase?

There are several common mistakes that people make when sewing a pillowcase. If you looking to start sewing, make sure to avoid these mistakes in order to ensure that your pillowcase looks and functions as expected.

Incorrect Measurements

One of the most common mistakes people make when sewing a pillowcase is not measuring the fabric correctly. It is important to measure both the width and the length of the fabric in order to ensure that the pillowcase will fit properly.

Do Not Account for Seam Allowance

In addition, people often forget to account for the seam allowance, which is the amount of fabric that will be lost when the seams are sewn.

Not Pressing the Fabric

Another common mistake is not pressing the fabric before cutting or sewing. Pressing the fabric will help to ensure that the finished product is smooth and wrinkle-free.

Incorrect Finishing

Finally, people often make the mistake of not properly finishing the edges of the fabric. Whether you are using a serger or hand stitching, it is important to make sure that the edges of your pillowcase are neatly finished before use. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful, functional pillowcases.

What are some easy ways to personalize a pillowcase?

There are many easy ways to personalize a pillowcase. One way is to add appliqués or embroidery to the fabric before sewing it into a pillowcase. This can be a fun way to add a personal touch to a gift or simply to create a unique piece for your own home.

Another easy way to personalize a pillowcase is to use different colors or patterns of fabric for the front and back pieces. This is a simple way to create a two-toned pillowcase or to add some interest to a solid-colored pillowcase.

Finally, you can also add trims or embellishments to the finished pillowcase, such as ribbons, buttons, or decorative beads. With a little creativity and some basic sewing skills, you can easily create unique and personalized pillowcases that are perfect for any occasion. So why not get started today? Whether you are using the pillowcase as a gift or simply to add a splash of color to your own home, the possibilities are endless.

What is the best way to store a pillowcase?

Pillowcases should be stored in a cool, dry place. They can be hung on a clothesline or placed on a shelf. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight, as this can cause the fabric to fade over time. When not in use, pillowcases should be folded or rolled to help prevent wrinkles and creasing. Additionally, you may want to consider using a pillowcase cover to protect your pillowcases from dirt or dust while they are stored away. With these simple storage tips in mind, you can keep your pillowcases looking fresh and new for years to come!

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