Katie's Craft Corner: Pillowcases

One item that’s an everyday necessity that people rarely buy is the humble pillowcase. It gets used and abused on a daily basis, becoming threadbare and faded, but rarely ever replaced. A walk through the linens aisle at any store shows that for simply being folded and sewn pieces of cotton, pillowcases and other linens are certainly not cheap. Fortunately, with a few of the most basic sewing skills, $5 or less and an hour, you can make comfy, custom pillowcases you won’t be embarrassed to drag over to a sleepover.

The fabric used for pillowcases is basic quilting cotton. It’s available in hundreds of colors and prints, including characters like Hello Kitty and Spiderman to please your inner kid. The fabric used for the pillowcase in this article sells for $4.99 per yard regular price, but often goes on sale for $2.49. Snuggle Flannel fabric makes a luxuriously soft and warm pillowcase.

If you really want to find unique fabric and aren’t afraid to spend a bit of money, Spoonflower.com allows you to design your own custom cotton fabric or purchase yardage of already designed fabrics. Hard to find prints, including that of “Sherlock,” “Doctor Who” and “Lord of the Rings,” can all be found here.

Try using ribbon or contrasting colored fabric to make a trim around the pillowcase opening. You can also pick up a fabric paint marker and have you and your friends write song lyrics, Bible verses or book passages on a plain-colored fabric. Just be sure to make a test drawing on a piece of scrap fabric and put it through the laundry to make sure it won’t run or wash out.

Because a pillowcase is the sort of thing that will get washed and dried often, be sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric so it will shrink and bleed any excess dye. Iron it flat before you begin sewing, as washing will likely wrinkle it and make cutting/sewing more difficult.

You’ll need:

¾ yard cotton fabric

matching thread

Project steps:

Wash, dry and press fabric. Fold fabric in half, right sides facing in towards each other (wrong sides out). Take your current pillowcase and lay it on top of fabric (you’ll be using it as a sizing guide), lining it up so one of the long sides sits right on the fabric’s fold.

Use fabric chalk or a pencil to trace around the pillowcase. Cut the fabric on the 3 non-fold sides, making a one-inch margin around the outside of the pencil or chalk outline.

Use a hand sewing needle or a sewing machine to sew up one of the short sides and the non-folded long side.

Keeping the pillowcase wrong-side out, fold the short side in about three inches (think like a cuff on a shirt or too-long jeans). Use an iron to press this fold, then sew it in place.

Turn pillowcase inside out and give it a final press to flatten seams and create a clean finish.


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