Monday, October 31, 2011

Paisley Pillowcases

About a month ago I completed a guest room/office makeover using a pretty set of paisley prints.  One of my projects was to make some custom king size pillowcases for two extra king pillows I had laying around.  King size pillowcases are very expensive and never the right colors to match the décor, I decided to make my own.  Even though there are lots of patterns out there; this is my favorite way to make them, quick and easy.  I use this pattern as a class project with my beginning sewers.  I won’t be using a step by step sewing tutorial here just some dimensions, photos and tips to get you started.  You can e-mail me with questions if you need specific instructions and I will be glad to help you with more details.  Always happy to help a fellow seamstress/sewist.

King pillowcase (1): Approximate finished size is 20” x 40”.

 1¼ yards of 45” cotton fabric for the pillowcase body.

¼ yard of 45” contrasting cotton fabric for the cuff.

¼ yard of 45” third contrasting fabric for the flat trim.

Basic sewing supplies and sewing machine.

If you plan to use the pillowcase to sleep on, pre-wash and press all your fabrics.  When I am using them for decorative purposes only, I don’t pre-wash, keeping the sizing intact giving my fabrics a crisp look and feel.

Before cutting any of your fabrics press out all the folds and creases allowing the fabric to lay flat so you don’t end up with jagged edges when you use your scissors or rotary cutter. 

First up is cutting out the body of the pillowcase to measure out to 37” long by 40” deep, making it 20” wide when you fold it in half the long way.  Once folded it should measure, 37” x 20”. 

Open up the body fabric; lay it out flat with the print side facing up at you.

Next grab your contrasting flat trim fabric and cut a 2” x 45” piece of fabric (the width of the fabric).  Fold it in half with right sides facing up and wrong sides together, making a long strip of printed fabric, press.  Pin it to the width of the body of the fabric you laid out flat, lining up the raw edges, work from the center out as you pin, then cut off the excess ends.

Now do the same thing with the cuff fabric cutting it to 9” x 45”, fold it along the length so the print side is up and you have a nice long strip.  Lay it over both fabrics creating a sandwich with the trim between the body and the cuff fabric.  Make sure all the raw edges are even as you pin working from the center out again.  Cut off any excess fabric.

Stitch your seams in 1/4”, no trimming necessary, and now go back and edge stitch using a zigzag stitch, this way the edges won’t unravel when your fabric is washed.   This is a very important step, don’t skip it or you will have a mass of strings and a poorly made pillowcase, not giving you a professionally finished, long lasting product.  * All your seams will be finished in ¼” seams with a zigzag edge stitch.

Press your seams to set the stitches.

Pull up the cuff to reveal the trim and press it flat. (see photo)  Your pillowcase should now measure at approx. 40” long, depending on how accurate your seams are, a little more or less is just fine and will still fit. (It may be a little tight or loose depending on how full the pillow is stuffed.)

Fold your fabric inside out, right sides together, the full length of the fabric, making a long tube.  You will sew across the bottom and up the side to make your pillowcase body.  Be sure to do your edge stitching to finish off the body.

Turn and carefully press, then iron your pillowcase, for a professional look. It should take you one to two hours to complete each pillowcase depending on your skill set.  The more you make the faster it will go.

Stuff your pillowcase and show off your great new sewing techniques.

To make two king pillowcases you will need:

2 ½ yards of 45” cotton fabric for the body of the pillowcases.

½ yard of 45” cotton fabric for the cuffs.

¼ yard of 45” cotton fabric for the flat trims.

If you are thinking you would love to try making pillowcases but you really don’t need any, you can join the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.  The goal is the donation of one million pillowcases to local charities and was issued by American Patchwork & Quilting.  For details see their website at:
You can find places to donate in your area as well as lots of cute pattern ideas.  My local quilt shop holds a pillowcase making day every year, in December, where we make pillowcases for 8 hours then donate to the local women’s shelter.  It is very rewarding and I have been sewing for charity every year since they started doing it.  You can also make them on your own and send them to the suggested charities on the lists. Lots of ways to help and have fun doing it.

I hope you enjoyed my paisley pillowcase project and you can’t wait to make your own.  Look for my next post, Paisley Crazy, where you can see my complete guest room/office makeover and all the projects I did using the same pillowcase fabrics and other matching projects.  See you soon.

Where to buy paisley fabrics:

Homespun Harbor a Quilt Shop
Hollister, CA

The information in this article is not a complete pattern or tutorial and is provided for information and entertainment purposes in good faith.  No warranty is provided nor results guaranteed.

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