Friday, July 09, 2010

Beginner Sewing: Large Pillowcase

First Stitch, by Francis Day 1863-1942  American

Commercial pillowcases can be expensive, and are not always made with natural fabrics. Some people sleep better when they use cotton or linen and avoid synthetics and blends. Sometimes it is difficult to find exactly the kind of pillowcase needed for an adult pillow, so today I am going to show you a few simple steps to making a large pillowcase.

As  in the picture, above, take a pillowcase you already have, and lay it down on your doubled fabric. You will notice the pillowcase has only two seams: on on the side, and one on the end. The other side is a fold. Place the folded side on the folded side of the fabric. Cut a few inches larger than the pillow case. On the opening end, leave about 6 inches of fabric, so that you can make that deep hem that you see on most pillowcases.

Open up the fabric you have cut, and with the wrong side facing you, turn down the raw edge at one end, one fourth inch and iron it down with a hot iron.

Then, fold down that hem again another 3 or four inches, as you see here. Hand stitch, using an over-cast stitch or slip-stitch, as shown.

The pillow from the previous entry shows the longer space on the right, for the deeper hem. You will be cutting around your old pillowcase, somewhat like this, leaving sufficient space, at least 2 inches, around the pillow.

Stitch the end and  one side, leaving a margin of about a half an inch.  In the future, I will show how to make a French seam for pillowcases. If you use a machine, you can zig-zag the inside seam to give it a finish and prevent the fabric from shedding threads.

While sewing this, I found out one of the reasons for such a wide hem on pillow cases. When the pillow is placed on the bed, sometimes a bit of the hem will show, and the hem will be folded over with the right side of the fabric, the most beautiful side, will be visible.

Beginners might enjoy this floral padded pig pillow or soft toy. the eyes are matching rose buttons, and the ears are lined with pink felt underneath. The curly tail is wired with a twist tie inside of the matching fabric, then tied with a pink ribbon.  It sounds complicated but is almost as easy as a pillow.


Anonymous said...

That is a very pretty print of fabric you use for the tutorial.

I love the beautiful prints you use for these tutorials and for the outfits you have sewn for your dresses.

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed all of your beginner sewing posts so much. These are perfect projects for my 8 year old who loves to sew but sometimes I am at a loss to come up with a new project for her.
Thank you for posting these and I look forward to more!

Gina said...

I love the idea of hand sewing; that you could sit with your family in the evening stitching something on your lap. Do you think a very simple skirt could be made with hand stitching?
I get so frustrated with bobbin issues and threading my machine that I'd love to do a little project. Thank you in advance!

Anonymous said...

So glad you offered this lesson ..making one's own pillow cases is really a treat...esp. when you see darling prints on flannel for the winter and with only a small amount of fabric, whip up yourself and your family memebers some real nice, cozy pillowcases! I've done it and it's worth the little bit of effort...saves you lots of money...unless you get 'carried away' with buying lots of fabrics!

Lynn M

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, you can defintely handsew a simple skirt, while sitting in your living room with your family. Great idea...I may do this too...but outside in the summer evenings instead of being trapped inside at the sewing table!
Lynn M

Anonymous said...

During our summer vacation trips I would take a hand sewing project or a small portable sewing machine, pattern, fabric, sewing tools and when we finally reached our destination would set up and work outside in the shade.

It was totally relaxing and when I finished I had a project all done. It was time well spent and I was refreshed.

Thank you for sharing that we don't have to stay cooped up in a stuffy house when there are projects to be done. I love your projects too.