November 16, 2015

Handmade Holiday: Pillowcases

When this time of year comes around, I'm always at a loss about whether or not I should make something for gifts for family and friends. I have really good intentions and well, you know what they say about that. This year, I happened upon an idea - pillowcases and thought I should share. I was doing some housecleaning and upkeep one weekend and noticed that my bed could use a new set of pillowcases. Instead of purchasing some from the store, I thought it would be easy enough to take some of my stash and make a set. It was easy, in fact and it was so easy that as I was cranking them out in the space of 30 minutes or so, I instantly thought these would make great gifts. The key feature for me being that these are very doable in a reasonably short timeframe and yet, they still add a nice handmade touch to your gift giving. Never thought my 7th grade home-ec project would turn into a gift giving idea - but I'm hooked now! Not to mention, I have to admit, sometimes it feels really really great to crank out an easy project and you can go a little crazy personalizing them for each family member or whom ever you are planning to give them to.

Here's what I did. I took an old pillowcase that I liked and measured the dimensions. Mine measured 38" x 30". I opted to add a 4" contrast hem, so the dimensions I cut for the body of the pillowcase were 39" x 27" which included seam allowances of 1/2". The contrasting hem was cut to 9" x 39" which also included seam allowances. I cut these so that only one of the long edges of the pillowcase had a seam - it was just easier.
From here, all you have to do is sew up the bottom edge and side seam and seam finish them off. If you've don't have a serger, a french seam would be very easy to do.
For the contrast hem, I stitched the short ends together first and folded the long edges wrong sides together. Stitch to the raw edge of the pillowcase with right sides together, finish the seam and voila! Done!
I added a triple stitch to the top to hold the contrast hem seam in place. You could do some fun stitches that you never use or keep it simple. I opted for a quilting cotton I had in my stash, which is an easy natural, fun and colorful choice. Seriously, these are so easy and look how exciting they are - something you definitely aren't going to pick up at a department store!
Additionally, these are easy enough to change up a little too and who said you only had to use quilting cotton? I made this gorgeous set for my mom from some silk jacquard with a silk satin contrast hem and then for my darling little nieces, I went wild with prints, added a ruffle edge and some contrasting trim. All the fabrics were from stash and the ones for my nieces were scrap fabric! The design elements are all up to you and how personal/economical/time consuming you want to make them.
The more I think about it, the more I would love to receive a gift like this. So personal and functional - both things that I love! So if you're in the hustle and bustle and are wondering what in the world you're going to do for gifts this year, consider pillowcases! Enjoy friends!


  1. Best gift idea EVER. I think this will be my first project for my new machine when I get it! And I'm going to be the recipient of the first set!

  2. I dearly love a project that looks great and gets done in a short amount of time!

  3. I make pillowcases for gifts on a regular basis. Back when Disney's "High School Musical" was the rage with the tween set, I made and sent several HSM pillowcase to the grand nieces. I made sure to add in extra since there were ocassionally visiting step children as well. In short, the girls could not have received anything better that year. Their mom said they had developed a rotation of who got what pillowcase.

  4. I love this idea!

  5. This is such a great simple idea, and will be so well received, now off to dig through stash!

  6. Such a simple, yet great gift! My local quilt shop has the fabric in packages so you get coordinating fabrics for body and contrast which is what I did for my grandson's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pillowcase. It's a bit more expensive to buy the kit but the fabric is ADORABLE and I didn't have to think. :) You're right, these are a great gift and I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want a set. I've even made pillowcases from a top sheet that already has the top edge finished off with pretty satin trim and lacey stitching. Easy-peasy to cut and sew up the bottom and side. Secret: When I buy super expensive bed linen separates, I will make my own king pillow cases from a coordinating top sheet. $45 for a set of king pillowcases? HA! I don't THINK so!

  7. This is a great idea! I love your fabric and trim combinations and have a few fabrics in my stash that will work well with this project. Thanks so much for sharing this fun post!

  8. Are these pillows hard to wash? It strikes me that with the regular washing I give my bed clothes these colours would fade very fast!

  9. Beautiful! This is a great gift. My mother did this for all her kids and grandkids one year. It was very economical for her on a fixed income and we all got something special she made. She's been gone for 5 years now :( maybe everyone could use a new set from me this year...hmmm... better get busy!

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