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Learn How to Sew a Pillow Case

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Learn how to sew a pillow case with contrast cuff and trim using the burrito method. Handmade pillow cases are easy to make and can be so easily customized!

Learn how to sew a pillow case with contrast cuff and trim using the burrito method. Handmade pillowcases are easy to make and can be so easily customized! #pillowcase #sewingtutorial

Whether you spell it “pillow case” or “pillowcase”, today I’m going to share with you the burrito method for sewing a pillow case. (I just had to get that grammar/spelling issue out of the way.) 

Our granddaughters recently (OK, four months ago) celebrated their 3rd birthdays. I wanted to make them something special for their birthdays and decided to sew a pillow case for each girl. That way, when the girls come to visit, they will have their very own pillows and pillow cases for nap time and bed time.

Sew a Pillow Case – The Burrito Method

I like to use the burrito method when making pillow cases because they sew up really easily and they hide the seam where the cuff is sewn to the main fabric of the pillow case. There are just a few supplies you’ll need to sew these burrito style pillow cases with a contrast cuff and trim. Although I’m using three different pieces of fabric, you can customize these pillows using one, two or three different pieces of fabric.

In fact, one of the very first sewing projects I ever worked on with my daughter was teaching her how to sew these very same pillow cases using the burrito technique. It’s called the burrito method or technique because you roll the main fabric up and wrap the cuff fabric around it so that it resembles a burrito. You’ll see…

Can you see how hard she’s concentrating on sewing her very first ever pillow cases? 

And these are her finished pillowcases. Aren’t they just too cute?! I was so proud of our sailor girl who wanted to spend part of her time home for Christmas sewing pillowcases for her very first apartment in California. 

How to Sew a Pillow Case with Contrast Cuff and Trim

These instructions are for making a standard size pillow case, measuring approximately 20”x26” finished. I’ll provide information on queen (20”x30”) and king size (20”x36”) pillow cases below these instructions.

Tools and Supplies:

I purchased most of my materials, such as fabric and thread from JOANN Fabrics. The rest of the supplies, I already had on hand. I’ll provide links to similar items, in case you’re interested. 

Materials:

  • ¾ yard main fabric
  • ¼ yard contrast fabric for cuff
  • ¼ yard trim fabric
  • thread

Video Tutorial

For those of us who learn by watching, I’ve created this video tutorial on how to sew a pillow case using the burrito method. If you prefer the written instructions, keep reading… 

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, too! I typically share video tutorials there before I even make them available here on the blog.  

Pillow Case Sewing Instructions

Step 1: 

You’ll make the following cuts with your fabrics: 

  • Cut 1 main fabric 41″W x 23″H  (purple gingham in the photo below)
  • Cut 1 contrast cuff fabric 41″Wx9″H (Tinker Bell fabric in the photo below)
  • Cut 1 trim fabric 41″Wx2″H (pink gingham in the photo below)

Step 2: 

Fold trim pieces in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press flat. 

Step 3:

Place contrast cuff fabric right side up and place raw edge of folded and pressed trim (from step 2) piece along raw edge of cuff. 

Step 4:

Place main piece of fabric face down (wrong side facing you) on top of trim fabric and cuff fabric, having raw edges even. Pin or clip pieces of fabric together along raw edge.

Step 5:

Starting from the bottom end of the main fabric, roll it up towards the pinned edge (the right side of the fabric will show as you roll the fabric up) of the fabric pieces, stopping below where you have the pieces pinned.

Step 6:

Fold the bottom edge of the cuff fabric up and over the rolled main fabric. Line up raw edge of the bottom of the cuff fabric with the raw edges of the pinned fabrics. Remove your pins/clips, line up all edges and re-pin together. The rolled up end of the main fabric should be inside the cuff.

Step 7:

Sew raw edges together using a ½” seam.

(I seemed to have forgotten to take a picture of this step. I’m so sorry.)

Step 8:

From one end, pull the main fabric out until you have turned the cuff right side out.

Step 9:

Iron cuff flat.

Step 10:

Fold case in half, right sides together and edges even. Sew side and bottom edges together using a ¼” seam. I used my serger for this step. If you don’t have a serger, you can simply sew up the side and bottom and then zig zag along the edges. 

Queen Size Pillow Case

Materials

  • 3/4 yard main fabric
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for cuff
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for trim

Cut Fabric

  • Cut 1 main fabric 41″Wx27″H
  • Cut 1 contrast cuff fabric 41″Wx9″H
  • Cut 1 trim fabric 41″Wx2″H

Instructions for sewing the queen size pillow case are the same as for the standard size pillow case above. 

King Size Pillow Case

Materials

  • 1-1/4 yard main fabric
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for cuff
  • 1/4 yard contrast fabric for trim

Cut Fabric

  • Cut 1 main fabric 41″Wx41″H
  • Cut 1 contrast cuff fabric 41″Wx9″H
  • Cut 1 contrast trim fabric 41″Wx2″H

Instructions for sewing the king size pillow case are the same as for the standard size pillow case above. 

Purchase Instructions

I made a PDF of these instructions and made them available in my Etsy shop. The PDF, puts all the instructions in one PDF document and without any ads! You can print the PDF on your home computer or view it on your digital device.

If you’d like to purchase the ad-free PDF set of instructions, simply click here. Thank you! 

Sew a Pillow Case with French Seams

If you don’t have a serger, you can also sew a pillow case with French seams. French seams are a really neat way to finish raw edges. In fact, the edges are completely hidden or concealed in a seam. You’ll find a really nice tutorial on The Seasoned Homemaker for sewing a pillow case with French seams. 

The twins loved their pillow cases. In fact, the pink gingham pillow case belongs to Cora and she is really into princesses, especially Belle. At the time that I purchased the fabric, I had no idea that she would grow to love princesses as much as her Aunt Kristen! You know what else is funny, they love pirates, “argh!” 

More Sewing Ideas

If you love to sew, be sure to check out these other sewing ideas here on The Birch Cottage blog:

Homemade pillow cases (pillowcases) make great gifts, too! You can easily customize them with any combination of fabrics to suit everyone on your gift giving list!  

Sewing a pillow case is a pretty simple sewing project. But, it’s also a great project for experienced sewists as well. These homemade pillow cases make great handmade gifts, too! In fact, one year for Christmas, my friend Betty made all our children an embroidered pillow case. Each child received a pillow case that was handmade just for them. Our oldest son (and the father of our twin granddaughters) received a Batman themed pillow case. Even years later when our little surprise Kristen came along, Betty made a princess themed satin pillow case just for her.

I hope you can see how easy it would be to take these instructions and customize them to sew a pillow case that is just the way you like it or maybe that’s just perfect for the recipient. Wouldn’t matching pillow cases with initials embroidered or maybe “Mr.” and “Mrs.” Embroidered on them make for a nice wedding gift? I’m kind of partial to white on white – perfect for a wedding or bridal shower gift, don’t you think?

Share Your Work

A Handmade Home Facebook Group by The Birch Cottage

If you make these pillow cases (pillowcases), I’d love to see them! You can come join in on the fun on A Handmade Home on Facebook or tag #ahandmadehome in social media. 

Happy sewing… 

Pam from The Birch Cottage

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