How to Sew a Child’s Pillowcase
Make a Special Pillowcase for a Child
Sewing a child’s pillowcase is an easy way to say, “You’re special to me!” Learn about choosing the right fabric, think through how to measure and make the pillowcase, and see some ideas on giving it in this hub for a beginner's sewing project. You can create a fun gift!
Tips to Consider Before Beginning the Project:
• The fabric(s) should be machine washed and dried, then ironed, before cutting the pillowcase out.
• Pay attention to the print’s direction before you cut and assemble a pillowcase.
• Gather fabric(s) and sewing supplies ahead of time.
• Set aside more time than you expect to need for making the first pillowcase. This is an approximately 1 hour project for the average seamstress.
• When you finish early take pictures of your project, relax, and have a cup of tea.
A high quality woven cotton is the best fabric choice for pillowcases. It breathes and does not stifle or scratch tender skin like a synthetic fabric will.
Kid print cottons are always a winner for children, but don’t throw out ideas for other fabric prints such as those with nature, geometric, and hobby designs woven in or printed on them.
Consider using two different prints to add interest to your project. I used a bright traffic sign print that most boys would enjoy along with a bold red and white striped design. The available choices are amazing--and fun to ponder!
Cutting Out the Pillowcase
Decide what size pillowcase you want to make.
• Standard size pillow is 20” wide x 26” long.
• Queen size pillow is 20” wide x 30” long.
• King size pillow is 20” wide x 36” long.
For a simple pillowcase made from one piece of fabric you would add 9” to the length and 1” to the width. To make a pillowcase with an added band for the hem you would need to add 1” to the length and 1” to the width, then cut out a 10” wide band that is 2 times wider than the pillowcase width.
I made a standard size pillow case with a band from contrasting fabric. After ironing the fabric I folded the sign fabric (main piece) and striped fabric (band piece) in half, wrong side out.
I did not make a pattern, though that might make the process easier for beginners. A factory made pillowcase can be an easy guide for making a pattern.
Because the project was just two rectangles I simply marked the measurements directly on to the folded fabric. The sign fabric needed to be marked at 21” wide (on fold) x 27” long, and the striped fabric needed to be 10” wide by 21” long (on fold).
Note--if you do not make a pattern recheck the measurements after you mark the fabric for cutting because the age-old carpenter’s rule applies to sewing. Measure twice, cut once!
Once the rectangle(s) are cut out it’s time to pin and sew the pillowcase.
Assembling the Pillowcase
Pin side and bottom edges together for sewing.
If your pillowcase is a one piece rectangle and you are not applying a complementary band you need to sew a 1/4” seam along the bottom and side seams, making a nice neat corner. Then hem the pillowcase opening by folding and pressing 1/2”, then repeating so you can machine stitch along the edged of the inside fold.
After sewing the side and bottom seams of my pillowcase as above, I sewed the ends of my band together. Then I pinned the band to the pillowcase opening. After stitching with a 1/2” seam I pressed the sewn edges toward the band.
Pressing the band’s opposite edge down 1/2”, then pinning that folded edge to the seam that held the band to the pillowcase allowed me to finish the hem neatly with machine stitches. (See photos.)
Don’t you think that designing and making a pillowcase like this is an easy, useful, and happy sewing project? Imagine all the ways you could dress one up for a child to enjoy!
Why Make a Kid’s Pillowcase?
I made this fun pillowcase for our grandson and tucked it inside his sister’s birthday box (with a few other small things) so he would know we are always thinking of him.
However, it’s not necessary to have an excuse or an occasion to create a project like this because any time is a very good time to let them know we love them!
For less than $7 this gift makes a big statement to my little grandson. I used it as wrapping for some boy stuff and such, but it could just as well be used as a gift bag to hold a larger present or some matching jammies.
If you come up with a new idea for making and gifting this pillowcase sewing project please let us hear about it! Leave it in the comments below or maybe write your own hub so we can see what you've done.