Friday, March 2, 2012

TUTORIAL: Super Simple Pillowcases

Pillowcases are easy to make and they are a fun way to "dress up" your bedroom to match your mood!  With so many fun fabric prints out there, it's almost too easy to have pillowcases for every season...or even every day of the week!

This is the Super Simple Pillowcase Pattern; it's perfect as a first sewing project for beginners and takes maybe half an hour at the most to finish.  It also uses "French seams" which keep all of the messy, frayed edges of the fabric tucked away.  French seams only require one extra step, and they add a "professional" touch to the finished pillowcase!

To get started, all you need is ONE yard of fabric.  That's right, just ONE yard!  You'll want to fold it in half to make a rectangle that is 36 inches by 22 inches (...just keep it folded like it was on the bolt at the store).  Since we're using French seams, keep the right sides of the fabric facing out.  You'll also want to trim off any contrasting selvedge (that's the strip along the edge that tells you who designed the just gets in the way).  Now pin and sew along the side and across the bottom edge.  I like to use a 1/4 inch seam here.

Once you've finished your seam, trim it in half to 1/8th inch and snip off the tip of the corner.

Now turn your pillowcase inside out.  Flatten out the seam and "wiggle" it to the very edge.  It is helpful to use a chopsick or a thin, pointy object to help poke out the corner so that it's nice and neat.  You'll want to iron the folded edge and possibly pin it so that the seam stays put.  Now sew along the same edge AGAIN with a 1/4 inch (or 3/8 inch) seam.

Ta Da! You just finished a French seam!  See how the raw edges are all neatly tucked inside the second seam?  Now there is no way that the edges will fray and get all gross looking.

Alrighty, now it's time to sew the top band of the pillowcase.  This will be at the open end where we haven't sewn yet.  While keeping the case inside out, fold the top down three inches.

Now fold it over three inches AGAIN.  Iron the folds flat and pin it in place.

You'll want to fold your French seam flat.  Just pick a side to turn it to and keep it on that side as you fold over the top.  If you do it right, the seams should line up.  This is also a good way to tell if you are folding the top down squarely!

Now just sew along the edge relatively close to the fold.  I like to sew about 1/8 inch away from the folded edge and then do a second seam about 1/4 inch away from the first.  That way it looks like I used one of those fancy "double needles" even though I don't have one!  But here is where you should get creative and perhaps try one of those decorative stitches on your machine.  Have fun with it!

Last step:  Turn your pillowcase right side out and stuff a pillow inside!  You're done!

Sleep well my friends!

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