Pillowcase Set

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Pillowcase Set

I've recently been working with our youngest son on redecorating his bedroom.

We've made a few of the new items ourselves, including his quilt and a bolster pillow, and have plans in place to make some things that will hang on his walls. Watching his excitement as he anticipates each new thing being started and finished has been a lot of fun for me and it's made my efforts feel very appreciated. Something I didn't anticipate is how spreading the entire project out over a couple of months, rather than taking a trip to a store and buying everything in one stop, has been a blessing in more than one way. I get to see his excitement stretched out over a long period of time and he is experiencing the necessary life lesson of having patience!

After finishing his quilt, he wanted to go purchase new sheets to go with it. We came home with navy blue sheets and pillowcases and he, being 8 and filled with excitement, wanted to get it all on the bed immediately. I, being a crafter, wanted something more than just plain pillowcases. As we skimmed over magazines and through books looking for ideas on a theme for his bedroom, I discovered housewife pillowcases. If you're not familiar with them, while the open end of a bag-style pillowcase leaves the actual pillow exposed, a housewife pillowcase has an extra flap sewn in the open end which creates a pocket that hides the pillow.

will's pillowcases 1

So instead of this.

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You see this!

I also wanted to make the pillowcases more decorative, yet I wanted to keep them more functional than typical pillow shams. I find the excess fabric around the perimeter of a pillowsham to be bothersome when I'm sleeping. I decided a set of pillows with a patchwork front and a set with the band near the opening replaced was what I needed. I went to work cutting off the top of the band of a pillowcase, adding some fabric that coordinates with the new quilt in place of the old band, and adding the interior flap to make the end more attractive.

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To create the patchwork pillowcase, I began by using the Fiskars 45 mm Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter, the 6.5 inch x 24.5 inch Acrylic Ruler, and the 18 inch by 24 inch Cutting Mat to cut 6 different fabrics into 9.5 inch by 10 inch squares. I added a vertical stripe to each pillow using a 2.75 inch x 20.5 inch strip of fabric.

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Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, I stitched the panels together by sewing each top row square to a bottom row square and then sewing each double-square panel together, including the long narrow strip.

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I could have purchased an extra flat sheet to cut the remaining panels for my pillowcases but I wanted this to be a quick project so I just used a set of plain, inexpensive purchased pillowcases. It needed a bit of alteration done to it to make it work so I started by using the rotary cutter and acrylic ruler to trim off the very edges of the seams. Removing the seams was easy by quickly pulling out the seam thread from here. Doing this was much faster than trying to sit and rip all that serged stitching with a seam ripper.
Next, keeping the pillowcase folded as if the seam I just ripped out was still in place, I ironed a crease down the opposite side of the pillowcase. Opening the pillowcase out into one flat panel, I used the crease I just made as my cutting line to cut the panel into 2 equal panels.

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I cut one panel down to 29.5 inches long. From the other panel, I cut a 10 inch long panel. Both panels remained at the 20.5 inch width they started at.

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I hemmed one end of each panel by folding it over 1/2 inch, folding it 1/2 inch again, and stitching the fold in place.

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To finish the assembly, I laid the patchwork panel right-side facing up and the longer of the navy blue panels face down on top of that, matching the raw edges.

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Next I laid the short navy blue panel on top of that, wrong side up, matching the raw edge with the raw edge of the patchwork panel. This will hide the hemmed edge of the other navy blue panel. After pinning the panels all together, I stitched around the entire perimeter.

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To prevent the exposed raw edges of my pillowcase from unraveling, I trimmed them all with the Softgrip Pinking Shears.

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The final step was to turn the pillow right-side out. Before doing this, I took the pocket created by the short navy blue panel and turned it right-side out, as seen here. From there, I turned the entire pillowcase right-side out.

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And it was ready to use!

A few Fiskars tools and some pretty fabrics of your choice is all it takes to make an inexpensive set of standard pillowcases into a set that really makes a statement.