Pillowcases for Every Bed

The first machine-sewing project I ever attempted was a pillowcase. The seams were a bit wonky and the hems were slightly uneven, but when I turned the whole thing right side out and slipped it on the pillow, you know what? It worked! Even with all its imperfections, it looked great, and so began my love affair with the humble pillowcase… and with sewing.

Since then, pillowcases have been my go-to project whenever I’m fond of a fabric, need a last minute gift (Mother’s Day!) or just want to spruce things up around the house. The seams are a bit straighter now and the hems are more precise, but no matter how many other projects I have under my belt, I come back to this simple and rewarding design time and time again.

Sized for Standard, Queen, and King pillows, these really are Pillowcases for Every Bed. And although the pattern is so straight-forward that even a sewing novice can feel confident taking it on, the French seam details and envelope fold cuff add a challenge and polish that more experienced sewists will appreciate.

With two styles (one plain, one with a contrast edging) and ten colorful fabrics, I had so much fun mixing and matching the cases for this giant pile of pillows. So, choose a few favorite fabrics and spend an hour to make a pair for yourself, or an afternoon to refit every bed in the house, or a weekend to make a set for everyone you know. I’m not kidding. They’re that easy and that addictive! - Corinne


To make two Solid Pillowcases:
  • For Standard (20 by 26 inches) or Queen (20 by 30 inches) pillows: 2 yards of a light to mid-weight cotton fabric
  • For King (20 by 36 inches) pillows: 2 ¼ yards of fabric

The fabrics I used are shown and numbered above.

  1. Kokka Fabrics Fine Solids in Grey
  2. Kokka Fabrics Large Gingham in Grey
  3. Kokka Fabrics Small Ginham in Grey
  4. Kokka Fabrics Fine Solids Beige
  5. Kokka Fabrics Large Gingham in Beige
  6. Kokka Fabrics Small Gingham in Beige
  7. Rowan Fabrics Shot Cotton in Shell
  8. Rowan Fabrics Shot Cotton in Apricot
  9. Kokka Fabrics Fine Solids Brown
  10. Rowan Fabrics Shot Cotton in Squash

To make two Edged Pillowcases you will need ¼ yard of a Contrasting Color, in addition to the materials listed above.


Standard Pillowcase: 19 by 27 ½ inches
Queen Pillowcase: 19 by 31 ½ inches
King Pillowcase: 19 by 37 ½ inches


Prewash all fabrics before starting.

The fabrics used here have no clear right or wrong side. If you are working with these or similar fabrics, you may choose either side as the right side for the first hem, but be sure to follow this precedent for all subsequent steps.

Edged Pillowcase Pattern


From the Main Color, cut two 21 by 57 ½ (21 by 61 ½, 21 by 67 ½)–inch rectangles From the Contrasting Color, cut two 21 by 7 ½ inch rectangles.

Note: When cutting simple rectangular shapes for patterns such as this, straight, clean cuts are key. The best way to make these cuts is with a rotary cutter and a non-slip quilting ruler on a self-healing cutting mat. If you have limited experience using a rotary cutter, I recommend visiting our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.


Fold one short side of one of the Main Color rectangles ¼ inch towards the wrong side and press. Fold this same edge ½ inch towards the wrong side again, press and pin. Sew the hem down with an edgestitch. This is Hemmed Side A.

Fold one long side of one of the Contrasting Color rectangles ¼ inch towards the wrong side and press. Fold this same edge ½ inch towards the wrong side again, press and pin. Sew the hem down with an edgestitch. This is Hemmed Side B.


Lay the Main Color rectangle out flat with the wrong side facing up.

With the right side facing up, line up the long raw edge of the Contrasting Color rectangle with the short raw edge of the Main Color rectangle (the wrong sides of the two pieces will be facing each other). Pin in place along this edge. Sew along the pinned edge with a ¼-inch seam allowance.

Fold along the seam so that the right sides of the two pieces are now facing each other. Press flat and pin.

Sew along the pinned edge with a ½-inch seam allowance.

Press the seam towards the darker of the two fabrics.

Sew Sides

Lay the prepared fabric flat with the wrong side facing up.

Fold Hemmed Side A 6 inches towards the wrong side and press.

Fold Hemmed Side B over to meet the pressed edge of the 6-inch fold. Make sure that the edge of Hemmed Side B is perfectly in line with the pressed fold.

Pin along the two long raw edges. Sew along the pinned edge with a ¼-inch seam allowance.

Fold the pillowcase inside out, making sure the 6-inch flap wraps around the Hemmed Side B and the wrong side of the flap seam faces up.

Press the long side seams flat and pin.

Sew along the pinned edges with a ½-inch seam allowance.

Turn right side out and press flat.

Repeat with the other two rectangles for the matching case.

Solid Pillowcase Pattern


Cut two 21 by 64 (21 by 68, 21 by 74)–inch rectangles.


Fold one short side of one of the rectangles ¼ inch towards the wrong side and press. Fold this same edge ½ inch towards the wrong side again, press and pin. Sew the hem down with an edgestitch.

Repeat with the other short side.
Now work as for the Edged Pillowcase Pattern (above), from the Sew Sides section to the end of the pattern.
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13 Responses to Pillowcases for Every Bed

  1. that wonderful blog!

  2. OK….Kokka fabric…the solid brown….I need to make me some of those…perfect!
    Or…maybe the entire stack! Great post…thank you.

  3. TerriSue says:

    The banded ones would be perfect for embroidery. It's always so hard finding a pillowcase with a wide enough band for the vintage patterns. This way you could custom make your width if it needed to be wider. Thank you so much!

  4. Kelley says:

    Wow! I'm so thankful you included the tutorial! I am going to add it to The Pillowcase Project I have going this year– pillowcases to distribute at Christmastime to the pediatric patients at National Children's Hospital, a charity hospital in Manila, Philippines where I live. Pillowcases are being contributed from all over the world. :o)

    This is so easy!

    Thanks again,

  5. Connie says:

    Does Kokka make plain white fabric for those of us who want to match our existing sheets?

  6. Hello,

    I love your pillowcases, they are brillant!
    My first project was also a pillowcase… and it was what made me love sewing.
    I can't wait to sew more,
    Thanks for this tutorial,

    Crafty Albumine

  7. Nancy says:

    Envelope fold cuffs are on every pillowcase sold here in Australia and I love that as I'm originally from the States and hadn't seen that before! I'm even more excited to have this tutorial so that I can now make my own with this added feature. Thanks so much!

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Connie-

    Kokka doesn't make a plain white fabric instead we would recommend using Moda Muslin 200 Count in White. It's very soft and smooth, like a nice pair of white sheets.

    Good luck with the project and thanks for writing in!


  9. Pam says:

    I love these pillowcases. They are so beautiful. I have never made pillowcases before because I did not know what fabric would be suitable. I have seen the Kokka gingham described as smooth and almost silky. So, that seems like a good option.

    It looks like your solid cases were made with the Rowan Shot Cloth. Is that a smooth cloth?

    I guess my phobias come from growing up with percale pillowcases as acceptable and muslin not acceptable.

    Would you address the issues of suitable fabrics, please. I'm in need of some education in this area.

    Thank you for this great tutorial.


  10. Debbie D. says:

    I actually accomplished this very task this AM.. as simple as it sounds, I used a queen top sheet. We dont use the top sheet from the sheet set in my house except for dropcloths etc :) BUT we also have 3 pillows on the bed and it just KILLS me to spend all that money for another set of pillow cases when I only need one! So this AM I took that top sheet, using the already there 4" hem, I cut a piece 46"x32" folded it in half, RS together so I had 23"x32" and sewed the one side and bottom at 3/8" with a straight stitch, then again with an overcast stitch to keep the freying down.. Now I have enough fabric left to make 3 more at least to donate! woohooo!!

  11. purl bee says:

    Hello Pam –

    Thank you for writing in!

    The Kokka Gingham and Fine Solids are soft and silky and would be a great option. The Rowan Shot Cottons are also soft and lightweight, come in a great selection of colors and will get softer with wash and wear.

    Also, the Moda Muslin 200 Count that Molly recommends above is very crisp, soft and smooth. Don't let the name scare you off!

    Finally, if you're not afraid of prints, Liberty of London Tana Lawn is extremely silky and fine.

    I hope this helps!

  12. Pam says:

    Thank you, Corrine. That is very helpful.

  13. Cussot says:

    This is a beautifully written tutorial, Corrine. It's well thought out with just enough detail to ensure a satisfying result. Thanks!

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