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

Materials

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.

Sizes

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

Notes

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

Cut

From the Main Color, cut two 21 by 57 ½ (21 by 65 ½, 21 by 73 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.

Hem

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.

Piece

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

Cut two 21 by 64 (21 by 72, 21 by 80)–inch rectangles.

Hem

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.