Making a pillowcase is a fun and simple beginner sewing project, and in this tutorial, I will show you how to add a contrasting cuff using the burrito method. It only requires a yard of fabric and about 15 minutes to make.
I’ll show you how to make them using a sewing machine, and a serger, and how to sew a French seam if you choose. You can also add a small strip of trim if you want and I’ll show you how easy it is to do that.
I have a FREE printable PDF guide showing the fabric measurements for a STANDARD, QUEEN, AND KING-size pillowcase. A standard pillowcase only requires one yard of fabric.
Standard Pillowcase Instructions
When you buy cotton and flannel fabric from the store, the width that it comes on the bolt varies from 43-44 inches. The first measurement on the cutting guide shows 44 inches x whatever. That is the width (cut edge) of the fabric, not the selvage edge. So it may be 43-44 inches.
Don’t worry about that because I’m going to simplify the process by cutting off the excess in one of the steps that will save you some time. So just cut those pieces out as indicated in the photo.
TIP: Before cutting the pillowcase pieces, make sure you are starting out with a STRAIGHT EDGE. The video tutorial gives some good tips on how to do this and why it is important!
*****If you’re using a directional print fabric (images are facing one direction), you’ll need to cut it out differently. Check out the video tutorial on how to do that.
CUTTING OUT PILLOWCASE FABRIC PIECES
- Main Fabric – cut 1 piece 44 x 28 inches / 111.5 x 71 cm
- Cuff Fabric – cut 1 piece 44 x 9 inches / 111.5 x 23 cm
- Narrow Trim (optional) – cut 1 piece 44 x 2 inches / 111.5 x 5 cm
1- If you are applying the trim, fold the trim piece in half horizontally with Wrong Sides Together (WST) and press to form a crease. Set that aside.
2- Place the CUFF PIECE right side facing up.
3- Take the pillowcase MAIN PIECE and place it on top of the CUFF PIECE RIGHT right side facing up. Line up the edges. **Don’t worry if the side edges don’t line up. We’ll trim those off so they’re even in just a bit.
4- If you are applying trim, add that to the pile with the RAW EDGES lined up with the edges of the cuff and main piece. Pin or clip in place.
5- Take the top edge of the MAIN PIECE, and start making a little jellyroll towards the cuff.
6- Continue to roll until it is in the middle of the cuff.
7- Fold the other edge of the cuff over the jellyroll and line up that edge with the others.
8- Pin or clip all those edges together using pins or clips.
SEWING THE PILLOWCASE CUFF
1- Take the roll to the sewing machine or serger and sew along the pinned edge using a 1/2” seam allowance.
2- THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS! Grab a piece of the jellyroll from one of the ends and start pulling it out and continue until all the innards are pulled out.
3- Unroll the fabric and wallah, you have a beautiful ENCLOSED SEAM.
4- Flatten the fabric out and press the cuff so the seams are pulled out completely.
5- Fold the pillowcase in half with the WRONG SIDE FACING OUT (sewing machine & serger method or RIGHT SIDE FACING OUT (burrito method).
Line up cuff, trim, and fabric edges.
Measure 20.5 inches from the fold for the regular seam method and 21 inches from the fold. Cut off all the excess fabric.
There are three different methods to finish the seams on this pillowcase.
- Sewing machine
- French seams
Sewing Machine Method
1- Sew along the side and top of the pillowcase using a ½ inch seam allowance. Clip the corners.
2- Finish off the seam by sewing a simple zigzag stitch along the edges so it will not fray. There are other stitches you can use to finish the seams. WATCH THE TUTORIAL HERE.
ZIGZAG STITCH SETTING AT 4 wide, 3 length.
3- Turn the right side facing out and give it a good pressing.
1- Simply sew along the edge using a ½ inch seam allowance. ***For some helpful tips on how to start and end serged seams watch the video tutorial.
2- Turn right side facing out and press.
PILLOWCASE FRENCH SEAM INSTRUCTIONS
1- With the right side of the fabric facing out, you are going to make the first seam using a ¼ inch SEAM ALLOWANCE. I know this may seem wrong, but trust me.
Make sure the cuff edges and trim are lined up.
How To Add A Tag or Label To The Pillowcase
If you want to add a tag or label, this is the time to do it. If not, skip to the next step.
Locate where you want to add the tag and baste it in place with the sewing machine 1/4 inch from the edge. Place the tag so the folded edge of the tag is outside the pillowcase edge as shown in the picture. **Make sure you allow space for the seam. The tag needs to stick out after sewing both seams. So find where the ¼ seam would be then account for the next 3/8 inch seam and see how the tag will be exposed and adjust accordingly. (I hope that makes sense). The video tutorial will show how it is done.
2- After sewing the first pass with the ¼ inch seam. Cut any strings stray threads from the cut edge. Turn the pillowcase WRONG SIDE FACING OUT and press out the edges.
3- Now take it back to the sewing machine and sew another pass USING A 3/8 INCH SEAM ALLOWANCE.
4- Turn the pillowcase RIGHT SIDE FACING OUT and give it a final pressing.
Tadah! Now wasn’t that simple. Look at the tidy, professional French seam.
These pillowcase burritos make such fun gifts! Grab a yard of fabric and have fun sewing!