How To Make A Pillowcase With A Cuff // Easy Burrito Method

PILLOWCASE BURRITO

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.

GET THE PDF HERE

PILLOWCASE MATERIALS & ITEMS NEEDED

  • Fabric (flannel or quilters cotton)
  • Sewing machine (serger optional)
  • Sewing machine needle size (Universal 90/14)
  • Scissors (Rotary Cutter & Mat optional)
  • Pins/Wonder fabric clips
  • Seam gauge/ measuring tape
  • Iron/Ironing board
  • Label/Tag (optional)

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.

PILLOWCASE BURRITO FABRIC PIECES

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
pillowcase burrito

FABRIC PREP

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.

PILLOWCASE FABRIC LAYERS2- 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.

PILLOWCASE JELLYROLL

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.

PILLOWCASE JELLYROLL PINNING7- 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.

PILLOWCASE CUFF SEAM

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.

PILLOWCASE JELLYROLL2- 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.

PILLOWCASE TRIMMING

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.

PILLOWCASE SEAMS

There are three different methods to finish the seams on this pillowcase.

  • Sewing machine
  • Serger
  • French seams
PILLOWCASE SEAM

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.

PILLOWCASE SEAM SERGER

Serger Method

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

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.

PILLOWCASE TRIMMake sure the cuff edges and trim are lined up.

PILLOWCASE TAG

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.

PILLOWCASE PRESSING4- 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.

PILLOWCASE FLUFFED

These pillowcase burritos make such fun gifts! Grab a yard of fabric and have fun sewing!

Have fun making PILLOWCASES!

jan3

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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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4 Basic Sewing Machine Seams and Seam Allowance Tips

seams and seam allowances

In this tutorial I am going to go over the basic sewing machine seams and give you some seam allowance tips.

What are seams?

Seams are the building blocks of a clothing item and are the points of connection between fabric pieces. As a beginner seamstress, the first thing you will learn how to do is sew a basic seam. (Sew two pieces of fabric together).

There are several different types of sewing stitches that you can use to make up seams. Be sure to check out my SEW SIMPLE SERIES, A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO SEWING, where I show you all the basic stitches, seams and guide you through several easy sewing projects. (PATTERNS INCLUDED).

seam allowance

What is a seam allowance?

Whenever you sew seams, you’ll have some kind of seam allowance. This is the distance from the seamline to the raw edge of the fabric, which allows the fabric pieces to be durably connected without fraying or coming unsewn.

 

Here are some basic seam allowance “facts” and “rules”

  • The width of the seam allowance depends on the type of fabric and the seam finishing technique used. A thicker, bulkier fabric requires a larger seam allowance while thinner, lightweight fabrics work well with a narrower seam allowance.
  • The most commonly used seam allowance measures 3/8” to ½”.
  • Some seam allowances are finished to ensure seam durability and prevent the raw fabric edges from fraying. Fabrics like knit or polyester do not need to be finished. Here are some simple techniques to finish seams (NO SERGER NEEDED).
  • After the seam is stitched, the seam allowance should always be ironed down in a specified direction in order for the seam to lay flat (you’ll see a demonstration of this in the sewing tutorial video below).
    All conventional sewing machines have a seam allowance guide to the right of the sewing machine needle. In order to sew each seam at the proper seam allowance, the raw edge of the fabric is aligned with the appropriate seam allowance guideline according to the required seam allowance length. In my tutorials, I usually give some great tips on things you can do and use to make following these guides easier.
  • Most patterns will give you the SEAM ALLOWANCE requirements and measurement for that specific project. If it doesn’t, use the standard 3/8 inch seam allowance. (This by the way is just the edge of your normal presser foot).

BASIC 3/8 INCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the two pieces of fabric you are working with together, matching edges and pin in place. Use the 3/8 inch guide on the top plate of your machine to line up the edges of the fabric, or if your presser foot edge is at that measurement, you can just use the edge of the presser foot as your guide.pressing seams
  2. Sew the seam. Open up the seam allowance and press flat using an iron.

FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

A flat felled seam is basically an overlapping seam that’s sewn flat. When the seam is complete, there are no raw edges showing. It’s used frequently in menswear because it’s extremely durable and sturdy and provides a neat finish. If you’re wearing jeans, take a look at the seams. They are almost certainly flat-felled. Use a flat felled seam on shirts or trousers, which see a lot of stress, and you’ll get a durable finish.

Here’s how to go about sewing a flat felled seam.

  1. Pin fabric with right sides together. You will be using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. tape seam allowance guideI like to place a piece of masking or painter’s tape onto the sewing plate at the 5/8 inch mark. This will help you see more clearly and help you guide the fabric along as you sew.pressing seam allowance
  2. Instead of pressing the seam open, you’re going to fold the seam allowance to one side and press.flat felled seam stitching
  3. Flip the fabric over to the right side. Now sew a straight line on the side that the seam allowance is pressed to.1/8 inch seam allowance
  4. Sew 1/8 inch from the seam line fold. TIP: Most presser feet will have little notches indicating 1/8 inch marks. This is nice to use this feature when sewing this seam. Simple line the fabric up with that right 1/8 inch guide and sew away.

FINISHED FLAT FELLED SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

trimming seam allowance

  1. Sew the seam with a ½ seam allowance. Before pressing the seam, take your scissors and trim away ¼ inch from the right seam allowance.pressing seam allowance
  2. Fold the uncut seam allowance over the cut seam allowance and press in place.
  3. Now fold the top seam allowance under ¼ inch encasing the cut allowance. Press in place.
  4. Topstitch in place along the folded edge to secure in place.

FRENCH SEAMS INSTRUCTIONS

French seams are perfect to use on lightweight, sheer fabrics, or lace. I like using this seam when I make pillowcases. The seam encasing all of the fraying fabric edges inside a tiny seam allowance of 1/4″ (5mm). French seams can be great to use if you haven’t got an overlocker (serger) and want to create a perfect finish to your project.

  1. When sewing a French seam, you start by placing WRONG SIDES OF THE FABRIC TOGETHER, instead of right sides together.French seam 1/4 inch seam
  2. Sew the first seam using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Then, fold the fabric along the seam line, so the right sides of the fabric are together and the stitching is at the edge of the fold. Press well, so you are working with a sharp crease at the fold on the seam. You may want to pin the fabric edge, especially if you are using a slippery fabric.3/8 inch seam allowance
  3. Now sew another seam using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.

     

  4. Press the finished seam to one side or the other.

Play Video

There you have it, 4 basic seams for you to use.

HINT: my SEW SIMPLE COURSE COMES WITH INSTRUCTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS FOR ALL SIZES OF PILLOWCASES.

OTHER BLOG POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

7 Sewing Machine Presser Feet and How To Use Them

Unpicking Serger Stitches the EASY WAY

SEWING BY HAND | Most Important Stitches to Know

Have fun sewing my friends!

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More