Standard Pillowcase Tutorial

This is a great beginner project because it gets right to the heart of cutting and sewing straight lines.  It’s easy to modify this project, too, by adding piping or ribbon.  These make excellent gifts and only take 1 (total) yard of fabric. Make sure you take a look at the finished pillowcase at the end of the post so you understand where the fabric you select will go.

A note about fabrics: select your fabric from the cotton or quilting section (rather than the apparel or home dec sections). Quilting cotton generally comes in a 45″ width, but some fabrics are a few inches less or even an inch or so wider. If the fabric you love is 42″, don’t worry, you’ll still have enough fabric.  Feel free to mix and match patterns or a solid and pattern. Do not use stretch or knit fabrics, stick to 100% cotton woven fabrics (flannel works) for the best success.

Materials List:

1/4 Yard 45” Fabric (for header)

3/4 Yard 45” Fabric (for body)

Matching thread


Seam Allowance: 1/2”


Terms to know:

Selvage: The manufacturer’s edge of the fabric.  Often copyright, color swatching and basic information is printed on the selvage.  This edge is “sealed” and will not unravel like a raw edge or seam.

Raw Edge: Where the fabric has been cut

Raw Seam:  Where the cut edges of two (or more) pieces of fabric have been sewn together

Straight Stitch:  Quite simply, a series of stitches that make a straight line (——)

Overcasting: A zig-zig or actual stitch (see your manual) that is used to “finish” a raw seam ( /\/\/\/\/\/\/\ or _/_/_/_/)


standard pillowcase instructions pdf

Step 1: Prepare the Header

Take the 1/4 yard of fabric and fold and press flat lengthwise with the pattern side out.  You will have a long, thin strip of fabric that measures approx. 4.5 x 45 inches:

Step 2: Prepare the Body

Take the 3/4 yard of fabric and open it up and press.  This will measure approx. 27 x 45 inches.

Step 3: Attach Header

Place the body piece down, fabric side up and place the header on top.  Match the header to the body with raw edges together.  If one piece is longer than the other,  center shorter piece.

Pin the three edges together, going through all pieces of material and crossing the cut line with the pins.  The point should face the raw edges.

Sew a straight stitch down the length of the header.  Raw edges should be to the right.  Remove pins.

Trim edge to approx. 1/4”.  Then repeat by overcasting.  Trim threads.

Step 4:  Finish

Fold back the header and press.

Fold the pillow case in half with printed sides together (it should look like an inside-out pillow case now.  Using a straight edge, trim off any excess fabric.

Pin the two sides with raw edges (it will be an “L” shape).  Straight stitch and overcast as you did with the header.  Trim threads.

Clip corner.

Turn right side out and insert a fluffy pillow. Take a nap–you did it!


2 thoughts on “Standard Pillowcase Tutorial

    • Absolutely! If you have a serger and know how to use it, by all means do! I rarely have students who use a serger, so I generally recommend overcasting or using French seams.

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