Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pillow Case Tutorial {With Finished Seams}

I'm sure everyone who reads this knows how to make a pillow case with finished seams, but I had no idea so I'm posting a tutorial just in case you don't!

I am making pillow cases for the FNSI donation to ConKerr Cancer and had to youtube and google search what "finished seams" actually were- then what I found really only had vague descriptions.  I need in depth, absurdly detailed tuts if I'm going to do something by myself that I've never attempted before. 

I made what are called French seams, but I did them inside-out or backwards or however you prefer to think of it.  The way that I commonly saw had the final seam showing on the outside of the pillowcase.  Not cool to me.  I saw one way {see previous youtube link in below post} to have it so that you can't see the seam but it is still sewed twice an is therefore finished.  This backwards method may have a bit bulkier seam, but I like the finished product way better! 

Simple Pillow Case with {Backwards} French Seams

First I cut 2 pieces of fabric.  One 26.5" x 40.5" and the second 40.5" x 10.5".  The first is the body of the pillow, the second is the border.  {These are the dimensions requested by ConKerr}

Lay the border right side up, long-wise.

Lay the body pillow piece wrong side up, long wise.  Match the raw edges. You shouldn't be able to see the border.

Roll or fold the body from the bottom and continue until you reach the upper middle of the border piece underneath.  Make sure you don't pull on your raw edges.  If you feel it necessary, pin the raw edges together in a few places to prevent tugging.

Take the bottom of the border and wrap it around/over top of the rolled body piece.  Match this third raw edge to the two previously paired.  This creates what is commonly called the hot dog method of creating hidden seams for the case.

Pin the raw edges together.

Sew.  Back stitch at the beginning and the end.  I used a quarter inch seam.

When you are done, you should have an enclosed hot dog case.

Turn your hot dog case inside out by gently tugging the body portion of the pillow and rolling the border back. 

This is what you have when you are done.  In a lot of directions I saw that there was another decorative ribbon added between the borer an the body piece.  This is a 2.5" strip, folded wrong sides together and pressed.  This {pressed, raw edges matching raw edges} gets sandwiched between the border {right side up} and the body {right side down}.  When you flip it after sewing you will have a nice accent ribbon.  I made my case for the charity's specifications so mine does not have this accent. 

At this point I like to press my border to give it a nice crisp edge.

Now to create finished edges on the rest!

Remember, this may be backwards from what you have seen.  Fold the case wrong sides together {it
very much looks like a pillowcase before you have sewn it}.  Pin.  I'm addicted so I pin a lot.

Sew.  I used a quarter of an inch seam.

To prevent bulk on the next step I like to trim my seam to an eighth of an inch with my rotary cutter.

I also like to trim the corner like you would if you were making Dresden blades to prevent super huge corners.

Flip the pillowcase inside out.  We are going to sew another seam.  This is a thread color that you can see if you are peering in from the outside so I switched from the white I was using to a pink to match the fabric color.  Also, because I like my fabric to lay flat all the time I pressed my seams before I sewed again.  I feel like this makes it easier in the next step.

I used my walking foot at a quarter of an inch for the long side.  The border material at this point gets very bulky using this "backwards" method and the walking foot becomes your best friend.

I switched back to my quarter inch foot for the smaller side as the bulk is significantly less {assuming you trimmed your seam.  If not, you may want to widen your seam or continue with your walking foot}.

This is what it will look like when you are done.  Notice I did NOT trim my corner this time.

Flip right side out and Ta-Da!  Pillowcase!

Nearly makes me wish I had a daughter to make a cute pillow case and quilt set for.  Almost :)


  1. This is the 'hot dog' method - nicely done tutorial. Love the little birdie fabric!

  2. Thankyou for this! Made one many moons ago--will try it again!

  3. Your first tutorial! I'm so proud of you!!!

  4. Thanks for this tutorial! My mom & I used it today to make four pillowcases; they turned out great!


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