How To Sew A Pillowcase By Hand

If you are looking for a way to update your room and not want to break the bank, updating something as simple as your pillow could do the trick. You don’t even need to go out and buy some new pillows as we will show you how to sew a pillowcase by hand in this guide.

Creating a new pillowcase is a fun and easy way to update your pillows. If you are new to sewing or have never sewn before making pillowcases is a great first project. Follow this step by step guide to start creating your new pillowcases. A sewing machine is not required either. A simple needle and some thread will do the trick.

Besides adding a few more minutes to the process, sewing a pillowcase by hand is very similar to that of using a sewing machine. But, don’t let the thought of working with a needle and thread deter you from completing this project. There are a couple of reasons why you would want to use a needle and thread.

  • Cost – It is inexpensive to purchase these two materials (needle and thread) 
  • Ease- anyone can learn to hand stitch. 

Types of Pillowcases

There are four main types of pillowcases. The first two are the most common and can be found in any home.

Types of Pillowcases

Standard Pillowcase: This is the most common type of pillowcase. It is usually rectangular in shape and has an open end. One side will feature a hem while the other is unfinished.

Envelope Pillowcase: This pillowcase gets its name from the envelope closure at one end. It is also rectangular in shape but has a finished side and an open side. The open side has a flap that will overlap the pillow to keep it in place.

Pillow sham: A pillow sham is similar to a standard pillowcase but is usually decorated with embellishments such as ruffles, piping, or tassels. It is also common for pillow shams to be made from a different material than the pillowcase.

Neckroll Pillowcase: This type of pillowcase is cylindrical in shape and is used to support the neck while sleeping. It is usually much smaller than a standard pillowcase.

Materials Needed To Sew A Pillowcase

Materials Needed To Sew A Pillowcase
  • Needle
  • Thread – Color should match the fabric, but not required
  • Fabric – Pillow size will determine the amount of fabric that you will need. I prefer cotton fabric but, you can use any type that you would like.
  • Cutting Mat and Rotary Cutter
  • Pillow – If you don’t have one already then one will need to be purchased
  • Straight pins

Steps on How To Hand Sew A Pillow Case

Steps on How To Hand Sew A Pillow Case

Below is a step by step guide on how to sew a pillowcase by hand. This is great early practice before moving onto more complicated projects such as learning how to sew a baby blanket.

Step 1: Decide on Fabric

Picking out fabric is the best part. It allows you to decide on a style that can change the dynamic of the room. Finding the right color that will fit your scheme is one of the most important things to consider. There are a few things that you must consider when selecting a fabric.

How will the pillow be used?

The pillowcase will need to feel comfortable against the skin for one but in what capacity. Satin, soft cotton, jersey knit, and flannel are all excellent choices. Now you must consider the pillow use. Will it be used for decorative purposes? Or one that you would like to curl up with and enjoy a good night sleep. 

If you’re going to sleep on your pillowcases, make sure to choose a washable fabric for sleeping. If used for decorative purposes, then the material would not need to be as soft or as easy to wash.

Step 1a: Press the Fabric

Prior to starting any project it is important to press the fabric. This will help with cutting and sewing later on.

When pressing fabric, I prefer to use a spray bottle with water vs the iron. You will want to be careful not to over-wet the fabric, or it will take forever to dry. Just a few spritzes should do the trick

Step 2: Cut Fabric

Use a scissor or rotary cutter to cut the fabric to size for a standard pillow.

Remember when cutting patterned fabric, make sure that pattern is straight after cutting.

Make sure to leave a seam allowance when cutting the fabric. This will ensure that the pillowcase will not be too small after sewing. A seam allowance is the space between the cut edge of the fabric and the stitching.

Step 3: Fold Fabric

Now fold the fabric in half, length-wise with finished sides together. The other side of the fabric, or wrong side, should be facing out.

Step 4: Pin (Font and Back) sides Together

Pin the sides together (remember the wrong sides should be facing out). Leave the bottom edge open that way the pillow can be slid into the case later. Start pinning 2” from the bottom corner and work your way across the case, placing the last pin roughly 2” from the other bottom corner.

Step 5: Sew

Starting at your first pin at the bottom corner, thread your needle and start hand sewing. Bring your needle through both layers of fabric.

Move the needle (over 1.8”) and then push the needle back through both layers of fabric.

Keep repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have worked your way around the whole pillow, until reaching the last corner, stopping about 2” away from the corner on the bottom edge of the fabric.

Step 6: Cut off the thread

Pull a small amount of fabric located right next to the tread. Slowly pull your needle and thread through making sure not to pull it entirely through leaving just a small loop of thread. Pull your needle and thread through the loop.

Step 7: Use the Corners

Carefully clip the fabric that is located at the four corners, making sure not to cut the stitches. Now turn the fabric right side out. Then reach in and push out the bottom two corners.

Step 8. Insert Pillow

Now that your pillowcase is complete, you can now place your pillow into the pillowcase.

Hopefully, after completion, you are feeling accomplished. Not only have you added a little style and color to your room but gained a little confidence in your sewing capabilities so you can start your next project.

Hand Sewing vs Machine Sewing A Pillowcase

The biggest difference between hand sewing and machine sewing is the seam allowance. When you are hand sewing, you will want to use a small seam allowance, around 1/4 inch. This is because it is much easier to sew a smaller seam by hand. If you are using a machine, you can use a larger seam allowance, around 1/2 an inch.

Another difference is the type of fabric you can use. When hand sewing, you will want to use a softer fabric like cotton or jersey knit. These fabrics are much easier to sew by hand. If you are using a machine, you can use a variety of fabrics including denim and canvas.

Finally, the time it takes to complete the project is different. Hand sewing a pillowcase will take much longer than machine sewing. If you are looking for a quick project, machine sewing is the way to go.

Wrapping Up How To Sew A Pillowcase By Hand

Hand sewing can be quite therapeutic. The process is calming, and the end result is satisfying. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with enough information on how to sew a pillowcase by hand. If not feel free to do some research of your own or even ask a friend. Happy sewing!

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