Accessories & Home Décor

Learn How to Make a Pillowcase in 15 Minutes With the Burrito Method

Pillowcases can be a fun project to sew, even for beginners and kids! In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a pillowcase in just 15 minutes using either a regular sewing machine or a serger.

Make a new set of pillowcases for your bed, stitch some up for a gift or gather your friends and sew pillowcases for charity!

Learn how to make a pillowcase with the burrito pillowcase method in this tutorial.

Materials for an Easy Pillowcase Pattern

Materials for a pillowcase

  • 3/4 yard (27″ x width of fabric from selvage to selvage) of the main fabric
  • 1/4 yard (9″ x width of fabric from selvage to selvage) of coordinating fabric for the cuff
  • 2″ x width of fabric (from selvage to selvage) strip of solid fabric for accent, pressed in half lengthwise to make a 1″ folded strip

Want to print the directions for later? Download a free PDF of this pillowcase pattern here.

Directions for how to make a pillowcase:

Step 1: Lay out the fabrics for your pillowcase.

Laying Out Fabric for a Pillowcase Pattern

Layer the fabrics in front of you as follows:

  • Place the 9″ coordinating fabric right-side up.
  • On top of that, place the 27″ main fabric right-side up, aligning the top raw edges.
  • On the very top, place the folded accent strip, so that the raw edges are aligned with the top raw edges of the other pieces.
How to Make a Pillowcase With the Burrito Method

Step 2: Roll up the fabric

Starting at the bottom and working your way up, begin to roll the 27″ main fabric panel into a little tube or “burrito.” Stop rolling when you get about to the center of the 9″ coordinating fabric.

Rolling Up Fabric for the Burrito Pillowcase Pattern

Here’s another view of what your stack will look like. Double check to make sure this is what you see. The coordinating fabric should be on the bottom, right-side up. The main fabric will be on top of that, right-side up. The folded accent strip will be on top of that, raw edges aligned with other raw edges.

Step 3: Fold up the bottom fabric

Take the bottom of the coordinating fabric, and bring it up over the burrito

Next, take the bottom of the coordinating fabric (the chevron fabric for me), and bring it up over the burrito. Align the raw edges with the raw edges of all the other fabrics. Pin in place along the raw edges, making sure to trap the skinny accent strip as well.

Step 4: Sew along the raw edges

Pillowcase Pattern sewn with a 1/4" seam along the raw edges

Sew with a 1/4″ seam along the raw edges, or you may use a serger as pictured.

Step 5: Unroll the burrito and press

Unfold the Pillowcase Burrito

Begin to tug at the fabric inside the burrito, pulling it out of the tube, until it looks like this:

How to Make a Pillowcase Using the Burrito Method

Continue pulling until your pillowcase looks like this. Press flat, paying close attention to the accent strip and coordinating fabric.

Step 6: Trim to size

trim off the selvages on a homemade pillowcase

It’s time to trim off the selvages and get your pillowcase to the right size! First, trim the pillowcase so it is 28″ from the accent strip to the opposite end. Then, remove the selvages so the pillowcase is only 40″ wide. I like to fold my pillow case in half like this so it is easier to measure and cut the 40″ length (which means trimming to 20″ when folded in half).

Finishing with a serger

If you are using a serger, fold the pillowcase in half (as pictured above), and serge the raw edges on the top and right sides only. Turn right side out and press. You’re done!Fold the pillowcase in half with wrong sides together

Finishing with a sewing machine

If you are using a regular sewing machine, you’ll want to sew a French seam on the top and right sides, so you have a nice finished edge. First, fold the pillowcase in half with wrong sides together.

Stitch a line 1/4" on the two sides with raw edges

Next, stitch a line 1/4″ in on the two sides with raw edges only. This will go against your intuition, unless you’re familiar with French seams.

Press the pillowcase

Turn the pillowcase wrong-side out and press, poking out the corners. Now, sew a 3/8″ seam (or a 1/2″ if you prefer) on the same two sides you sewed earlier. This will trap the raw edges inside and make a nice, clean finished edge.

Finished seam inside the pillowcase

Here’s what the finished French seam looks like on the inside of the pillowcase. This not only looks prettier, but it will be more durable than an unfinished seam.

How to Make a Pillowcase: tutorial with Riley Blake fabrics

That’s it! You’ve learned how to make a pillowcase and you’ve finished the burrito pillowcase pattern. You can also make the pillow without the 2″ accent strip, or sew it up in all one fabric for a more traditional look!

Download a free PDF of this pillowcase pattern to print and save the directions!

Pin this photo to save this tutorial for how to make a pillowcase!

How to Make a Pillowcase With The Easy Burrito Method

Free Guide! Sewing Stylish Pillows — Simplified

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65 Comments

Sherol Roy

Very confusing. So many steps to make a simple pillow case. There is a much easier way.

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Barb

Vanessa of CraftsyGemini shows how to do this and it is very simple. Much better than this one………………

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Lindsay Conner

Barb, yes Vanessa does have great video tutorials!

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Lindsay Conner

I’m sorry Sherol! Can you tell me what steps confused you? I’m happy to try to explain. This tutorial included extra steps to explain you can do this with a server OR a sewing machine.

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Julie S

Thank you for this tutorial! Not sure what others found confusing. I found it very easy to follow, especially with the great photos. Good job!

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Lindie L Adamus

Can you share?

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Ashley Gomez

Very clear directions on how to make a great pillowcase! Thanks, Lindsay!

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Jayne

I don’t think it was confusing at all. Lindsay was kind enough to show two methods, perhaps that is what is confusing. This method of making pillow cases is unbelievably simply and the results are amazing! Thank you Lindsay for the tutorial!!

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Stefanie Williams

Great post, Lindsey! I use this method always and they are so incredibly simple to make. I find that it is much more efficient to make several at a time, so I usually wait until I need quite a few and I whip them up in no time.

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Lindsay Conner

Stefanie, what a great tip to make several at a time!

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Callie T

Thanks Lindsay! I especially appreciate the bit on the accent strip. I whipped out two of these in no time and they look great!

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Sandy D

Just read through the tutorial and do not find it confusing at all. Going to use it to make my Granddaughter an Olaf pillowcase for her B’Day. Thanks for the Tutorial.

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Becky Greene

I love the fact that there are no exposed seams in your method! Thanks for the great tutorial!

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Veronica

Lindsay, this is a great tutorial with excellent descriptions and pictures. I used the method with the serger and no accent strip to make over 20 pillowcases to give my daughter’s kindergarten class for Christmas last year. Like Stefanie said, making a bunch at once assembly line style is so quick. I finished all 20+ in just a few hours and the kids absolutely loved them! Plus, it was a great way to use up a lot of fabrics in my stash that I’d had forever!

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Jenny

what a great idea! I’d like to see your fabric stash. Dang, that’s a lot of fabric!

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Veronica

It didn’t even make a dent, Jenny!

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Lindsay Conner

That is amazing that you made 20+ of these for your child’s class!

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Jenny

This is a genius way to make a cute and quick pillowcase. People learn differently, and I’m one of those people who cannot understand a pattern or tutorial completely until I have worked my way through it. They always seem like gibberish for me until I have performed each step, one at a time. Having used this method, I can say for sure that this tutorial is clear if you take each step one at a time and consider it.

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Betty

It’s like magic! I would’ve never figured this out on my own, but with this easy tutorial I’m off and running. Thanks Lindsay!

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Pat

Much of the tutorial is very well written, and it is all very well illustrated. What may be confusing, particularly to a new sewist, is duplicate instructions. The tutorial would have been presented better if after Step 8 there were two separate “paths to follow” to choose from, one for someone using a serger and one for someone using a sewing machine instead of having duplicate sequential instructions.

Although the preludes of “Finishing with a Serger” or “Finishing with a Sewing Machine” were included in subtitles, it’s likely to be a mystery to someone who hasn’t sewn before or hasn’t sewn much because instructional steps are generally sequential, not duplicative, and the layout (where it’s not likely to be particularly obvious in Step 9 where you go if you don’t use a serger and if you’re ALSO supposed to skip a step) implies duplicity. Physically splitting the instructions into two columns could have helped, and not using sequential numbers could have helped. For example, a novice sewing machine user would have to skip from Step 8 to Step 10 with no clarification about how the
“serger business” got in because there is no sentence that says “Serger users use Step 9 and quit, and sewing machine users use Steps 10 through 13, inclusive, to finish.” How many times have you read a tutorial where you were comfortable completely skipping a step and proceeding when you didn’t know what you were doing anyway? Probably not many unless you’re psychic.

Since there was only one distinct step (Step 9) for the serger user to wrap it up after Step 8, the instructions could have been written exclusively for sewing machine users with a sidebar for serger users — Step 9 could have been in a little box to the side, and a notation at the end of Step 8 or the beginning of the following step could have stated that serger users can follow the instructions in the sidebar to finish easily and quickly.

The tutorial started out confusing. I’m guessing that WOF means width of fabric, but how would someone new to sewing guess that? How would they know what the heck you’re talking about? Acronyms should be explained in their first usage in virtually any writing, especially if you have any hope of keeping novice fans.

Lindsay, you did an excellent job in your photos and much of your text, but it wasn’t perfect, and it wasn’t appropriate for a new sewist not familiar with sergers, sewing machine, sewing and sewing “slang.” You can easily remove the confusion and make it perfect. Move Step 9 to a sidebar and add a notation directing serger users (and don’t forget to renumber the steps afterwards), change the finishing instructions after Step 8 for serger users and sewing machine users to two columns so the “journey” of learning is physically and visually clear or renumber the instructions with appropriate details about which type of machine user skips what step(s). It’s not as bad as it sounds, and you should congratulate yourself on getting the tutorial almost perfect. It is a fast way to make a pillowcase.

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Merry G

I agree with Pat, I am a rather beginner sewer, and the words “WOF”s really turned me off, that might have helped lose my patience to read through this tutorial with much imagination to construct the pillow case this way the first time. Now after carefully read with picturing each step in my head again, I could comprehend how this was made. It’s basically you sew the fabric in a “tube” shape in a way that the seams are not seen from the right side, and then, trim/sew off the both ends right? It took a bit to figure this simple fact out, even this tutorial has a hint of the word “Burrito Method”. A short quick description or summary (sewing a fabric in a tube shape with no visible seam, and finish the ends, or something) might have helped tremendously to see a large picture of this method. The work “Burrito” certainly got my attention when I saw this method, but the uneasiness of following through together with sewing slung took me one day to come back this blog and tackle again to learn this method.

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Karen

I think Pat is being way too critical. After all this is not a “learn how to sew” pattern. One should have a handle on sewing basics before ever starting a pattern.

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Barbara W

I love this method of making pillowcases, so quick and easy. I made one for each of our five children, their spouses (2) and our three oldest grandsons for Christmas last year. I used each person’s favorite college football team fabric. There were 6 Alabama, 1 Georgia, 1 Auburn and 1 LSU thrown in the mix. Everyone loved their pillowcases. One of them went to our son-in-law who was deployed in Afghanistan.

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Louvinia

This is a “hot dog pillow case” and it is on utube as such.. I have been doing them for a few years.

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Sagelady

Wonderful detailed instructions! I have been making these for many years now and would like to add a couple of tips. First, prewash your fabric or it will shrink at different rates and be different widths at the border. (learned the hard way). Second, stitch down the loose edge of the accent strip while the pillowcase can still be opened flat. Otherwise the pillowcase will demand to be ironed, and even then may not lay flat. A little top stitching 1/8 inch from the edge will save you a lot of work later. BTW, I make my accent strips 3 inches wide, folded to 1 1/2 inch in width.

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Lindsay

Thanks for the awesome tips!

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Barbara

I also always prewash my fabric when I’m making pillowcases. I didn’t the first few times and the pillowcases did shrink a bit, and made the pillow a tight fit.

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Gal Noir

I have some additional comments, which are not directed at Lindsey, but at Craftsy. My expectation is that photos illustrating steps in a tutorial should be neat and nearly perfect. The photo illustrating Step 11 shows a side seam with a jog in the stitching, followed by one or two long, irregular stitches, followed by some normal stitches. Also, the entire line of stitching is not parallel to the cut edge of the fabric.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only example of problems with photos of sewing projects. The garments sewn for photos of Craftsy Kits are made with wobbly stitches, dimples at the end of darts, unpressed seams, etc. I would assume that a company that is as large as Craftsy appears to be would hire a professional sewer to complete its samples. I love Craftsy’s videos and sewing kits, but am disappointed in the sewing skill evident in the illustration of projects. I am, as I’m sure many customers are, an experienced sewer who can spot unpolished sewing skills immediately. I find these issues incongruous with the high quality of the other offerings by Craftsy.

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Lindsay

Hi Gail! I appreciate your comments, and also appreciate the fact that they are not directed at me. But I feel compelled to reply and simply say that everyone has a different style of sewing. I shared a quick tutorial that beginners can sew, and I hope to show anyone that they can do this, even if it’s not perfect. I tend to not stress out about making the things I sew look perfect (more concerned with usability), and with a toddler at home, I often have only little bits of time to sew, so I try to make them count! I admire the great skill of quilters and sewists who’ve come before me, and I’m always open to learning.

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marissa | rae gun ramblings

I just have to say thank you for actually showing imperfections! I think so many people are scared off when they aren’t perfect to start with. And seriously if anyone has the time to worry about a slight crocked stitch when their going to bed their your new handmade pillow they have a mighty easy life. That kinda stuff really makes no difference in functionality. But thanks for the super easy tutorial. I’m teaching a few cute girls to sew next week and I might add this to the project list!

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marissa | rae gun ramblings

ps sorry about all the typos

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JulieCC

I’ve been doing the burrito/hot dog method for quite some time. I mostly make them for friends who are ill in the hospital, etc. for extended periods to liven up a room. I also make them to match flannel PJ pants for gifts, and for quick kids’ gifts.

I do not have a serger and sometimes make them with French seams (usually for adults) and sometimes without (kids). If they are non-French seams, I do finish them off with a close zig zag stitch.

I also make my accent bands wider. I also add in “electronic pockets” per the “Bob Pillow” pattern from Dog Under My Desk. These are especially helpful for those in the hospital, or for travel pillows.

I have to agree I also flinched at the horrible stitching in the photos, but then I am AR when it comes to stitches and photos in any tutorial. Lack of proper pressing always gets me, too. Just my thing. 😉

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Andrea

Thank you! I had honestly never seen this method! Don’t let the negativity get you down. People get on a computer and forget the people making tutorials are not some big corporation but real people. Real women just like their neighbor/mother/daughter and they lose their manners. This is super helpful and I will use it!

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Adrianna

Oh my word, remind me never to post a tutorial on the internet ever again! It’s like you’re writing a book and they’re your editors! It’s a free tutorial for a pillowcase, people, not an amendment to the Constitution! Perspective! Thanks for taking the time to make such a detailed and well written tutorial 🙂

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Shannon

Everyone keeps telling me to try this method. Thank you for taking the time to present such a detailed tutorial. Makes sense now. 🙂

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Amy

thanks for the great tutorial! I will definitely be using this for Christmas gifts!

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Abby

Thank you for sharing this fun method! I’ve always wondered how this was done, and can’t wait to try it for myself now!

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ajs

Love the tutorial, reading slowly I was able to grasp the concept. I’m someone who would love to sew but is afraid of spending time on something that doesn’t give me something useful. I am always confused about what types of fabric should be used for certain projects.. What kind of fabric is best for a pillowcase that I would want to actually sleep on?
thanks

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Diane

Thanks for tutorial:) I have to refresh my memory each time!! My problem is with a print…example, I wanted fish to be swimming lengthwise & they aren’t. Can’t tell you how I’ve struggled to figure this out. I’m obviously not a seamstress & the concept of cutting the width of fabric lengthwise was…challenging, ha!ha! So, if I’m correct, I believe I would get about 1-1/3 yd (45″ width), cut it lengthwise instead of across & then could actually make a couple of cases. Might end up with bias/grain issue. Any suggestion would be appreciated 🙂 Thanks!

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Jean

I agree with Adrianna – some of the comments were harsh. I believe in some “simple suggestions” regarding how to improve clarity on a tutorial, but keep in mind, there is a person who did her best reading the comments. It is no easy feat to turn out a tutorial. I figure there was no intention of hurting Lindsey’s feelings. And yes, sometimes videos with verbal instructions can be more useful for some sewers, but this isn’t a video! This is called the 15 minute pillowcase – not Exquisite, Professional Pillowcase Tutorial!
I liked how crisp the photos were, I didn’t even notice the stitching being crooked (until it was pointed out) , and I loved the tutorial! I, too, have to check out the directions every time I go to make the pillowcases!!
If you comment, be sensitive and kind.
Good job, Lindsey!! Keep your head up, be proud of your tutorial and keep them coming!!!

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Nile Remsing

I liked your tutorial. I just can’t seem to get it does to 15 minutes and I know what I’m doing. I think I worry too much about the colors and picking them out. I did three last Saturday and it took me two hours.

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Paula P

Thanks for a great tutorial Lindsay. I will definately be trying the simple, logical and efficient method you have described and photographed. Thank you for taking the time to create and share your practical tutorial with other Craftsy members. Can I suggest you ignore those who have made long boring comments regarding their inability to understand the instructions or others who have written a rude editorial assessment of your presentation? They need to move on and take some tutorials in basic manners. Keep up the great work Lindsay…..many more of us appreciate kind hearted souls like you who simply want to help others.

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Kelli

I just made the cutest pillowcases because of this great and easy tutorial. I absolutely love them. I am a skilled sewer and I would have never figured this out. Ignore the negativity and keep up the good work.

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Margaret

Several videos on you tube showing this method

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Trena

Your link is broken. I do not get a 7-page pdf file when I click. Thanks!

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Pam

I love this pattern, so simple I made a couple of dozen at Christmastime, and used it to show a “beginner” friend how to make them. She caught on very quickly and loved it too. THANKS!!!

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Geraldine Carter

I made a lots of pillow cases. I am making more. It is very easy to do it.

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SeaBee

Since the link to the PDF file is “broken”, I cut and pasted this into WORD … Removed all the comments and made the photos smaller by clicking on them and “squashing” them down. I managed to get the whole thing onto 7 pages. DON’T try to print them double sided … too much ink in the photos and the paper with “crinkle up”!
I agree with the majority … I have made these before during a day of sewing a bunch for a charity project but could not remember how … so I just googled “pillow case pattern” and found this … Great tutorial. Don’t take the negative comments to heart … you put a lot of work into this and it was a good refresher for me … I also need those to remember, at my tender age of almost 69, how to make lots of things again! Remember: we are making a gift and if the receiver is going to complain about a seam which is not the correct width, then don’t give them another hand sewn present!

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Jen T

Thanks! I have 4 boys ages 2-9 and they thought it would be fun to make a pillow cases this summer. Your directions were awesome and even my 9 year old that has never sewn before was able to read and understand them!

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Julie Ross

Thank you for your detailed instructions. I’ve been making these for years and have been making them for birthday gifts for my grandchildren’s friends. Some even went to children as they were being placed in foster care. I so French seam the sides and end…thus there are no raw edges! They garner a blue ribbon at the county fair almost every year. Such a fun project!!!

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Gary T,

Great tutorial. I like the two ways of finishing it off: Serger and French Seam. Very clear. Thank you.

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Bunny

I have been sewing for over 50 years, from tailored suits and coats to heirloom smocking and all in between. I decided today to make pillowcases for Christmas gifts and fully knew the “burrito” method. But I wanted some refreshing. Your tutorial is EXCELLENT! I like the options you give for the different techniques. I don’t think it is your responsibility to do hand holding sewing unless that is your choice here. Step up, people! Read the directions, follow them and glow over the results! It’s not hard to do that. Thanks again for a great tute. I am off to buy pillow fabric now that you’ve fed my inspiration craving.

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Kimber Wolfe

Thank you so much for this very clear-cut tutorial. I’m stoked to make pillow cases now! The French seam is a super way to camouflage imperfections, so this was very valuable input to me. Also, I so agree with Bunny’s post about people stepping up. Galactic whining and nit-picking solves nothing.. Lack of reading comprehension is bad enough, but if one can’t follow the pictures, then linear thinking might be the reader’s bigger problem. How hard is it to google WOF, after all? Just saying . . .

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Breezy

Just wanted to thank you for this incredibly easy to read, follow along photos. Brilliant idea, thank you for sharing photos of the steps. I am a visual learner and this was perfect. Taught the young girl I nanny for and over the holiday I helped her make 30 pillow cases for friends, family, and teachers! So much fun putting the fabrics together. So many possibilities. Keep up the great work, thanks again for sharing your tips! (Sorry you recieved the negative comments above, so silly and unnecessary. people are a trip, shake it off)

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Kristen U.

I found the tutorial very easy to follow! All of the pictures really helped! The longed part for me was measuring. I was working with a smaller cutting area then I was used to.

I know I have done French seams before but couldn’t for the life of me remember how they are done. I will have to look that you and try on my next pillow!!

I also thing that I am going to see down the little 2 in accent strip to the pillow to make it stay in place. The last thing I want is this falling apart in the wash!

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Suzanne Newsom

This was very easy pillow cases to be sewed. It really take only 15 min to sew one pillow cases. I have sewed 40 pillow cases in least then 3 weeks. I love how you explained the steps on how to sew the pillow case. I sew these pillow case to be donated to children that are raised by grand parents or other family members and children that are in the hospital. So thanks again for the instruction on how sew this type of pillow cases.

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Diane

Late to the party, but I appreciate the easy directions. I hate having to look at somebody’s you-tube video, since I have really low bandwidth available – the joys of country living.

I think it took me longer to clean off my cutting table than it did to make a couple of pillowcases :-).

Thanks!

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Cathy

I am sure the critics here see the weed before the flowers. When you are too busy judging you lose the time for loving…Maybe instead of being critical, make your own blog, video or volunteer to make some perfect pillowcases and donate them to your favorite charity❣️
Btw-Nice pillowcase tutorial.

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sewingsinger

Thank you “sew” much for the tutorial. I am getting ready to try it and teach my children to sew while making a dent in my stash. I was disappointed to read so many negative comments about this tutorial. I have been sewing since I was a child, so I found the directions easy to follow. Did you access this website for free like I did? Yes. Then, let’s just be appreciative of the time someone took to try and explain how to do this. If you could not follow the tutorial, then maybe consider signing up for the 3-seam pillow case class at JoAnn’s. They occasionally run sales on their classes. It will take 2.5 hours of your time and you will learn the basic skills.

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Lindie L Adamus

I presume this is a standard pillow case. I’m trying to figure out how to make this pillow case for much smaller pillows.

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Barbara

Thanks for making this tutorial. It was fun and easy to follow, and I have plans to make more. I’ll be helping some “non-sewer” ladies make these for Christmas gifts or to keep for themselves.

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Denise

I am an okay sewer and also have to refresh my memory everytime I want to make these. The pictures were perfect to refresh! Thank you! I make a set of “seasonal” pillow cases for kids, freinds etc. I buy the after season fabric, save it up then make a birthday, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Easter, Christmas, St. Patricks Day etc. set. Kids loving using a different one for each season and if you have grandkids, they love seeing what pillow case grandma has on the bed for them. I have also made some for friends with cancer as they are going through chemo. I chose fabric of their favorite color or flowers etc. etc. Or if someone is really sick, I have a few just fun ones around to give when I take chicken soup over and it just helps the mental stamina when fighting an illnes.. So.. Thank you so much for making this free and easy to refresh an old mind!
Your time and effort are truly appreciated!!

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