Wow. It’s been 10 months since I popped in here on the blog.
Adventures continue to occur here in the Ballpark, but I have to say, sometimes they are too tender to share, or I just can’t bring myself to spill out into cyberspace the things that weigh me down. I always wanted this blog to be a place of inspiration to some degree, or at least mostly; however my caregiving days the past several months have challenged my patience and my heart. Therefore, I’ve waited for sunnier days before I corralled thoughts onto these pages.
Since Christmas, sunny days have come in the form of sewing pillowcases.
It started with Papa Troll.
I mean Paw Patrol. (Took me a while to hear the difference from our precious three year-old grandson.)
Roaming around in JoAnn’s fabric store, I spotted
Papa Troll Paw Patrol fabric. I had a 50% off coupon (doesn’t everyone?) so that was it. I’ll make our grandson a pillowcase for Christmas, I thought. A full set of Papa Troll Paw Patrol sheets (if they even make them) would certainly cost more, and you only need a pillowcase to get the thrill of your favorite cartoon characters.
I inspected a pillowcase at home and copied the pattern. I made the Paw Patrol pillowcase a few inches longer than my standard one, because you never know how fat someone’s pillow is, and I wanted full coverage with some spare grip at the cuff in case it got hauled around by a cute toddler.
I zigzagged the inside seam edge of the pillowcase, but wasn’t crazy about the ragged look. I didn’t know how else to finish an inside seam though, so I gave the pillowcase to our grandson, who was tickled with it.
After I completed the Paw Patrol pillowcase, I was excited to make another one for our grandson who ADORES construction trucks and trains. I found both vehicles on different fabrics at JoAnn’s.
Before I started a second pillowcase, I went to Pinterest and researched pillowcase patterns. I was delighted to discover there is a way to seal the inside seam and have a smooth finish, instead of those fraying threads. It’s called a flat felled seam, and I’ll show you how to do it in this tutorial on how a make a beautiful pillowcase.
I use a quilting cutting mat and rotary cutter for this project, but if you don’t have those, you just need a pair of good scissors and a measuring tape. (Note: I photographed different pillowcases at various stages of creation. Don’t be confused by the different fabrics – I’m showing method here.)
Homemade pillowcase: (20×30 in)
1. Purchase one yard of fabric. Wash and dry your fabric.
2. Trim off half of the width of the selvage (what is selvage?) Don’t trim the full width, and don’t trim both sides of the fabric. Just half the width of the selvage.
This maintains the perfect width for the finished pillowcase (20 inches). If you trim more selvage, the pillowcase will be snug.
3. Fold the fabric in half again (just how it came off the bolt) and right sides together. Line up the two raw edges and iron out any deep wrinkles.
4. Sew the raw edges together, using a 5/8 inch seam (no less).
5. Finger press the seam open and trim one side of the seam allowance close to the other one.
6. Press the wider seam over the narrow one. Fold the wider seam over and under the narrow one, matching the wider seam edge to the stitch line. This encases the narrow seam inside the wider one, creating a flat felled seam.
7. Sew very close to the fold, enclosing the raw edges.
Making the cuff
1. Determine which end is going to be your “top”, or cuff.
Important note: If you have fabric that has images on it, (animals, faces, dishes, cars, etc) make sure you are making your cuff on the top end, so images are upside right, not upside down. (Refer to the first image in this post. Imagine the Disney princesses upside down.) If you have flower patterned or striped fabric, there will be no top or bottom, so it won’t matter which end is the top. (Example: the basketball fabric in the first post image.)
Trim this end straight. If this end is not straight and even, your cuff will be cockeyed.
2. Slide the pillowcase “tube” onto your ironing board, top first.
Fold down 1 inch of fabric and iron it smooth all around. Fold down another 2 inches to create the final cuff. Press it all around.
Sew the cuff, using a 1/4 inch seam.
3. Iron the entire pillowcase smooth, folding it on the original side seam, not the flat felled seam.
Important note: If you fold and press the pillowcase on the flat felled seam, images will be spliced unevenly on one side of the pillowcase. I learned this the hard way by pressing the flat felled seam as my side seam and the coffee cups were chopped up on that narrow strip the length of the pillowcase. I had already sewn the cuff, so it was hard to undo.
As you iron the full pillowcase, press a nice crease on the folded side.
This will ensure that your bottom seam, which you are about to sew, will be correctly lined up and flat.
1. Once your pillowcase is ironed smoothly, measure its length. It should be between 31-33 inches in length. You want your finished length to be 30. Trim the pillowcase to 30 and 1/2 inches. (This is about the length of a standard pillowcase, but will accommodate a queen size pillow as well.) This allows for a 1/2 inch seam at the bottom.
2. Right sides together, sew the bottom of the pillowcase with 1/2 inch seam. Trim the corners.
Go back over that seam with a zig-zag stitch, catching the raw edges. This will eliminate stray threads from, over time, coming loose.
Final optional seam
1. This second seam on the cuff is optional, but I always do it, because it adds a nice finished look to the project. Slide the pillowcase onto the machine, right side up. On the cuff, sew an additional seam next to the first one. I line the up presser foot with the first seam line and simply sew round the cuff again.
2. Give the pillowcase a final press. All done!
The pillowcases below are for my brother, whose favorite pies are cherry and lemon meringue. 🙂
For me, it takes about an hour and half to make a pillowcase. The project is about equal time ironing and sewing, which I find is a nice balance. (I don’t get stiff sitting at the machine.)
I’m currently obsessed with making pillowcases. I don’t know why they spark such joy in me, but Marie Kondo would be delighted. (I’ve adopted her way of folding clothes, by the way. I gained two drawers full of space!)
I want to write more this New Year. I’ve missed it. The folks are continuing to struggle with various issues, and I pray daily that I can be flexible and patient. It helps when I have an afternoon to sew pillowcases.
Thanks, Papa Troll.