Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Pillow Case

I like making pillow cases. They're quick, easy, and a great way to add some interest to your bed, or to lug your laundry home from a week camping.
Pillow cases make me happy.
Because I heart pillow cases so much, when I made my nephew a blanket for his birthday, I decided to make him a coordinating pillow case too. 
 I keep thinking that I need to make a set of three matching pillows for our bed, one for myself, one for spouse, and one for the JabberWalky, since we co-sleep.

About this pattern/tutorial:
This pattern makes a Standard sized pillow case.  The method can be adapted for other sizes of pillow, however, I have not yet crunched the numbers, and it would not be as elegant as a simple "one yard." And since I'm putting this pattern out there for free, I'm too lazy to do the other figures right now.
This design leaves no exposed raw edges by using French Seams. They're not complicated, and I explain the process, but you can be proud of yourself for having learned how to do them when you're finished.
Have fun, feel free to play with fabrics, and look forward to seeing variations posted in the future.

For a How-To on how to make the child sized blanket, see my Blanket Tutorial.

1 yard quilting cotton
2" to 4" strip contrasting fabric
Matching or delightfully contrasting thread

Sewing Machine
Iron and Ironing Board
Rotary cutting mat
Rotary cutting ruler
Rotary cutter

Step 1:  Pick out your fabric.  This may take months, it's okay.

Step 2: Wash, dry, and iron fabric. This is crucial to having a long lasting finished item that doesn't look like it was sewn by the cat.

Step 3: Cut a 9" strip of fabric from your one yard piece from selvage to selvage. You will now have two rectangles. One 27"x 42"-44", and another 9"x 42"-44"

Step 4:  With Right Sides Together, pin contrasting fabric to the larger piece of your main fabric.  Stitch together with a 1/4" seam allowance, remembering to backstitch at beginning and end.  Remove pins, press seams flat toward contrasting strip.

Step 5: With Right Sides Together, pin 9"x 42"-44" strip of main fabric to the contrast fabric. Stitch together with a 1/4" seam allowance, remembering to backstitch, backstitch, backstitch.  Remove pins. Press seams open.

Step 6: Fold over and press a 1/2" hem along edge of smaller section of main body. Stitch in place

Step 7: With WRONG sides together, carefully fold down hem so that it completely overlaps the contrasting strip, aligning the seam lines. ( I skipped sewing in my hemline as it's a redundant step, but if you're nervous about alignments, it's a good idea)

Step 8: Pin in place sparingly, flip over, and slowly stitch along the seam between the contrasting strip and the main body.

Step 9: With WRONG Sides Together, pretty side OUT, fold "hotdog style" so that you have a rectangle approximately 22" x  38" (Approximately because fabric widths vary and the width of the contrasting stripe can vary per your preference.)  Pin the long edge and the edge furthest from the contrasting stripe, leaving the hemmed area unpinned.

Step 10: Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew far and long edges, remembering to backstitch. Pretty side still out.

Step 11: Turn inside out and iron seams so it all lays down nicely.  Now it is Right Sides Together. Pin  along the long side and the far side, so you don't get confused about where you're sewing.

Step 12: Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch the long and far sides.  Remember to backstitch where you start and stop. Clip loose threads.

You've just learned how to sew a French seam.  Pat yourself on the back.

Step 13: Turn right side out and enjoy

GREEN TIP*If you are making a pillow case and blanket as a gift, I say fold the blanket neatly and wrap it in the pillow case.  It's cute, efficient, and saves wrapping supplies!

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