DIY Pillowcase with button accents

The very first sewing project I ever made as an adult was a pillowcase. I have a really hard time with patterns and complex sewing, and so this has been a “go-to can do” project for me over the last twenty years or so. I’ve got a lot of fabric that I want to see in use, and a lot of ideas for stepping up my pillow game, so once in a while here I will be sharing a how-to tutorial!

The great thing about a pillow case is that you can make it by simply folding fabric over (offset/overlapping) and creating a pocket for the pillow to slide on in. It only requires 4 stitch lines – two across the “ends”, that will be exposed, and then once folded along the top and bottom (or sides – depending on which edge is raw/open) before flipping right side out and utilizing!¬†

Today let’s start with some basics. If you have an idea in mind for a case – I suggest looking at a pre-made one and really checking it out. Getting to know how it was put together so that you can better create your own. I really like the “folded over” approach as I dislike seeing pillows peeking out of an end, as well as it being quite easy to do.

The #1 rule I have with fabric projects is to slow down, and make sure you’ve got things the right direction. It is SO easy to turn something around or do something upside down – and such a pain to pick stitches out and start over! So double or triple check, and don’t ever work in a rush!

My process for a basic pillowcase such as this is:

  1. Iron the fabric including any folds into place as I expect to have it look finished. Place this on/over the pillow and verify that it looks good/fits.
  2. Stitch the two ends that are folded over and that will “show” when you put a pillow in or out.
  3. Re-fold the fabric into pillowcase form and verify  everything is as I want it. Then flip it inside out, verifying that everything will be right side up and correct sides showing.
  4. Use a pen and ruler to mark where along (in this case top and bottom) I am stitching to “seal” the pillow case.
  5. Double check that I’m making it the right size!
  6. Stitch the top and bottom, trim out any excess fabric, and turn right side out.

If all goes well – this results in a perfect pillow case!

Sometimes things go wonky – let’s face it, we’ve all had craft fails. But before you panic if this happens… see if you can fix it!

What I love about this project is that this is a base line! Once you get confident you can add additional fabric layers, get funky with design, add beading or button accents, and so much more!

I added some faux closures (it’s stitched shut/no button hole) because I (whoops) mis-measured my pillow and didn’t allow quite enough overlapping fabric. That is one trick with these – make sure you have PLENTY of overlap (4″ minimum!!!) so that you don’t end up with any gaping pillow exposed!

In my case though, it really did work out nicely. I simply added some thread and buttons and it adds a decorative touch to this Parisian fabric (Brenda Walton designed it, just FYI) pillow that I’m happily adding to the office daybed.

I intend to create some small decor pillows for Christmas gifts, as well as some lavender satchels! I will be sure to update you here as I figure out new designs, tricks, and continue having fun improving my meager sewing skills.

As soon as the girls start school later this month I intend to begin taking some lessons at my local sewing shop so that I can do a few more things on my sewing machine. It is a lot smarter than me (ha!) and I’d like to try and level up a bit more. In the mean time I can’t help but think of the approaching fall and some harvest decor ideas I’ve got…

2 thoughts on “DIY Pillowcase with button accents”

  1. Love that fabric May! Very cute pillow! I have a friend who is a school sewing teacher and she had some classes a few years ago with a very similar pattern – sadly my cushions are still not finished though and she has moved back to Australia!!!

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