Project: Do-It-Yourself Pillowcases | OLFA - Craft OLFA – Craft

Project: Do-It-Yourself Pillowcases

Looking for something simple yet personal to make for your kids? Or maybe you need a clever idea for a gift during the holidays. Now you can sleep easy knowing the perfect project is simpler than you ever dreamed! We’re talking about custom pillowcases, and they come together just by sewing three straight seams. Make a quick set for a thoughtful hostess gift or customize pillowcases for a child’s birthday using princess- or super hero-themed fabric. Simply choose the appropriate material and get sewing.


  • You will have enough fabric to make two pillowcases, with one being the inverse of the other.
  • This project uses a unique layering system for the fabric that requires only one seam to be sewn to create the accent-trimmed cuff. Using quilter’s safety pins to secure the layers of fabric prior to sewing will ensure that the layers don’t shift.
  • Beginners may want to use a 1/2″ instead of 1/4″ seam allowance when sewing the fabric layers together. This will make the sewing easier, but it will also diminish the width of your accent strip.




45mm Rotary Cutter (RTY-2/G)
24″ x 36″ Self-Healing Rotary Mat (RM-MG)
6″ x 24″ Non-Slip, Frosted Advantage™ Acrylic Ruler (QR-6×24)


1 yd. of 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric in main color (print or solid)
1 yd. of 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric in coordinating color (print or solid)
1/8 yd. of 100% cotton or cotton/poly blend fabric in contrasting accent color (print or solid)
Basic sewing supplies


  1. Using rotary cutter, ruler and rotary mat, cut the following:
    -From the main fabric and the coordinating fabric, cut one large piece each, 3/4 yd. or 27″ x WOF (width of fabric, approximately 45″), and one small piece each, 1/4 yd. or 9″ x WOF.
    -From the accent fabric, cut two strips, each 1-1/2″ or 2″ x WOF.
    -Set aside the 9″ wide (small) main fabric piece, the 27″ wide (large) coordinating fabric piece and one accent strip. You will use these to make a second pillowcase in inverse colors.
  2. Fold and iron the accent strip in half lengthwise, with right sides facing out. Make sure you create a strong crease when you iron.
  3. To create a layered “fabric sandwich,” place the small coordinating fabric piece, right side up, on your work surface and place the large main fabric piece on top, right side up. Make sure to line up the fabric pieces along one 45″ long edge.
  4. Place the folded accent fabric strip on top of the main fabric piece, lined up along the 45″ long edge. You should have four aligned fabric edges—one small coordinating fabric edge, one large main fabric edge and both edges of the accent strip—which you will sew together.
  5. Starting at the opposite 45″ edge of the main fabric piece, loosely roll the main fabric toward the edge with the aligned “fabric sandwich.” When you reach the small coordinating fabric piece, leave it out of the fabric roll. Continue rolling until you reach the center of the coordinating fabric piece.
  6. Fold the coordinating fabric piece over the rolled fabric and line up the edge with the other aligned edges for five total edges. The layered fabric edges need to be in this order: small coordinating fabric edge, main fabric edge, two accent strip edges and small coordinating fabric edge. Only one edge of the main fabric piece will be lined up (the other edge is contained in the fabric roll).
  7. Pin the fabric edges together. Make sure you only catch one edge of the main fabric in the seam you are about to stitch.
  8. Using a walking foot to more easily sew through the five layers of fabric, sew along the edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  9. Turn sewn fabrics right side out. The seam will finish both the inside and outside edges of the pillowcase cuff and attach the accent strip and the cuff to the pillowcase body.
  10. Fold the pillowcase in half, right sides together, matching the edges of the cuff, accent strip and pillowcase body. Use your rotary cutter, rotary mat and ruler to trim the edge of the cuff so that it is straight and neat and remove selvages. Pin in place.
  11. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the open side and fabric end of the pillowcase. Turn right side out.
  12. Repeat with remaining fabric pieces to make the second pillowcase.



  • Sewing through multiple layers of fabric, as you do in this project, can be kind of tricky. In addition to using a walking foot (readily available in stores that sell sewing machines and quilt shops), you can quickly hand-baste the layers together first, using all-purpose thread and long running stitches. After you’ve machine-sewn the layers, just snip several of the basting stitches and pull the rest out.
  • You can use a pillowcase as a reusable wrapper for a going-away-to-college present. Tuck pajamas, cozy socks, a comfy robe and a small throw pillow inside, secure the top with a wide ribbon and your grad will be ready to go.
  • If you really want to customize your pillowcases, choose a solid color for the accent strip, then embroider pretty flowers and scrolls on that strip, or hand-sew a length of ribbon along the strip to add a final flash of color.
  • Seasonal fabrics are a great way to add some extra festive flair. Think outside of the box, or rather bedroom, and make some fun, spooky custom pillowcases to use as Halloween treat bags with ghoulish Halloween or autumn-inspired fabrics. Don’t let us stop you there! Share your inspiration.


Change up the fabric for a different look! The possibilities are endless.