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Do you have family and friends staying at your home for the holidays? Yes! Do you have time and money to make all new holiday bed linens for your guest room? No! Then simply change out the pillowcases. It’s a super fast, easy, inexpensive way to add a little holiday cheer. Our instructions show you how to make two standard size pillowcases using just 1½ yards of main fabric and ½ yard of contrasting trim fabric. There’s also a free download for two cute mini placards you can use to welcome your guests to their rooms.

The instructions below are for a classic case. But if you’d like to kick it up a notch, we have a number of pretty pillowcase projects you can check-out. Click through to the ones featured below or browse through our Project Index for even more.



If you have larger or smaller pillows you’d like to make cases for, simply adjust our measurements to accommodate your pillow size. For example, king pillows are normally 20″ x 36″ so the width remains the same but you need an additional 10″ in finished length (20″ in cut length). This means rather than cutting the fabric for the body of the pillowcase 21″ x 53″, you should cut it 21″ x 73″. However, two yards of fabric equals 72″. This is where the ‘fudge factor’ comes in. Can you ‘fudge’ a little to save some money? You can totally get away with this slightly shorter length to avoid buying more than a standard two yard cut. Your trim piece won’t extend quite as far over the edge of the pillow, but will still cover it nicely.

To add a sweet personal touch, download our free printable Mini Welcome Placards to set on your guest’s nightstand.

The placards are available here as a .PDF file. Click the image below to download. Print on a heavier weight paper for best results. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, which is a free program. We’ve minimized the file size, but please be patient with the download process. In addition, make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader DC, and the latest version of your printer driver. Adobe does always recommend a re-start of your computer with any update. If you are experiencing printing issues, you can also try the Print as Image option in your printer’s browser window. This option is often under the Advanced tab. You can also save the downloaded PDF to your computer and print from there.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Click to Enlarge
NOTE: Fabric amounts shown are for TWO pillowcases.

  • 1½ yards of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for body of pillowcase
  • ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the pillowcase trim 
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Contrasting color thread for topstitching
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil or pen
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the body of the pillowcase, cut two rectangles 21″ wide x 53″ high.
  2. From the fabric for the pillowcase trim, cut two rectangles 41″ wide x 9″ high.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Pillowcase body

  1. Fold one pillowcase body rectangle in half, right sides together, so it is now: 21″ x 26½”.
  2. Pin the two 26½” sides together. Stitch both sides, using a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Clip the corners and turn the body of the pillowcase right side out. Gently push out the trimmed corners from the inside to make nice, square corners on the outside. Use your finger or a blunt edge tool, like a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner. Press.
  4. Since pillowcases are laundered often, consider finishing all the seam allowances with your favorite method. We have a great seam finishing series if you’re new to this technique.
  5. Repeat for second pillowcase body.

Pillowcase trim

  1. Press a double-fold hem along one raw 41″ edge of the pillowcase trim piece. To do this, turn up the raw edge ½” and press, then turn up an additional 4″ and press again.
  2. Unfold the pressed hem so the crease lines are visible.
  3. Fold the 9″ x 41″ trim piece in half, right sides together, so it is now: 9″ x 20½”.
  4. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the along the 9″ raw edge, creating a 9″ x 40″ trim loop. Press the seam allowance open. As above, consider finishing all your seam allowances.
  5. Repeat for second pillowcase trim piece.

Finish the pillowcase

  1. Slip your trim loop over the open bottom end of your pillowcase body, right sides together, matching the upper raw edges and aligning the trim’s seam with one of the pillowcase body’s side seams. You are matching the raw edge of the pillowcase opening with the ‘non-folded” raw edge of your trim piece. Pin all around.
  2. Using a ½” seam, stitch all around the pillowcase opening.As above, consider finishing all your seam allowances.
  3. Re-fold the raw edge of your trim, following the original pre-pressed crease lines. Fold ½” and then 4″.
  4. Bring this folded edge of the trim around to the inside of the pillowcase. The folded edge of the trim should just overlap the inside pillowcase/trim seam. Pin in place from the front.
  5. As you look at your pillowcase from the front, you should have 4″ of trim showing from seam to folded edge.
  6. Topstitch ¼” in from the seam, within the trim, to secure trim. We used a contrasting color thread for a decorative touch. Press well.
  7. Repeat to finish the second pillowcase.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Aimee McGaffey

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