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Kittens sleep curled in a ball, horses sleep standing up, sea otters float on the surface of the water while they sleep. There are a lot of ways to catch a few ZZs. For humans, I think we’d all agree, the best way to doze is to sink down into a crisp, clean, beautiful pillowcase. We love making pillowcases at Sew4Home. They’re fast and easy, and they’re a great way to add some delightful color and design to your bed linens. We used two coordinated prints from the Nature’s Palette collection for each of our pillowcases.

If you haven’t checked lately, store bought pillowcases are expensive! And it seems to take only a few washings before they start falling apart at the seams. When you make them yourself, they’re more beautiful and better quality. Plus, you can add special touches that make them unique. We added accent bands edged in lace. 

Our thanks to all our friends at FreeSpirit for selecting us to create the debut project collection for their new Marjolein Bastin collection. Nature’s Palette ships this month to in-store and online retailers. Click here for a complete FreeSpirit Dealer Locator. Not all dealers receive and/or display fabrics at the same time. And remember, if your favorite retailer doesn’t carry Nature’s Palette you can always request a special order.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Fabric amounts shown are for ONE pillowcase.

Click here for the Nature’s Palette Swatch page at FreeSpirit fabrics, which shows the entire collection in all colorways.

  • 1¼ yards of 44-45″ wide fabric for the pillowcase body and the inside of the accent band: we used two fabrics from the Nature’s Palette collection by Marjolein Bastin for FreeSpirit Fabrics: Lattice in Jade (005-Jade) and Chevron in Cream (007-Cream)
  • ¼ yard of 44-45″ wide coordinating fabric for the outside of the accent band: we used two fabrics from the Nature’s Palette collection by Marjolein Bastin for FreeSpirit Fabrics: Floral Chain in Purple (006-Purple) and Caning in Green (008-Green)
  • 1¼ yards of ½” – ¾” wide lace for the edge accent
    NOTE: You could purchase lace from your favorite outlet to match, which is what we did for our green lace. Can’t find exactly the color you want? For a perfect match, try our method: buy a natural cotton or cotton blend lace (polyester doesn’t hold the dye well) and dye it to match with Rit Dye. If you choose this method, buy enough extra lace so you can experiment with the intensity of the dye before creating the final length. We used Rit Dye powder and a blend of equal parts Denim Blue and Purple to create our lovely lavender. We watered down both and reduced the recommended time in the dye to get the best look. Again, get some extra lace so you can experiment.
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Tape measure

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the body of the pillowcase and the inside of the accent band, fussy cut the following: 
    ONE 41″ wide x 27″ high rectangle
    ONE 41″ wide x 5″ high strip
    NOTE: We chose this cutting dimension to best fit the design motifs on our chosen Nature’s Palette fabrics. This large piece will be folded in half to create a finished case in the standard size for a regular pillow: 20″ high x 26″ long, excluding the 4″ accent band. You could also cut two 21″ x 27″ pieces and seam around three sides. Or, we often make a pair of cases using 1½ yards by cutting the body pieces side by side at 21″ x 53″ each, then folding lengthwise and sewing just the two side seams. Check out the links at the end of this article for projects showing these other configurations.
  2. From the fabric for the outside of the accent band, fussy cut ONE 41″ wide x 5″ high strip.

    NOTE: Taking the time to do accurate fussy cutting really makes a difference in the look of your finished pillowcase. If you are new to the technique, we have a great fussy cutting tutorial. 
  3. Cut the lace to a 41″ length.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Creating the pillowcase body

  1. Fold the pillow body in half, so it is now 20½” x 27″.
  2. Pin along the remaining raw-edged side (the raw 27″ side) and across the bottom. The top remains open. 
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch down the side and across the bottom, pivoting at the corner. Use a generous backstitch (backtack) to lock your seam at the beginning and end. 
  4. Press open the seam allowance and clip the corners.
  5. Zig zag, overcast, pink or serge the raw edges of all the seam allowances so when the pillowcase is laundered these do not fray. We pinked our edges. 

    NOTE: For more information, see our series on seam finishes, including Part 1, which showcases the most popular.
  6. Turn the pillowcase right side out. 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 or a chopstick. Press well.

Create and attach the accent band

  1. Find the inside band strip.
  2. Along one 41″ side, press up the raw edge ½”.
  3. Fold the raw edge into the crease, creating a ¼” doubleturn hem. Stitch the hem in place. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to maintain a perfectly straight seam.
  4. Place the ends of the strip right sides together to create a loop. Pin in place.
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the ends together. 
  6. Find the outside band strip. There is no hem on this piece. Simply place the ends right sides together and stitch as above to create the outer loop. 
  7. Find the 41″ length of lace. Place the lace on the right side of the outer loop. You will need to futz with the exact lace placement based on the lace you select. For our daisy chain lace, we wanted over half of the flower showing beyond the seam. You’ll be using a ½” seam allowance, so set your seam gauge to ½” and adjust the lace below this mark until you have the reveal you want. In our case, the top edge of the flower was ⅜” from the raw edge of the fabric. 
    NOTE: In the photo below, we are showing you the measurement after we basted the lace in place. 
  8. Pin the lace in place, then machine baste in place. Start just to one side the loop’s seam and continue around, leaving the ends of the lace loose. Go slowly and carefully to insure the lace stays straight.
  9. At the loop’s seam, butt together the loose ends of the lace so you form a continuous circle. Hand baste these ends in place. 

    NOTE: Why did we handle the ends of the lace in this manner rather than just applying the lace to the flat strip and then sewing the ends into the seam? We knew you were wondering. Finishing the ends by hand like this creates a lovely, even reveal of lace all the way around. If sewn into the seam, it would break the pretty circle.

Attach the inside and outside bands

  1. Place the inside and outside loops right sides together, aligning the outer loop’s lace-trimmed edge with the inner loop’s raw edge (ie. not the hemmed edge). Pin in place all around, making sure the seams of both loops match up. 
  2. Sew all around, using a ½” seam allowance
  3. Press the seam open. 
  4. Turn right side out, which means the wrong sides of the inner and outer bands are now facing one another and the pretty lace is showing from the seam.

Attach the finished band to the main pillowcase body

  1. Find the pillowcase body. It should still be right side out. 
  2. Slip the loop over the top of the pillowcase body so the outer band is right sides together with the pillowcase body. Align the seam of the loop with the side seam of the body.  
  3. Pin all around, matching the raw edge of the pillowcase body with the raw edge of outer loop. You’ll need to move the hemmed edge of the inner loop out of the way; you are just working with the two layers.
  4.  Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around the entire opening through both layers. 
  5. Press the finished seam allowance up towards the accent band
  6. Bring the inside hemmed edge down into position, covering the seam allowance. Pin in place.
  7. Topstitch around the entire pillowcase, approximately ¼” from the pillowcase/band seam within the band. This secures the inside hemmed edge in place. We made sure our machine was threaded with top thread to match the outer band and bobbin thread to match the inner band. 
  8. Press flat.

Hints & Tips

If you like these pillowcases, check out our other variations below. All these pillowcase tutorials are so easy, it’s quick and fun to make special pillowcases for all kinds of occasions.

Lil’ Rascals Storybook Bedroom Sleepytime Pillowcases

Tuxedo Pillowcases

Fresh Linens: Restful Rose-Banded Pillowcases with Honey Bun Accents

Mother’s Day: Charmeuse Satin Pillowcases with Velvet & Lace Trim

Visions of Sugarplums Christmas Pillowcases

Visions of Sugarplums Christmas Pillowcases for Kids

Pillowcases with Deep Ruffled Ends


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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