You may have seen these type of pillowcases in luxury hotels or fancy spas. Rather than an open end, the pillow itself is enclosed in an overlap. We’ve had quite a few emails asking how to create this type of finish in order to keep a stark white pillow from showing along the end of a pretty pillowcase. An envelope style closure also helps keep the pillow from slipping out the end. “Make it stay and hide it away.” S4H’s got you… and your pillow covered.
Our sample pillowcase finishes at approximately 20″ x 27”, which is just right to fully enclose a standard 20” x 26” bed pillow. The extra inch in length makes it easier to wrap the end without stretching, and possible breaking, seams.
This design adds a decorative end panel with a pretty accent flange, allowing you to mix three fabrics. We originally used the Chestnut Street collection by Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts for Moda Fabric, which is no longer readily available. No worries though – this technique works great with any standard quilting cottons.
Working with three fabrics is, of course, optional. The flange can be eliminated if desired. And, if you’d prefer to use a single fabric, you’d need to cut one panel at 21” x 36” and the second panel at 21” x 32”. The rest of the assembly would remain the same.
If you have restless sleepers in your house, this enclosed end also helps keep the pillow in place so it doesn’t shift out of the case with all the tossing and turning.
We also used this style of finish on our Mr. Bones Body Pillow Cover. Check out that full tutorial here.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Fabric amounts shown are for a fabric with a random motif. If you choose a fabric with a strong directional motif, you may need additional fabric: 1¼ yards of the main fabric will allow a horizontal cut, and ⅝ yard of the accent fabric and/or the flange fabric will allow a vertical cut.
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the main front and back panels
- ½ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the end panels
- ⅛ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the accent flange
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape or yardstick
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the main front and back panels, cut TWO 21” x 24” rectangles;
NOTE: As mentioned above, we cut our rectangles 21” wide x 24” high, which worked great for our random motif. If you have a horizontally directional motif, cut 24” wide x 21” high, for which you need 1¼ yards.
- From the fabric for the end panels, cut the following:
ONE 21” x 13” rectangle for bottom A
ONE 21” x 9” rectangle for bottom B
NOTE: We cut our rectangles 21” wide x 13” high and 21” wide x 9” high, which worked great for our random motif. If you have a vertically directional motif, cut 13” wide x 21” high and 9” wide x 21” high, for which you need ⅝ yards.
- From the fabric for the accent flange, cut TWO 2” x 21” strips.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Hem the bottom accent panels
- Find the two bottom accent panels: one at 21” x 13” and one at 21” x 9”.
- On the 21” x 9” panel, create a 4½” double fold hem. To do this, fold back one 21” raw edge ½” and press.
- Then, fold back an additional 4” and press again. This will bring the hem to within ½” of the opposite 21” raw edge. Pin in place.
- Stitch in place close to the inner fold.
- On the 21” x 13” panel, create a ½” double fold hem. To do this, fold back one 21” raw edge ¼” and press.
- Then, fold back an additional ¼” and press again.
- Stitch in place close to the inner fold.
- Set aside the two hemmed bottom panels.
Create and place the flange
- Find the two flange strips. Fold each in half, wrong sides together, so they are now 1” x 21”.
- Place one folded flange along one 21” edge of each main panel, aligning the raw edges. Pin in place. If you have a directional motif, you should be working with the “top” edge.
- Machine baste the flange in place on each panel.
- Keep the basting within the standard ½” seam allowance.
Stitch the end panels to the main panels
- Place an end panel right sides together with the top of each main panel, sandwiching the flange between the layers.
- Remember, one end panel is longer than the other. The longer end panel will become the bottom overlap, so if you have a specific front and back to your main panels, pin the longer end panel to the back main panel and the shorter end panel to the front main panel.
NOTE: If you are working with a directional print, make sure you are pinning together the top of the main panel with the bottom of the end panel.
- Pin in place across the 21” width of the panel.
- On the shorter panel, there will be just a narrow raw edge. This is correct.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together. The longer end panel is shown below
- On the shorter end panel, you will be stitching right along, but not on, the wide hem.
- Finish each seam allowance with your favorite method.
- We used a simple zig zag.
- Press each seam allowance down towards the main panel and each flange up towards the end panel.
NOTE: We have a great four-part series on machine sewn seam finishes if you are new to this technique.
Layer to create the end panel overlap
- Place the longer panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Orient the panel so the end panel is positioned at the top of your work surface. This makes it easier to fold and pin.
- Place the shorter panel right side down on top of the longer panel. In other words, the two panels are now right sides together.
- Align the raw side edges of the panels as well as raw bottom edges. Pin along both sides and across the bottom.
- Make sure you align the horizontal end panel seams/flanges along both sides.
- When pinned, the hemmed edged of the longer panel should extend beyond the hemmed edge of the shorter panel by approximately 8”. This is correct and is what allows for the envelope-style closure.
- Fold the longer panel down over the shorter panel. Your fold should hit right along the top hemmed edge of the shorter panel.
- We nested the end panel seam allowances and flanges for the flattest finish.
- Pin the fold in place along each side.
- This overlap fold creates the envelope-style opening.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch down both sides of the pillowcase and across the bottom. Remember to pivot at each corner.
- At the top, you are stitching along both sides up to the folded edge; do not stitch horizontally across the fold. The top end is simply a fold.
- Finish the seam allowance with your favorite method.
- Turn the pillowcase right side out through the end opening. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. A long blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this. Press well.
- Position the cover so what was the longer panel (the folded over panel with the narrow hem) is on the bottom. Insert the pillow into the cover.
- Pull open the bottom “overlap” – it’s like a little pocket. Slip the overlap over the end of the pillow.
- Adjust so this overlap sits flat against the pillow.
- Let the top panel (the panel with the wider hem) fall down into place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild