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Satin and Flannel Pillowcases for Soft Slumbers

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Pillowcases are a fast and easy project that is perfect for beginning sewers. These lovelies combine the silkiness of solid satin with the pretty softness of flannel. We’ve used the “burrito style” construction method for this pillowcase project, which creates nicely finished seams inside and out with an easy roll-and-turn method.


New pillowcases are a wonderful way to quickly freshen bed linens, and a bundle of cases makes a great gift idea. Create a Soft Slumbers gift basket by adding in one of our Soothing Eye Pillows and a couple sweet scented candles. You could even include a copy of Moby Dick, that always sent me right to sleep in high school.

The body of each pillowcase is one of the Silky Satin Solids from Shannon Fabrics. This luscious fabric comes in 85 colors so you can match any of your current bed linen sets or bedroom décor. We found a nice selection of Silky Solids at Fabric.com.

An added bonus: they say sleeping on satin pillowcases helps keep wrinkles away. Remind me to take more naps!

Flannel is one of the most popular substrates trends right now, and it’s not just for kids anymore! You can find so many beautiful collections. We selected two elegant options from the Welcome Home flannel collection by Jennifer Bosworth for Maywood Studio.

We usually recommend pre-washing your fabric prior to starting any project, but when working with flannel it is particularly important. Flannel will shrink, sometimes quite a bit. It also sheds a lot during laundering, so wash it separately, and don’t forget to clean your lint screen when finished.

If you like these pillowcases, we have lots of great variations. Browse our Project Index for more fun ideas.

Our pillowcase finishes to fit a standard sized pillow insert (20” x 26”) at approximately 20" x 30½", including the 4½" cuff. Take the time to make sure your rectangle cut is straight and your corners are true 90˚ angles; this will insure the finished case lays nice and flat over the pillow.

It’s easy to re-size for your pillow form because only the length changes, the finished height of 20” remains consistent. Queen pillows are traditionally 20” x 30”; increase the 27” x 41” cut to 31” x 41. King pillows are normally 20" x 36”; increase the 27” x 41” cut to 37” x 41”.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Fabric amounts shown are for ONE standard pillowcase.

  • ¾ - 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the pillowcase body; we used 58/60” wide Shannon Silky Satin in Rose Powder and Gray
    NOTE: With the solid satin, there is no directional motif to worry about, so you can cut horizontally for the most efficient use of the wide Silky Satin (58/60”). You will use the full 27” of a ¾ yard cut, so if worried about your accuracy, consider getting a full yard. If working with a directional print, a full yard is also recommended.
  • ⅓ yard of 44"+ wide cotton flannel for the pillowcase cuff; we used Roses in Black and Filigree in Black, both from the Welcome Home flannel collection by Jennifer Bosworth for Maywood Studio
  • 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
  • Tape measure

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the body of the pillowcase, cut ONE 27” high x 41” wide rectangle. 
  2. From the fabric for the pillowcase cuff, cut ONE 10" high x 41" wide rectangle. 
  3. As mentioned above, and especially when working with a directional print, take the time to make sure your rectangle cut is straight and your corners are true 90˚ angles; this will insure the finished case lays nice and flat.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Fold the cuff wrong sides together (so it is now 5" x 41") and press to set a center crease.
  2. Place the pillowcase body right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  3. Unfold the cuff and place it right sides together along the top edge. Remember, if using a directional print, you are pinning the bottom edge of the cuff against the top edge of the pillowcase body, aligning the 41” raw edges.
  4. Starting at the bottom edge of the pillowcase body, begin rolling the body up towards the cuff/flange at the top of the pillowcase. Keep the roll fairly tight, about 3" in diameter; it needs to fit within the cuff.
  5. Roll almost all the way up to the top.
  6. Flip over the whole thing. Now the fabric roll is wrong side up on top and the cuff is right side up and flat underneath so its original center crease line is visible. 
  7. Now comes the "burrito" part. Wrap the cuff around the fabric roll.
  8. The cuff is now right sides together, its top raw edges are aligned, and the fabric roll is between the layers of the cuff... like the filling of a burrito! Pin along the top raw edges.
  9. Below we’ve included a picture from our second pillowcase construction to give you another view from the end of the burrito of all the layers.
  10. You are pinning through all three layers: two cuff layers and one body layer.
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the full 41" width to seal the burrito.
  12. Turn the case right side out through one open end of the burrito.
  13. From the right side, re-press the cuff along its center crease line, which should now be the top edge of the case.
  14. The pillowcase is finished with a French Seam. To do this, fold the case in half WRONG sides together (yes… right sides out). Pin along the side and across the bottom. The Silky Satin is indeed silky; use plenty of pins to help keep the layers from shifting.
  15. Make sure the cuff ends are flush with one another along the side.
  16. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along the side and across the bottom, pivoting at the corner. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep a precise seam. 
  17. Clip the one sewn corner at a diagonal, making sure to not cut into the seam. Do not clip the folded corner.
  18. Turn the pillowcase wrong side out (so it is now right sides together) through the open top. Push out the corners so they are square and press the case flat once again. 
  19. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch again along the side and across the bottom, again pivoting at the corner. We switched back to our Satin Stitch foot for this seam.
  20. This new seam encases the seam allowance of the first, narrower seam, forming a clean finish. 

    NOTE: For more about the French Seam and other machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part series.
  21. Turn the pillowcase right side out again and press. Your case is complete with finished seams all around. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructions: Leah Wand

Section: 

Comments (12)

Judy H said:
Judy H's picture

"Remember, if using a directional print, you at pinning the bottom edge of the cuff against the top edge of the pillowcase body, aligning the 41” raw edges." Excellent instructions, so thank you for that along with the adult concept of a burrito pillowcase.  I copied your sentence about using directional prints because I'm not sure I understand.  I occasionally get that backwards and I'm not sure how I do it.  Any quick suggestions for me. Thank you

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Judy - you mean besides the "at" that should be "are"  It's really just a reminder that you need to join the top of the main piece with the bottom of the cuff so when the cuff is folded up into position, the motif is running the right way. The best option is to pin the layers in place and then lift up the cuff and peek under to make sure you have it right before stitching the seam.

MelodyJ said:
MelodyJ's picture

Where did you get the heart shaped container that holds the pins?  I love both of these pillow cases.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ MelodyJ - Thanks so much; we hope you give the project a try. The Shannon Silky Satin is sooooooooo lovely. That little pin dish is just something Leah, one of our seamstress team members, has had for years. Cute isn't it? 

Diane Martin said:
Diane Martin's picture

I sleep on a satin pillowcase because my hair style lasts longer.  It often looks better the second day.  

Linda L. said:
Linda L.'s picture

It's so wonderful to see flannel without bunnies or teddy bears - thank you for that!! Actual flannel for grown-ups!!

I've never thought about combining satin and flannel although I have pillowcases made of each separately. I'm thinking now of following your idea and also taking it further with flannel on one side of the case and satin on the other with the flannel cuff - best of both worlds. ;-)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Linda - more and more manufacturers are adding flannel into their collection. It s great to have such a lovely variety. This collection is one of the nicest we've seen this season.

Karen J said:
Karen J's picture

I am so glad I saw this tutorial. I know what everyone is getting for Christmas along with some scented waters to spray on the sheets. I can't wait to get started. Thanks Liz.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Karen J - Thank you! What a great idea for the scented sprays.

Ellen Mickelson said:
Ellen Mickelson  's picture

Hi Liz,

Wow! These satin pillowcases are gorgeous! What an indulgence and a treat, but when you make them yourself, they're so worth it. They'd also be a wonderful thoughtful gift. 

What a great idea!

Thanks for another well-written and pretty tutorial :)

-Ellen

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Ellen - thanks so much! They are so wonderfully soft and smooth.

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