They say sleeping on satin pillowcases helps keep wrinkles away. I say, “Sign me up for that one!” These gorgeous cases are quick and easy to make, yet look like the fancy ones with the expensive price tags at the bedding store. That’s a recipe for the perfect gift! The lucky recipient will think you slaved away for days to create them for her. She’ll adore the luxurious feel of the satin charmeuse, and when you tell her that little tip about the wrinkles, I bet they become her favorite bedding faster than you can say “forty winks.”
Today’s satin fabrics come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors so you can pick your fabric to pair with quilting cotton accent band as we did – or go all satin with both the body of the pillowcase and the trim.
Our pillowcase finishes to fit a standard bed pillow insert (20″ x 26″): approximately 20″ high x 30″ wide, including the 4″ cuff.
If you like these pillowcases, try some of our other pillowcase projects in our Bed Linens category. Click to jump to that section.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Satin Stitch foot, optional for working with ribbon trim
- Overedge foot, optional for seam finishing
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTES: Fabric amounts shown are for TWO standard pillowcases.
If you have larger 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? I’d say, ‘yes.’ 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.
- 1½ yards of 45″+ wide satin fabric (we cut our main panels vertically) for the body of the pillowcases
- ½ yard of 45″ wide cotton fabric for the pillowcase accent band
NOTE: You will use exactly ½ yard to cut the two pieces of 9″ trim; if you want a little room to breath, get ¾ yard.
- 2½ yards of ⅝” fancy ribbon or two different ribbons layered to create the full width (our choice)
- All purpose thread
- Contrasting colored thread for topstitching
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam ripper
- Seam gauge
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth if working with satin
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- From the fabric for the body of the pillowcase, cut TWO 21″ high x 53″ wide rectangles.
- From the fabric for the pillowcase trim, cut TWO rectangles, 9″ high x 41″ wide rectangles.
NOTE: Height and width are given so you can keep that in mind if working with a directional motif – so the motif will look correct when the pillows are sitting on a bed.
- From each ribbon, cut four 21″ lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Attaching the trim
- If you are layering your ribbon, do this now, stitching the ribbons together to form your final trim. It will be much easier to work with as one length of trim rather than two layers.
- Find one 21″ length of trim and position it approximately ⅜” from one raw 21″ edge of a pillowcase body, on the right side of the fabric.
NOTE: We say “approximately'”because the exact position will depend on the ribbon(s) you choose. You will eventually seam this edge with a ½” seam allowance, and so you need to position the ribbon so your ½” seam will allow an appropriate amount of the ribbon to show. In our sample, we wanted half of the velvet and all the lace to show, and adjusted the position to accommodate this.
- Lightly pin the ribbon in place.
- Set your machine for a long basting stitch, and baste the ribbon in place.
NOTE: We used the Janome clear Statin Stitch foot, which gave us a couple of handing points to guide the ribbon and fabric. We used the outside edge of the foot to guide the raw edge of my fabric and the inside edge and arrow to guide the ribbon, removing the pins as we sewed. Remember, there’s no need to lock stitch your basting at the beginning or end of your seam.
- Repeat to add trim to the opposite end of this pillowcase body, then repeat for both ends of the second pillowcase body.
Pillowcase body seaming
- Fold the pillowcase body rectangle in half, right sides together, so it is now: 21″ x 26½”. The ribbon trim is sandwiched between the layers.
- Pin the two 26½” sides together. Stitch both sides, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Because pillowcases are laundered often, and because satin frays easily, we recommend finishing your seam allowances. We used an overcast stitch to finish our seams, with an Overedge foot. You could also use a simple zig zag or serge your seam. For more about machine finishes, check out our four-part series.
- 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 point turner. Press. If working with satin and velvet, use a pressing cloth.
- Repeat for second pillowcase body.
- Finish one long edge raw edge of the pillowcase trim piece with an overcast stitch, zig zag stitch or serger.
- Press a double-fold hem along this finished edge. Turn up the edge ½” and press, then turn up another 4″ and press again
- Unfold the pressed hem. Your fold lines will remain.
- Fold the 9″ x 41″ trim piece in half, right sides together, so it is now: 9″ x 20½”.
- Pin in place securely along the 9″ edges to simulate a ½” seam allowance. Test to see if this “trim circle” fits the pillowcase body by slipping it over the open bottom end of the pillowcase. The open edge of the pillowcase body and the trim circle need to be a perfect match. If the trim circle seems a bit too big or too small, adjust your seam allowance accordingly.
- Using the appropriate seam allowance you tested above, stitch the along the 9″ raw edges. Press seam open.
- Re-fold the ½” bottom hem. Re-press and pin in place,
- Edgestitch this hem in place. It will become the finished edge inside your pillowcase.
- Repeat for the second pillowcase trim piece.
- Slip the sewn trim circle over the open bottom end of your pillowcase body, right sides together, matching 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 raw edge of your trim piece. Pin all around.
NOTE: Here’s another point to test your seam allowance. If you did your measuring correctly when you first applied your ribbon, a standard ½” seam allowance should be dandy. But satin is slippery and things can shift, so it’s important to place a few pins horizontally along the ½” seam line. Then, check from the right side to see if the ribbon reveal is really how you want it to be. We’ll admit it… we needed to adjust our seam allowance from ½” to ⅜” to be sure enough of the velvet part of the ribbon showed. Nobody’s perfect; that’s why we always pin first, then check, then stitch.
- Once you’ve tested and insured you have the proper seam allowance to give you the ribbon reveal you want, stitch all around the pillowcase opening. Press the seam up towards the pillowcase trim.
- Re-fold the remaining 4″ of the trim’s hem along the original crease line.
- This will bring the folded edge of the trim around to the inside of the pillowcase. The folded and edgestitched hem of the trim should easily overlap the inside pillowcase/trim seam. Adjust and re-press the fold if it doesn’t align. Pin in place from the front.
- As you look at your pillowcase from the front, you should have 4″ of trim showing from seam to folded edge.
- Topstitch ¼” in from the seam within the trim, to secure the trim’s hem in place. We used a contrasting color thread for a decorative touch. Press.
- Repeat to finish second pillowcase.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Liz Johnson