Personalized useful things are always a treat. My kids tend to go for really well-thought-out gifts that will have meaning to the recipient, rather than just purchasing something at a store, and often, that leads us to interesting gift fabrication year-round.
A personalized pillowcase or pillowslip can suit any age. I prefer to do them with applique or embroidery, but fabric paints and textile markers can work well, too. You can even use crayon transfers.
Our most recent pillowcase gift is made from a purchased pillowcase I happened to have set back. Making a homemade pillowcase is simple, though. You’ll find snazzy tutorials all over the internets for pillowcases with contrasting hems (here’s a nice one), but I like to embellish totally plain white cases, and I like to use a nice cotton sateen, as it feels cool and smooth under a sleepy cheek.
You’ll need washed-and-dried cotton 44″ to 45″ wide, and 10″ longer than your pillow. This allows for a finished case that’s 1″ or so wider than the pillow, for easy on-and-off on laundry day. For normal bed-sized pillows, you’ll want:
- Standard: 45″ wide by 40″ long (about 1-1/4 yard length)
- Queen: 45″ wide by 44″ long (about 1-1/4 yard length)
- King: 45″ wide by 50″ long (about 1-1/2 yard length)
Fold the fabric right sides together, meeting the selvedges. Mark a stitching line 21″ from the fold; this may or may not be right along the selvedges of your washed-and-dried fabric.
Stitch the seam, and trim a generous 1/4″ allowance. Zig-zag or serge if desired.
Stitch across one short end of the case; trim a generous 1/4″ allowance, zig-zagging or serging to finish if desired.
Press the free edge to the wrong side 1/4″ to 1/2″; press well. Fold the hem edge to the wrong side 4″ and press well. (Use a ruler or hem gauge to get this very even.)
At this point, I like to work any embellishment in the hem area, so the back side of my work will be protected and hidden when the hem is secured.
To finish the pillowcase, use a running stitch to hem the pressed fold flat, stitching through all the layers.
Here’s a cowgirl monogram we added to a standard-size pillowcase. I designed an M to look like two horseshoes, and transferred the lines to the case with pencil. Then it was simply some sit-down stitching, outlining and filling the design with two strands of embroidery floss in a chain stitch.
Because this was a purchased pillowcase, I did take the hem out before working the embroidery. When I was done, I pressed the hem back in place, and re-stitched it using six strands of embroidery floss in a simple running stitch. Overall, the embroidery is about 3″ to 3.5″ tall on the hem of the pillowcase, and because the back of the work is protected by the inner layer of the hem, it will wear beautifully over the years.