When I was a child, no occasion went unmarked by a festive pillowcase. It began with Christmas pillowcases for me and my sister, lovingly sewn by my grandmother. We were so delighted that she kept making them. Birthdays, Valentine's day, Tuesdays - any reason was good enough for a special pillowcase. As time passed and fabric selection improved (along with her sewing machine), the pillowcases became more spectacular. My children have pillowcases she made with glow in the dark embroidery of their names! Our home now has no shortage of festive pillowcases for most occasions, so this year I decided I would spread some cheer and carry on this tradition by making pillowcases for my nieces and nephew.
These make a great gift and are super-quick to sew up in a pinch. You can even use them as gift bags! To make a pillowcase, you'll need one yard of fabric (I pre-wash mine...shrinkage after sewing isn't a big issue for pillowcases, but it softens the fabric up nicely). Fold it wrong sides together from selvage to selvage. I don't bother trimming off the fuzzy selvage edge - we're going to use French seams, so that will get trimmed away eventually. I simply sew along the selvage in this step. You'll sew across the top/short side and down the long side opposite the fold. Leave the bottom open - you have to be able to get the pillow in!
Now you're going to trim away that fuzzy bit and most of the seam allowance/selvage. You want less than 1/4"...just trim as close to the stitching as you are comfortable doing.
Now turn the pillowcase wrong side out and press the seams you just sewed.
Now stitch across the top and the long edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Now, before you get excited and flip the pillowcase right side out, let's do the bottom hem. Turn up and press 1/4".
Now turn up 3 1/2" and press. This will make the cuff, so to speak, of the pillowcase.
Now stitch about 1/8" from the turned up edge. I moved the needle over because I have a fancy sewing machine, but you can eyeball it or mark it if your needle doesn't move. The goal is to make sure you close in that raw edge you turned under, so 1/4" is too much.
And that's it! Turn it right side out and your pillowcase is ready to enjoy!