Thursday, July 29, 2010

Put Some Clothes on that Pillow

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories and preferences concerning their pillows. It's interesting to learn what you prefer. I've heard of those memory foam pillows and I'm thinking it's something The Farmer would love. Maybe for Christmas I'll get him one.

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd show you how to make your own pillowcases. Why in the world would you want to make your own pillowcase? I've noticed that the quilt shops that I frequent all have patterns and kits for making colorful cases. They're just so different than anything you might find in the domestics department of your local big box store. I love the idea of having something colorful and unusual to rest my head upon and just think about the dreams that those kinds of cases will jumpstart.

I also mentioned that I'd have an opportunity for you to help others. My friends over at Craft Hope are just coming off their biggest project ever. Project 8 was providing towels for the Gulf coast oil clean up. Their hope was to collect 15,000 towels. They collected 70,000 towels!!! These women can make things happen..... and so can you.

For Project 9 they are working with ConKerr Cancer Center to provide colorful pillowcase for terminally ill children in hospitals across the U.S.


The pattern provided by ConKerr Cancer Center is provided HERE

OK, let's get started with sewing our pillowcase. We're going to start with our two pieces of fabric.

Main fabric - 26 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches
Border fabric - 10 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches

I don't have a lot of children's fabric in my stash but I did find this colorful animal print. Perfect..... lions and tigers and otters, oh my!!!


For my border print I chose a pink and white gingham.


The first step is to fold the border fabric in half lengthwise, with the wrong sides together. Press the fabric.


We're going to want to finish the seams so that the edges don't fray. A serger machine creates this edge.


See how the machine has zig-zagged thread over the edge to encase it, all while sewing the straight seam? Well, I don't have a serger and neither do many hobby sewers so I'm going to show you how to actually encase the edge, making a French seam. It's really not hard once you've seen it done.

Pin the long edges of the two fabrics together with the border attached to the wrong side of the main fabric. It sounds wierd because that means your seam would be on the outside of the pillowcase. But that will change in a minute.


Sew along the long edge, using a 1/4 inch seam. I'm going to switch to a sample swatch because it will be easier to see what I'm doing. That animal print is a little busy.

Right sides of fabric facing out.


Sew the 1/4 inch seam.

Open the seam out and press flat.

Fold over with raw edges inside and press flat.


Encase the raw edge by sewing a 5/8 inch seam along the edge.


This is a french seam seen from the inside.


I like to take it a step further and do a line of stitching that makes that piece lie flat. Just stitch right along the edge on the wrong side. Here's what it looks like after stitching viewed from the wrong side.


And from the right side.


At this point everything is encased, flat and looking all professional.

You can do this on all edges of the pillowcase including the border, the long edge and the short edge. Do them in this order.


After sewing the long edge you'll be basically left with an open ended tube so when you go to sew the encased seam down flat you're going to need to do a little "scrunching" to get it through the machine without catching fabric. Just go slow.

Here's the finished pillowcase which I will be donating to the Craft Hope Project.


If you don't want to use the method of creating a French seam, just sew in the order given and finish the edges with pinking shears.

Another idea is to use a decorative stitch on the area where the main fabric and border meet. I would have done that EXCEPT my modern electronic machine with the fancy stitches has decided to have a nervous breakdown. Yeah, and she's only a year old.

Many thanks to my friend made of cast iron, Beverly, who faithfully performed her straightforward and straight-stitching duties flawlessly. Gotta love a vintage machine!



Leslie T said...

I am the world's worst at sewing. I've managed to make curtains several times, but everything else usually ends in disaster. I admire your skill and wish that I was so gifted. I think that you need to start selling pillowcases in your Etsy shop. I think they would fly out the door. On little wings.

Farmchick said...

I would be the second world's worst at sewing and did not inherit my Grannie's sewing talent. Wish I had. Love the pillow and I do agree that they would sell on Etsy.

Suzanne said...

Leslie - GOOD GOSH WOMAN.... you are up early! As to your sewing problem, I think you just need a patient teacher. If I leave now I can be there by Tuesday. I'd be there sooner but I need to stop along the way to sample the pie!

Farmchick - Oh no. I swear with just a little instruction and some patience you could rival your grannie's sewing skills. Honest.

I do plan to put some into my Etsy shop as soon as I finally get the sewing room re-organized. The problem I'm having with Etsy is that the competition is astounding and it's easy to get lost in the fray over there. If I list an apron today I'll notice that there are 22,553 aprons for sale!!!!! At most I'll have 20-24 listed and that's small potatoes, easy to get lost.

Vee said...

Came out really cute, but I got lost. I know that it's my problem. I'm always lost these days. I'll be back to read more carefully when I'm ready to give it a whirl myself. I was gifted with some wonderful high stitch count fabric that I want to make into pillow cases. Excellent cause, too. Some little someone is going to love it.

(This is my third and last try for is like this sometimes.)

lifeinredshoes said...

Just look at you, no end to your talents:)

Leslie T said...

I get up at 4:40 in the morning, Suzanne. Yes, even though my husband is the one who actually "goes to work" (somebody has to keep me in tulle and satin around here, and put food on my whimsical beachy table, heh) I'm always up before he is. This is why I'm usually asleep by 9:30. I'm not a night person.
As for the Etsy situation, yeah, I've also thought about what it would take to distinguish oneself amidst all the competition. However, I can tell you that if you make any pillowcases that involve red and white stripes, plaid, or tartan look, I will be first in line to have a look. Last month I went looking for red and white pillowcases on Etsy, and I found ONE set. One. In the whole of Etsy, one red and white set. I snapped them up.
I'll be looking for you on Tuesday. I'm getting the spare bed made up now. With red and white striped pillow cases. Bring your Jack's T-shirts. :)

betseysumners said...

I have made pillow cases for my girls and my granddaughter, but never for me, I need to do that! Thanks for your tutorial! By the way here is another vote for the memory foam pillows! I have problems with TMJ (jaw problems) and the memory foam pillow has been a live saver! So yes, that should go on the farmers Christmas list, maybe yours too?

Sharon Morrison said...

question. Do you double your cuff on the pillowcase?
Love your blog