Pillowcase with Decorative Cuff

Moore's Sewing Projects

This project is simple, but extremely useful. Well, the concept of a pillowcase is simple, but the construction of this one is complicated by the incorporation of French seams. French seams were popular before the availability of a serger became fairly common.  The raw fabric edges are completely contained in a French seam. To add to the intrigue, and maybe add some confusion, there is also a special seam that attaches the cuff to the rest of the case. This seam requires the bulk of the pillowcase to be pulled through the small end opening of the cuff. If you already are familiar with these construction techniques, skip the details and sew up some custom pillowcases. If these seam types are new to you, carefully follow the instruction steps, and you likely will be amazed that ins and outs and insides and outsides can become outs and ins  and outsides and insides. It’s magic, it’s fabric manipulation.

Pillowcases can be made for a special occasion by selecting fabric appropriate for the occasion. Or, pillowcases can be made with unique ‘identifying’ fabric to differentiate them from other pillowcases.

– Main fabric –  27″ x 41”
– Cuff fabric – 11” x 41”

1. For reference purposes, cross-sections of the French seam and the cuff seam are provided below.

2. White lines always represent the Wrong-side of the fabric. Red lines represent the Right-side of the main body fabric. Green lines represent the Right-side of the cuff fabric.  Stitching is shown by black lines.

3. Place the cuff fabric right side up.
4. Place the main fabric right side up and long sides together on top of the cuff fabric.
5. Line up the raw edges and pin to hold in place.
6. Starting at the bottom of the main fabric, roll towards the top where the pins are.
7. Keep rolling until you see the loose edge of the cuff.
8. Bring the cuff up over the main fabric to the pinned edge.
9. Line up the cuff fabric with the other raw edges and pin the three layers together. Be careful to avoid pinning any part of the roll. This technique has been referred to as a “burrito”.

10. Being very careful to avoid sewing through any part of the roll, sew along the the pinned edge with a 3/8” seam allowance.
11. Pull the main fabric out one end of the cuff. Press.
12. Lay the combined pieces out flat. Trim the cuff-main fabric edges if necessary.
13. This pillowcase is going to be finished with French seams so there will be no raw edges inside your pillowcase.
14. Fold pillowcase in half with WRONG-sides together.
15. Pin match the ends of the seam where the cuff meets the main fabric. Sew along the entire long edge with a 1/4” seam allowance and across the end of the main fabric.
16. Turn pillowcase wrong-side out. Press. Sew with a 3/8” seam allowance along the side and end over previously stitched seam. This will enclose the raw edges.
17. Turn right-side out and press.

If you have a serger, you may serge the seams instead of doing a ‘french seam’.

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