Free Pattern: Quick Pillowcases

Halloween is always a fun time of year for kids, eagerly anticipating dressing up and going out to collect all their candy loot. Well, these pillowcases are a great way to add to the excitement! They make up quickly and are a great beginner project.

2 yards of cotton prints will create two pillowcases – as you’ll see in my instructions you’ll reverse the use of prints, so make sure they are both interesting to look at as each print will be the ‘main’ fabric in one of the pillowcases.

I used to give my kids pillowcases to take with them for their trick-or-treating, because they were easier to hold on to than the store-made pumpkins and didn’t tear like a bag might. I wish I had come up with this idea sooner – the pillowcases I’ve made this year will be for my grandkids to sleep on when they visit grandma and grandpa, to dream of the treats they’ll gather on their trick-or-treating.

Materials

  • 1 yard – cotton fabric (45” cotton)
  • 1 yard – coordinating cotton fabric (45” cotton)
  • 4” strip of accent fabric (45” cotton)

Cut fabric as follows

  • Cut main fabric into two pieces, one ¾ yard and one ¼ yard
  • Cut coordinate fabric into two pieces, one ¾ yard and one ¼ yard
  • Cut accent fabric into two strips, each 1½” to 2” wide
  • Set aside the main fabric ¼ yard piece, the coordinate ¾ yard piece and one accent fabric strip.
  • Note – these instructions will allow you to make two pillow cases, one the inverse of the other.

Construction

  • Fold and iron a strip of accent fabric in half lengthwise, right side out. Make sure you create a good crease.
  • Build your ‘fabric sandwich’ as follows, with RIGHT sides up and top edges lined up along the 45” width.
    • Coordinate fabric (¼ yd pc) on bottom
    • Main fabric (¾ yd pc)
    • Folded accent fabric on top
Fabrics in sandwich
Fabrics in ‘sandwich’
  • Starting at the bottom, roll the main fabric loosely up toward the top of the fabric sandwich. When you reach the ¼ yard of coordinate fabric, leave it out of your fabric roll. Continue rolling until you reach the center (approximately) of the coordinate fabric.
  • Fold your main fabric over the roll, and line the edges up at the top. You will now have five raw edges at the top of your bundle, with the main fabric roll in the center. Note – one edge of the main fabric is trapped in the fabric roll

View One of Fabric Roll

  • Pin this fabric bundle together. Beginners may want to use quilter’s safety pins because sewing through this many layers of fabric without having them shift is not easy. Make sure you only catch the one edge of the main fabric in the seam you are about to stitch.

View 2 of Fabric Roll

  • Using a walking foot (due to the many layers of fabric), sew through the five layers of fabric as outlined above using a ¼” seam allowance. Beginners may use a ½” seam allowance, but be aware that this will make your accent fabric strip very small.
  • Turn right side out – magically that one seam has finished both the inside and the outside of the pillowcase cuff, and the accent fabric at the edge of the cuff.

  • Fold pillowcase with right sides together, use your rotary cutter to trim up the edge of the cuff and remove selvages. Pin the pillowcase together, so you don’t get any shifting of the cuff or accent fabric line while stitching, and finish pillow by sewing the side and end of the pillow.
  • Repeat construction steps using the fabric laid aside to create the inverse pillow.

Of course, pillowcases are a good project any time of year – I just made these with Halloween themed fabrics because it’s that time of year. But with a pattern this easy, you could have pillowcases for a child’s favorite cartoon character, or for a guest room you could change the cases on those ‘extra’ pillows to suit the season.  As I said above, this is a great project for beginners, so perhaps your child could help with sewing the pillowcase.  The possibilities are endless!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

FREE Pattern – College Laundry Bag

College Laundry Bag One of the least favorite tasks for any student is doing laundry. This applies to college students and to high school students who are just learning the responsibility in preparation for college. So I thought it was high time to create something that might make laundry time a bit more enjoyable.

This bag is designed to be made using college print fabrics – but it could easily be made with any other fun print the student will enjoy.

I have created a downloadable pattern page for this project, so I’m not going to re-write the entire project here.  If you are considering making your own laundry bag, I suggest that you download the pattern, and have it printed out as you follow along with a few more detailed explainations below.  Laundry Bag Pattern

One of the most notable design elements is the line of black prairie points that runs down the side of the bag.  If you don’t know how to create prairie points, I have explained it in the pattern, but a more detailed explaination can be found at McCallsQuilting.com.  I used a 6 1/2″ square ruler to make sure I had the points spaced perfectly.

The bag is constructed as a tube, with only a small strip of the coordinate fabric used to accent one side.  Again, you can change this if you want, but one reason to not make the tube using seams on either side of the bag is to reduce stresses on the seams when the bag is overfull (and we all know that’s going to happen at least once).  So if you make changes, I suggest that you still use one large piece of fabric, and one smaller piece for the accent.

Another important step is finishing the bottom of the bag – instructions are included for sewing into the corners of the bottom, this will allow the bag to stand up more easily than if you just used a single seam across the bottom.  It will also reinforce the corners and provide a bit more strength to the finished piece.

A few suggestions to personalize the bag:

  • Use blanket tabs (also known as tags) instead of prairie points.  These can be made from a coordinate fabric, or just use ribbon.  I would still use buttons to finish the tabs off.
  • Add a pocket inside for quarters.  Or, make a small matching drawstring bag that could fit over the mouth of a coffee mug to collect quarters in through the week.
  • Print washing hints and instructions (don’t wash new jeans with white t-shirts) onto a colorfast sheet, then topstitch into the inside of the bag.  This can be done on fusible webbing, and use a decorative blade to trim before topstitching into the bag.

I’m sure you can come up with lots of new ideas… feel free to share a few!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

FREE Pattern – Hidden Pocket Pillow

Dorm Pillow Originally this project was titled “Dorm Pillow” – and I think you know why when you look at the picture.  A pillow large enough to lounge against while reading, or throw on the floor for watching TV and made with collge prints?  It must be for a college student – right?

But, it gets even better.  This pillow has two ‘hidden’ pockets that blend right into the design – just the right size for an MP3 player, a cell phone, a few pens or the chocolate bar you’re hiding from your roommate.  (However, I do suggest that you not forget the chocolate bar – it would be messy to clean up if it melted.)  They may be difficult to see in the picture on the right – so check out the closeup pictures below.   If you are planning on making this pillow, I suggest downloading the pattern and having it printed out for notes while you read the rest of the blog – go ahead, I’ll wait while you print it.  Hidden Pocket Dorm Pillow

As you can see, the pockets are discrete when you view the 30″ pillow – but large enough to be functional up close.  Once I finished this, I could easily see how other people might enjoy this pillow.   A small toy could be tucked inside for someone taking care of a new baby, and grads aren’t the only ones who sometimes need to lounge against a pillow but still have a pen or pencil close at hand – what about your favorite crossword enthusiast?  I thought about using the pockets for sewing tools as well – for someone who likes to do needlework, but I’m afraid that most of the tools would get lost in the pocket and just cause frustration (no one really wants to have to hunt for a missing needle).  If you put your mind to it – I’m sure that there are lots of other people who could use a pillow like this, and the pattern is easily adaptable to a variety of fabrics and prints.

Making the pillow is pretty straight-forward, so I’m not going to repeat all the steps in from the pattern here – just download the pattern from the link at the top of the blog.  The only unusual part of the pattern is the pocket, so I’ve provided a closeup picture of how the pocket is formed.  As you can see from the picture above, the pocket is formed by folding the fabric used for the side borders.  This means you don’t have a seam creating the bottom of the pocket (more strength), and you have two layers of fabric forming the front of the pocket (again, for strength).  This is just so that normal use – taking things in and out of the pocket – won’t tear it.

Once you’ve created the folds just sew the border fabric in place as you normally would, and voila! – you have a hidden pocket.   One caution, be careful in folding the fabric of your borders, you want both pockets to be on the same side of the pillow so you can use them both when the pillow is sitting up on that side.
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila