Turn Vintage Tablecloths into Pillow Cases–Plus How to Sew a French Seam


Don't waste wonderful old cotton tablecloths--Turn them into dreamy pillowcases

Forget Egyptian Cotton and high thread counts, my favorite pillowcases are made from old white Damask cotton tablecloths. 

Can't find American-made fabric like this anymore--it's super-soft and luxurious

Soft, thick, emobssed with flowers and stripes–this is the rich fabric that went with grandma’s good dishes and long Sunday lunches.   It feels wonderful.   

And while we like long lunches–we are much more casual.  White is not our style. 

Here’s how I repurposed the old tablecloths and use them everynight:

  • Use your hands.  Always evaluate fabric by touch.  Only the softest old linens should be turned into pillow cases.
  • Wash and dry on HOT , then check for stuborn spots and stains.  A little bleach or or an overnight Oxy clean soak can help.
  • All pillows are not the same size.  Measure a pillow case with a good fit and write down the finished size.  My pillow cases are 36 inches  long, and 21 inches high. 
  • Think of the case as a tube with an one end open.  A fold will go at the top, a seam at the bottom and end.  But before you make your seams, plan how you’ll finish your open end.   I like to use contrasting bands–white linen and gingham here–but you can also make a deep hem–at least 4 inches. 
  • Figure your cut measurements–adding an inch and a half to your finished measurements for each french seam.
  • Now cut out a rectangle for each pillow case and finish the open end.
  • I like to use FRENCH SEAMS in pillow cases.  They’re neat and pretty.
  • First, pin the seams WRONG SIDES TOGETHER
  • Sew a 1/4 in straigh seam
  • Press open, them press seam allowances together.
  • Now, turn the pillow case RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
  • Press and pin seams.
  • Sew a 1/2 inch seam enclosing the first seam (and its raw edges) inside the second.  Press turn right side out and your pillow case is done.  Now–take a nap–you’ve earned it. 
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