Upcycled Pillow Cases–Tips and Techniques Including a French Seam


Who says beds need to be boring, or all pillowcases should match? I really enjoy making and remaking pillowcases for our bed.

Homemade pillowcases add character.  They make me feel all nesty.  And this project  uses some great fabrics and trims from my collection.


Here’s the latest example: In the 1940 or 50s, a woman bought chicken feed in this border-print feed sack. How do I know?  Look closely and see stitch marks that once closed the sack.

I deconstructed her pillowcase pair, cut off the border and reconstructed a bed pair of my own.

Here are some tips for a project like this:

Carefully select the fabric that will go next to your face. It should be smooth, soft and sturdy. And I like to stay away from a white body–too boring. For this project, I used an old blue and white striped sheet.

Use a favorite existing pillowcase as your pattern/template.

And careful with you border fabric selection. I once used old tablecloths for pillowcases. Super-soft on the face, but they wore terribly on the edges after a few weekly washes.

RE Construction:  I built the case FLAT first, adding my border and blue rick-rack. And while I could have serged my side and end together, I took a cue from the original case and used a FRENCH SEAM:

  • First pin with WRONG sides together.
  • Sew a narrow seamseam_1
  • PRESS WELL, turn wrong side out and pin with RIGHT sides together.
  • Your next seam should enclosed the raw edges of your first seam.


seam_2One final tip, if you’re making a pair of cases, stitch both at the same time. It’s so much easier than trying to recreate a mirror image after time has passed.

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