Simple, Inexpensive Gift! DIY Pillowcases – Absolutely Adorable!

sewing supplies

One-yard pieces of 45" fabric, some thread, straight pins, scissors and your sewing machine are the main necessities for this simple project.

Guess what?  You can create some inexpensive, and yet very personalized gifts, for Christmas.  Yes, you can!  It’s super simple.  Think positive!  :)  I just made three adorable pillowcases for our grandkids, in a little over an hour, and THAT included stopping to take pictures and to start some rye bread rising!  Here’s all you’ll need to get started on your DIY pillowcase project:

  • a sewing machine, of course
  • 1 yard of 44/45″ wide fabric, choose a print or pattern that fits the personality of the person who will receive it
  • thread, choose whether you want it to match your fabric or to be a contrasting color
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  • ironing board and iron

Fold the yard of fabric in half, right-sides-together, so that it will measure about 22″ x 36″. Pin the long edge and the short edge that will be the bottom of your pillowcase, to hold them in place while you are stitching.

folded fabric

Right-sides-together means your fabric will be folded inside out. Pin the long edge and one short edge. The short edge will be the bottom of your pillowcase.


Start sewing the 5/8″ seam at the folded corner on the bottom edge of your pillowcase.  Be sure to back-stitch to lock your stitches in place.

sew 5/8 inch seam

Run the pinned edge of your fabric along the 5/8" guide on your sewing machine to create the seam, being sure to back-stitch to lock your seam .


When you are 5/8″ from the long edge of your fabric, leave the needle of your machine down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric, so that the unstitched edge is now ready to be stitched on your machine at the 5/8″ guide mark.  This will create a perfectly sharp corner.

sewing pivot

Pivoting the fabric so I can stitch down the long edge and create a sharp corner. Note that the sewing machine needle is down, holding the fabric in place, while the presser foot is up.


Now stitch the long edge of your pillowcase and back stitch to lock the seam when you reach the end.


Backstitch to lock your seam and keep your stitching from unraveling.


If you have a serger or a newer machine than mine, finish your edges in the way that works best for you, but I zigzag my seams to help keep them from raveling when the pillowcase is laundered.  Run the presser foot along the stitching in the seam you just made, to zigzag the edge of the seam.

zigzag seam finish

The arrow is pointing to the zig-zagged stitches on the outside of the regular seam.


Trim the seam, as close as possible to the zig-zag stitches, without cutting the stitches.  Trimming the seam removes extra bulk and gives a nice finished edge.  If you have a pair of pinking shears, even better.  Mine are so dull they wouldn’t cut hot butter.  Definitely time for a new pair!

trimming fabric seam

Trim the seam close to the zig-zag stitching.


Using a steam iron, press under 1/2″ on the unfinished top edge of the pillowcase.  Turn the fabric toward the inside of the pillowcase.  Press the 1/2″ hem around the full-circumference of the pillowcase top.

iron edge undre

Press 1/2" hem toward the inside of the case at top edge of pillowcase.


The 1/2″ inch you already pressed under has created a nice clean edge at the top of your case.  Now, you need to fold it over one more time to create the final finished 3″ hem.  Press the hem in all the way around the top of the case using a steam iron.

3 inch hem

Fold over three inches to create the finished hem and press it in with a steam iron.


Now, line the edge of your presser foot up with the folded under edge of the hem you created and stitch around the circumference.  Be sure to overstitch the seam when you get to the end or back-stitch to lock the seam.

stitch hem

Stitching the pillowcase hem.


Turn your finished pillowcase, right-side-out and press out any wrinkles.  You’re finished!  It’s that simple!

finished pillowcase

The finished pillowcase.


case on pillow

Perfect fit!


DIY pillowcases

I finished these three in about an hour. They were simple and inexpensive, but I know my grandkids will be thrilled with them!


So, are you done with your Christmas projects?  What’s left to do?  I still need to sew a couple skirts, plus some aprons and hotpads.  I already have published a simple DIY Christmas stocking tutorial, so I hope you’ll keep stopping back at Busy-at-Home, now and again, for a visit and to check out my new projects and recipes or to enter a giveaway or two.  Have a blessing-filled Christmas!




  1. says

    Yes, I think even I can do this (and that’s saying alot). I want White Pillowcases for my bed and every time i checks the stores ….. what pillow cases go for today is mind boggling. Thanks for sharing. I have some leftover fabric from Jo Ann’s and I will definitely make good use of it with this.

  2. says

    Would you mind please linking this post (and any others of this type) on my Handmade 2012 page on my blog?
    Love the tutorial and it’s an awesome gift idea for my handmade Christmas this year too!

  3. Texas Momma says

    My kiddos got pillows & 2 pillowcases each for Christmas from their great grandma one year & they loved them….they are really too big for them now (they were made from the travel pillows as they were 3 and 1 1/2 at the time) but they use them all them time still! Totally random that one of my son’s was made from the same Cars fabric too =)

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