How to Make a French Seam Pillow Case


Pillowcases cover pillows and protect them from oil, makeup and other dirt. Pillowcases are just easier to wash than pillows. But pillowcases also become design focal points for many bedrooms. In many cases, no pun intended, the pillowcase simply matches the bedding. But with a little work, you can sew pillowcases that coordinate with the walls, the window treatments, or just reflect the season of the year. Sewing french seams hides the raw edges, adds durability to the pillowcase and eliminates the need for hemming.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4 yard pillowcase fabric
  • 1/4 yard coordinating fabric for cuff
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Cut a piece of fabric 27-inches by 42-inches for the body of a standard pillowcase. Cut a piece of fabric 9-inches by 42-inches of the coordinating fabric for the cuff.

  • Lay the cuff of the work surface with the right side up. Pin the fabric of the pillowcase right-side down to the cuff, matching the 42-inch sides.

  • Roll up the pillowcase fabric from the bottom toward the pinned edge. Lay the roll of fabric on top of the cuff fabric. Fold the cuff fabric over the rolled pillowcase like a hot-dog bun folds over a hot-dog. Match the edge of the cuff with the pinned edge and pin it down as well. You will have three layers of fabric pinned together, the cuff surrounding the rolled up body of the pillowcase.

  • Thread the sewing machine with coordinating thread. Stitch three-eighths inch from the raw edge of the pinned seam. Remove the pins. Reach inside the tube and pull the body of the pillowcase out of the tube. The cuff will turn right-side out with the seam trapped inside the cuff. Press the cuff.

  • Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. You will have a rectangle roughly 31-inches by 22-inches. Pin the bottom and side leaving the end with the cuff open. Stitch the pinned areas one-quarter inch from the raw edge. Trim the edges to remove any stray threads.

  • Turn the pillowcase inside out so that the right sides are together. Press the seams flat. Pin the seams along the side and bottom of the pillowcase. Stitch these seams one-half inch from the edge. Feel to be sure that the seam allowance is captured within the new seam.

  • Turn the pillowcase right-side out and press flat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pillowcase cuffs are a place to use fabric scraps left over from other decorating crafts. They tie the pillows into the room, but still allow a smooth and comfortable fabric for the majority of the pillow.
  • Choose washable fabrics.
  • Always use caution when sewing on a machine.
  • Never leave an iron unattended.

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  • Photo Credit patchwork quilt and pillows image by Gina Smith from
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