How Much Fabric Do I Need to Make a Pillow Case?

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Use whimsical fabrics like this to make a pillow case for a child.

You can buy a pillow case in almost any large retail or home decor store. If you want your pillows to have a truly personal touch, try making your own instead. With only basic sewing skills you can sew a pillow case for all the pillows in your home. Choose your favorite fabric materials and prints to make pillow cases that are sure to please all of your family and friends. Use standard measurements or customize them to your pillows and preferences.


Pillow Measurements

Measure the width of your pillow. As the pillow lies on the bed, this would be the measurement from the top seam to the bottom seam. This should encompass the thickness of your pillow as the seams should be centered on the top and bottom; if there are no seams, simply wrap the tape measure all the way around the pillow vertically and divide by two; call this measurement A. Measure the length of your pillow from side to side and call it B. This is the base measurement system for your fabric choice if you want to customize your pillow case to one specific pillow.


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Standard Sizes

If you want to make several pillow cases as gifts, use standard pillow measurements to help you determine your fabric requirements. According to the Table Top & Home website, a standard sized pillow is 20 inches wide by 26 inches long; a queen pillow is 20 inches by 30 inches and a king pillow is 20 by 36 inches. Use these measurements to make pillow cases if you do not have the pillow on hand to measure or if you intend to sell the pillow cases or give them away.


Seam Allowances

You will have to add a little bit of length and width to your pillow measurements in order to allow for sewing the seams of your pillow case. To measurement A, add 1/2 inch; this will allow you to make a 1/4 inch seam on each long side of the pillow. To measurement B, add 1/4 inch for the closed end of the pillow case and add 1/2 inch for folding under the seam on the open end and anywhere from 3 to 5 inches for the overhang where the pillow case is longer than the pillow itself to stay closed.


Fabric Yardage

If you go to the fabric store you need to know how many pillow cases you can cut from one piece of fabric. For a standard pillow case, your measurement A will be 20.5 inches and measurement B will be 29.75 to 31.75 inches. You need two pieces of fabric that measure A by B to make one pillow case. A standard bolt of cotton fabric is 44 to 45 inches wide; this means you can fit two of measurement A across the width of the fabric and you need the length to match B. One yard of fabric, then, will make one pillow case with a little bit of fabric left over.



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