Pillowcases, not to be confused with pillow protectors, are fabric covers used to keep pillows clean and to coordinate (or contrast) the pillow with the other bedding. Pillowcases can be laundered time after time--unlike pillows themselves--and are much easier to wash and dry than the pillows. Using the right sized pillowcases makes the pillows more comfortable and more attractive than using just any size.
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Sizes of Pillows
A standard pillow, generally used on twin and full-size beds, is 20 by 26 inches. A queen size pillow, used on queen size beds, is 20 by 30 inches. A king size pillow is 20 by 36 inches.
Sizes of Pillowcases
Pillowcases must be slightly larger than the pillows for which they're intended. The open end of the pillowcase extends about 6 inches beyond the end of the pillow to keep the pillow covered when it's fluffed and when you're sleeping on it. A standard pillowcase is 21 inches wide by 32 inches long. A case for a queen size pillow is 21 inches wide by 36 inches long. A king size pillowcase is 21 inches wide by 42 inches long.
Pillowcases Not Available?
Often people buy pillowcases when they buy sheets, so the whole ensemble matches. If the store is out of the pillowcase size you need, it's easy to make them yourself. Buy an extra twin size flat sheet to make a set of two standard, queen- or king-sized pillowcases.
Making a Set of Pillowcases
To make a set of two standard size pillowcases, you need 2 yards (72 inches) of 44-inch wide fabric. For a set of queen size pillowcases, you need 2 1/4 yards (81 inches) of 44-inch wide fabric. A set of king size pillowcases requires 2 1/2 yards (90 inches) of 44-inch wide fabric. To make the pillowcases, cut the fabric in half. For a standard size pillow, you'll end up with two pieces of fabric each 44 inches wide by 36 inches long. Along one 44-inch side, create a hem by folding the fabric to the back 1/2 inch. Press. Then turn the fabric to the back again, this time 2 1/2 inches. Sew the hem at the bottom edge of the fold. Now fold the fabric in half so you have a piece 22 inches wide by 32 1/2 inches long. Make sure the finished side of the hem faces inward. Sew along the remaining side edge and the bottom edge of the pillowcase, making your seam 1 inch from the edge of the fabric. Turn the pillowcase right-side out.