Do you ever have a To Do list that seems insurmountable? Mine isn’t so bad at the moment, to be honest, but last week I was really having a day. The sort that doesn’t come often, but when it happens it totally sucks the motivation right out of me. The baby was cutting teeth on the very day he had to get his vaccines, and it made for a very long couple of days. He didn’t nap during the day because he was so uncomfortable, and though he wanted to be held, he fought with me by stiffening up and arching his back. If you’ve had little ones, you know how it can be. When he finally succumbed to sleep a few hours after I would have normally put him down for the night, I thought I would go to my studio and work on what I had missed out on during normal nap hours. But instead I finished a blouse. And then I decided, “hey, I bet it would be nice to make some pillowcases out of Liberty.”
I really hadn’t ever given it much thought. I’m so tired when I go to bed at night, my pillows get little notice. But I made these so quickly, and I was so pleased with the result. I was even more thrilled when I laid my head down on one of them a short time later to discover, “my word, these are so soft!” When morning rolled around, I was happy to see them in the light of day. My oldest son came in the room and proclaimed that they were the nicest pillows ever, and my middle son wanted some for himself. I have made many pillowcases over the years, but these were the first I’ve made with Liberty, and I’m afraid I’ve opened a can of awesome, and I have no intention of going back.
So this tutorial was born. I thought you should have a little indulgence, and if you need any excuse I will remind you that you are living in 2020 which is basically self explanatory. This year is bananas. But the pillows help.
These babies are my favorite sort of pillowcase- they have that little flap on the back side of the pillowcase which keeps your pillow from sliding out, which you may not have an issue with, but maybe your husband mangles his pillows during the night, and when you wake up you wonder how the heck he manages to de-case half of his pillow every night. This helps with that.
Liberty tana lawn is a special treat. If you have used it before, you need no explanation, but if not, let me take a moment to tempt you. It is a very fine cotton fabric with a tight weave, and many have compared it to silk. It is very soft, and has virtually no shrinkage so I never ever prewash it. On top of that, the designs are just extraordinary and so full of detail. They add so much sunshine to anything, be it clothing or quilts, or even to your bed in the form of pillowcases. Liberty is also 54″ wide, which makes it perfect for this project. To make a set of two, you’ll need the following:
- 2 yards Liberty fabric for main print
- (2) 21″ x 1″ strips for contrast piece (optional)
- thread such as Wonderful Invisifil
- size 70/10 needle
You can find links to all tools I use such as the rotary cutter and mat in this post.
Note: if you really want to go for full indulgence, pamper your skin and hair with one of Liberty’s silk prints! Silk is said to be wonderful for the skin and hair as it helps them to retain moisture since it does not absorb it, and helps to avoid bed head. It is also naturally hypoallergenic.
These are easy peasy, and would make great Christmas presents or birthday presents. I’m thinking I’ll make some for some of my good friends as a special treat paired with some dark chocolate. YUM.
I am using the Skyline S9 to make my pillowcase, and Liberty loves a size 70/10 needle. If you use a needle that’s too thick, it will want to push the Liberty down into the bobbin area, and you don’t want that! Liberty is a very fine fabric and should be paired with a fine needle. I’m also using Wonderfil Invisafil thread, which is what is always in my machine for piecing light to medium weight fabrics. It is light and so strong!
Cut the following from your main fabric:
- (2) 21″ x WOF (width of fabric)
- (2) 21″ x 9.5″ for the pillow edge
- (2) 21″ x 1″ strips from contrast fabric
Fold your contrast piece in half lengthwise (if you are using one) and press. Liberty lawn is cotton, so you can use on the highest heat setting. Just inside that little bit of fluff along the selvedge, which you should not cut off, line up the raw edge of the contrast strip. Move your needle so that you are sewing at just under 1/4″ (or if you prefer, you can move your fabric so that you are sewing a scant 1/4″). I moved the needle to the 5.5 position on the Skyline S9. Stitch a scant 1/4″ seam down the edge.
On top of that, with right side down, place your edge fabric with raw edges aligned with the strip. Pin or clip in place. Move your needle over to 1/4″ position (4.5 on the Skyline S9), and stitch down the side.
Move the edge fabric, and sew a 1/4″ seam along the other side of it to use as a pressing guide. Press the edge and contrast fabric away from the main part of the pillow and press the side of the edge fabric down 1/4″ by using the thread as a pressing guide. Now bring your edge fabric around to the back of the pillow where the seam is, and line up the fold you just pressed so that it just covers the raw edge of the contrast strip. It doesn’t matter if some of that fluff is visible since it will not fray.
Press the edge fabric in place, and from the right side, sew a scant 1/4″ seam along the contrast strip on the main pillow section. This will catch the folded portion underneath, and should yield a clean finish. I suggest taking your time on this part- lawn is very easy to handle under the machine, and should stay in place if pressed well beforehand, but it always helps to put a hand under every now and then as it heads toward the needle to make sure everything is where it should be. You could also take a glue stick and very lightly hold that fold in place before you sew, but use just a little so you don’t gum up your needle.
Flip your pillow piece around to the other end so we can make that retention flap. Fold the end in by 4.5″ and press it in place. You don’t need to sew anything yet.
Now keeping that retention flap folded, line up your pillow WRONG sides together- the fold of the retention flap and the edge of the pillow should meet up. We are going to use French seams to finish our pillowcases. Pin the sides up if you want to. Sew a 1/4″ seam on both of the raw edges, backstitching at the beginning and end. Trim off any threads that are sticking out.
Flip your pillow inside out so that you now have RIGHT sides together. Press those seams well and iron that pillowcase flat. Sew a 3/8″ seam along both sides that you just ironed well (backstitching at the beginning and end!) to enclose the 1/4″ seam and give you a totally clean finish.
Turn your pillowcase right side out and give it a good press, then go take a nap. You deserve it!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you make some pillowcases using this tutorial, be sure to tag me @thefooshe on Instagram or @oliviajanehandcrafted on Facebook or just use #oliviajanehandcrafted
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