How to sew a Pillowcase with Ties

Today I’m sharing something I really haven’t posted about on my blog up until this point, and that’s sewing.  Today I am going to share how to sew a pillowcase with ties.  Because, ties on a pillowcase make it that much cuter.

So, I do a lot of DIY over here on the blog.  Food from scratch.  Gardening.  Make your own cleaning products. But you may have noticed I haven’t done any DIY sewing posts.  There’s a reason for that.

I’m extremely amateur when it comes to sewing.

Like, I can sew a straight line.  I made a rag quilt once.  And I made my daughter a simple skirt when she was younger (back in the day when she would actually wear dresses….sigh.)

But I really am not the one you want to learn from if you are sitting at the sewing machine.

I’m really selling today’s post, aren’t I?

Here’s the reason I think you should stay and learn how to make a pillow case from an amateur like me.

First is, because a pillow case is really just a bunch of straight lines.  So, I can do that.  And I am confident I can teach YOU how to do that.

Also, because I’m amateur I speak in “amateur” sewing lingo.  Which means if you are new to this kind of stuff hopefully you’ll be able to understand what I’m saying because, I have to simplify it for myself.

Also, my sewing machine is old.  And not well-maintained.  Which means if I could make this pillowcase with my poor equipment, you can too!

But I can’t take all the credit.  My 13 year old daughter helped make it as well.  I’d say we’re pretty much on the same level when it comes to sewing.  She learned a few things from me, but she also learned some stuff at 4-h.

(*Update – since I wrote this post over two years ago, my 15 year old daughter has definitely surpassed me in sewing!  I now have two homemade pillowcases as she made me one for Christmas.  Moms, teach your kids to sew – they’ll make you Christmas gifts if you do! 🙂 )

But basically, if you want to know how to sew a pillowcase for beginners, today’s post is it.

I love how sweet these pillowcases look on my bed.  I feel like it’s the type of pillows you’d see in Anne of Green Gables’ bedroom.

I suggest using a cotton material for your pillow cases.  It’ll feel much nicer when you lay your head down to sleep.


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What you need:

Fabric (Check out these cute ones!)

Fabric sewing pencil 

sewing machine

sewing pins




You’ll want to wash your material before you sew it.  This will prevent any issues with shrinking AFTER you’ve done all the hard work to sew it all together.


Iron your material.  



Outline your pattern.  There are a couple different ways you can do this.  I just grabbed the pillowcase I had on my bed, pinned it to the fabric, used a fabric pencil to mark around it, and cut the fabric out (I’ll share more details about that below in a minute.)

But, if you want measurements of various sizes of pillow cases, cut one big piece of fabric in these measurements.

Standard Size : 24″ x 25″

Queen Size:  40″ x 44″

King Size:: 40″ 50″

Okay, back to how I did it.  So as I said above, I used my own pillowcase as a pattern. 

(We are going to ignore the fact that I’m wearing sweats covered in paint in this picture, okay? 😉 )

I pinned it to my fabric and I used my fabric pencil to trace an outline around it. 

I left a few inches at the top for where I was going to hem the opening of my pillowcase (as you can see in the first picture I posted with my pillowcase I used as a pattern).  I need to be able to fold the top of the pillowcase down twice into my hem and so I need space for that.

As you can see, if I just trace the outside of the pillowcase that will only give me ONE side of the cover.  I need to double that.  So, after drawing the outline I placed the pillowcase next to my outline to draw another one.  So basically I’ll have an outline that looks like this:

You couldn’t see my fabric pencil in the pictures, so I added lines up above to show you.  See that purple line in the middle?  That’s the line you DON’T want to cut.



Now it’s time to cut out the pattern I drew on the fabric with my fabric pencil. Remember, we want to cut out the pattern WITHOUT cutting down our middle fabric line we drew.  (However, if you happen to do this all is not lost.  It just means you’ll have to sew two sides of the pillowcase as opposed to one.)


We are going to sew a hem around what is going to be the opening of the pillowcase.  You want to fold the edge over.  I eyeball it, but folding it over a half inch is probably a good estimate.  Make sure you fold it over so that the folded part shows the good side of your fabric against the inside of the the fabric.  You want to make sure your hem is on the right side. 🙂  You can see what I mean in the pictures below.

Iron the fold so it stays down, and then pin it.

You want to make sure you pin it the right way.  You want the pins to be point up, ball down so that when you sew it you can easily pull the pins out without poking yourself.

Sew the hem.  I sewed mine with a 1/4 inch inseam, and here are the settings I used on my sewing machine:

As you can see I use a straight hem and I have my needle to the right to allow for a 1/4 inch seam.

BEGINNER’S TIP:  To sew a hem, sew forward a few stitches, then sew backwards a few stitches, and then sew forward again.  The purpose of the backstitch is to prevent your stitches from unravelling.  Do this at the beginning of the hem and also at the end.

Okay, now you are going to fold the hemmed side over again, iron it and pin it again.  And sew the hem straight down.

Now you’ve got a hem on your pillowcase!


Okay, lay your fabric down, and fold it over so it forms your pillow.  NOTE:  You want the side of the fabric you DON’T want seen to be showing right now.

Pin it all around, EXCEPT at the hemmed opening.

Now you are going to sew it all around to seal up your pillow.  Don’t forget, do NOT sew where you hemmed or you won’t have an opening for your pillow.

This should be your end result below.  This is the pillowcase inside out.  As you can see by the way it’s sewn around the outside.

NOTE:  If you want to go one more step to make your pillow case sturdier, you can hem all the edges you are going to close up.  If you do that you will want to make your pattern a little bigger to account for the room needed for added hems.  I did not do that as it is just a pillowcase for myself and felt that this way was good enough.


Turn your pillowcase inside out (or rightside out, I should say as it should have already been inside out.) Cut off any loose threads on the pillowcase.  

Now, you can leave your pillowcase just like that, or you can add some cute ties like I did.


Cut two pieces of fabric, 11″ by 2.5″.

Fold both edges in to meet in the middle.  Iron it.

Fold it again so that the piece of fabric is completely in half.  Iron it.  You can pin it here but I skipped that part.  

Now, sew it on each side.  You want the hem pretty close to the edge so I just lined the edge of the fabric with the foot of my sewing machine.

Hem the end that will be seen by folding it over and then sewing a line across.


Now you want to sew the ties onto your pillow.  Turn your pillowcase inside out and line up your ties to the very middle.  You can measure it to find the exact middle, or if you are like me and prefer to just eyeball it, fold your pillowcase in half to find the center on each side.


Pin a tie to each side of the pillowcase.

Now you want to sew it to the pillowcase.  I lined up where I was sewing the tie with the hem that was already on there so I didn’t have a bunch of weird hem lines in one spot.

Make sure you only sew it through the one side of the pillowcase, and not both or that will seal up your pillow.

Put your pillow in the pillowcase and tie it up.  Once that’s done you’ve got yourself a cute pillowcase for your bed!  If I can do this, anyone can do it.  



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