Sunday, October 22, 2017

Basic Pillowcase Tutorial

This post tells how to make a pillowcase using a serger and a sewing machine.

This pillowcase will fit a standard size bed pillow. 20" x 26". It uses quilting cotton that is at least 42" wide, and at least 36" long for each pillow.

Because cotton quilting fabric is used for this project, I use Universal size 70/10 needles with this fabric.

I recommend machine washing and drying three times before starting this project. Because of laundry shrinkage, which will happen with cotton, I recommend having or buying more than one yard for each pillowcase.

I lay out the fabric right sides together, folded down the middle, with selvages aligned (at left in this picture). I place the fold to the right, parallel to the long edge of the cutting mat, with one cut end extended just beyond the zero line at the short edge of the cutting mat.

This is a close-up of the scene from another angle, where the fold is at the lower right.  The cut edge is shown with zigzag stitching which prevented fraying during the prewash.  It was not very straight.

I set the ruler along the zero edge, and cut off the ragged end.

Now you see the cut edge has been straightened by cutting:

I find the 36-inch mark at the opposite side of the mat and lay down something at that point.  In this picture, it's a wooden yardstick.  I place the cutting ruler across the table at the 36-inch mark:

Here, it's ready to be cut:

Here is the fabric after being cut at the 36-inch mark.  All pillowcase pieces are cut to 36 inches:

I serge finish one cut end, and return the fabric piece to the cutting table, folded down the middle as before, but with the selvages nearest me. I place a pin three inches from the serged end on the selvage edge:

I place another pin three inches from the serged edge along the fold:

Since these pins mark the hem depth, I fold the hem over at the pins:

Here's a view of the folded hem at the long fold:

Now switching to the striped fabric, since I forgot to take all the pictures with one fabric...

I pin the hem down at the selvedges and at the fold:

I pin along the hem and the selvages:

I lay the hem end along the ironing board, and press it well with steam:

I lay a metal ruler over the pressed hem fold to help it cool off and strengthen the fold:

I lay it back on the cutting table and pin across the cut end:

Now it's ready for the next step:

I use a straight stitch with length = 3.5 for this project:

I start at the hem with backstitching, then I stitch parallel to the selvage so that the stitching is not within the unprinted selvage.

I remove the pins along the seam as I go.

I aim for a 1/2" seam, or less, if the unprinted selvage is narrower:

At about 1.5 to 2 inches from the cut end, I pivot away from the selvage slightly, and stitch right off the cut edge:

I lift the presser foot, pull out a short length of thread, turn the fabric about a quarter turn, and stitch across the cut edge, starting with a taper from wide to narrow seam allowance:

At about 1.5 to 2 inches from the fold, I taper away from the cut end slightly, then backstitch at the fold and stitch off the fabric:

Here is an example of the backstitching at the fold:

I serge the cut end of the fabric or overcast with zigzag stitches.  The corner tapering can be seen here:

Here's the other end of the serging, with original backstitching showing:

I use a double-eyed needle or a tapestry needle to tuck in the serger tails:

Near the fold, I insert the needle along the serged seam, away from the fold:

I push the needle between the fabric layers, and out at the fold:

I thread the serger tails through the eye of the needle after inserting the needle:

Then I pull the serger tails back through the fabric:

Then I simply trim the serger tails:

I pull on the fold to conceal the cut end of the serger tail:

When no fold is involved, it is usually easier to push the needle between the fabric layers at the start of the serging:

I thread the serger tail through the eye after the needle has been pushed through and then out from the seam allowance:

I pull the tail through the layers and then out before trimming the end:

I steam press the seam at the long edge:

I also steam press the seam at the short end:

OK, back to the swirly fabric...

After the seams have been stitched and pressed, I remove the pins from the hem area for the next step.

I open out the hem end and turn down the hem all around.  I start by pinning the hem where the fold line changes direction.  On the half where the fold line is reversed, I carefully fold in the correct direction while pinning in place:

At the left, you see that the long seam allowance wants to go to one side:

I steam press the hem in place, then press down the seam allowance in the direction it wants to go:

I set up my machine for hem topstitching - slightly long, straight stitch:

Starting just before the side seam, I stitch around the hem, between the two rows of straight serger stitching.  I tuck in the serger tails so they will be secured inside the hem:

Yet another fabric...

I turn the pillowcase right side out, and push out the corners.  I lay the pillowcase out with the long seam down the length of the ironing board.  I steam press the long seam, folding it exactly on the seam line as I press:

I turn the pillowcase so the long seam is at the right, with hem edges matching across the front of the ironing board, facing me. I iron across the pillowcase, from the seam to the fold, front to back; this will take several passes, as shown by the blue lines.  I pick up the pillowcase, bring it towards me, and repeat until I approach the short seam:

I turn the pillowcase so most of it hangs over the edge of the iron towards me, with the short seam along the length of the iron:

On the short seam, I push and pull the fabric to fold exactly on the seam line, and press it in place across the length of the seam:

This short seam has been steam pressed:

Now it's done!

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