Sew Your Own Toddler Pillowcase

IMG_1019_FotorMy little guy is actually old enough for a pillow now. That felt so fast! He is not the biggest fan of going to bed, to put it mildly, but he IS a huge fan of trains. After searching the internet I found only 1 toddler sized pillow case with trains on it, and it was a drab brown color with very little fun or pizzaz.

So, I decided to run out to the fabric store and make my own for him. It was a huge success, and now he is excited to fall asleep dreaming about Thomas the Train. My husband was rather impressed too, which brought a huge smile to my face of course. He doesn’t know how quick and easy it was. But after reading this tutorial, you will know how to do this! It honestly took about 20 minutes, with my 5 month old on my hip most of the time and while taking pictures for this post.

If you don’t want to make one for fear of the rotary cutter and sewing machine, I’ll be making some and putting them up for sale. Let me know in the comments if you have a special color, fabric, or character request, and I will do what I can to help your little one run off to be excited to sleep. Happy sewing!

Step 1: Get your toddler, or otherwise uniquely sized pillow!


Step 2: Measure said pillow around the middle and down one side, like below.

The girth of the pillow is 25 1/2 inches, and the length is 21 inches. I like to add 2 inches to the girth of my pillowcases to give them wiggle room with the seam allowance, so I will be cutting the fabrics 27 1/2 inches wide.

Step 3: Choose 3 coordinating fabrics. This is super fun! The largest piece will be for the body, the cuff will be slightly smaller, and the flange will only need to be 2 and 1/2 inches wide.

If you are at the fabric store and you’re not sure the size of your pillow yet, but it is smaller than a regular pillow,you can safely get a 3/4 yard cut of the body fabric, 1/4 yard cut for the cuff, and 1/8 yard for the flange. If you want to create a standard pillowcase, these are the cuts of fabric you would use.


Step 4: Iron the fabrics and cut the correct size.

Iron your flange in half and cut it 1 1/4 inches from the fold by your width. For this example, 1 1/4 inches folded by 27 1/2 inches.

For the body of the pillowcase, cut the fabric the same width as the flange, and the length of the pillow, so for this example 27 1/2 inches wide, by 21 inches.







Cut the cuff fabric 1/4 yard wide and the same length as the flange and the body, 27 1/2 inches.




Step 5: Layer and roll the fabrics.

Lay down the cuff fabric lengthwise, right-side up, followed by the body fabric right-side up matching the 27 1/2 inch edge, and lastly the flange with the raw edges matching on the top, as shown below.


Now roll the body fabric up, and the cuff fabric will fold on top of it, matching the raw edges to the others.


Pin the edges together every few inches until you have sort of burrito like below. Be careful not to get the rolled but body fabric mixed in with all the raw edges, you want to keep the rolled fabric away from this seam.


Step 6: Sew a generous 1/4 inch seam down the top of the roll. Again, be careful not to get the rolled part of the body fabric sewn into this seam.


Step 8: Turn the roll inside out. This part is pretty awesome!











And VOILA! it look should look like this! Pretty neat, huh? Now give that cuff a little ironing.



Step 9: Sew around the edges and iron. Here I will show you two options, the quick one and the more finished one.

If you prefer the quick way, simply fold the right-sides together like the image below, and sew around the edges and flip and iron, done!

If you want to sew it super fast, you can simply fold the right sides together, as pictured above, and sew around the body once and flip it, or…
If you want a more finished pillowcase, follow these instructions for a french seam.

If you want a pillowcase where all the raw edges of the fabric are tucked neatly away, french seams are the way to go. In this case, we fold the pillowcase wrong-sides together, so the right-sides of the fabric are out and showing, like above.

skinny 1/4 inch seams

I don’t bother pinning at this point, just be careful to line up the seam for the cuff and flange before sewing. I use a scant 1/4 inch seam here.

Simply sew down the side of the pillowcase, 1/4 inch from the raw sides of the fabric, and then when you reach approximately 1/4 from the bottom of the pillowcase, lower the needle into the fabric, lift the presser foot, and rotate the fabric 90 degrees to create a right angle. Lower the presser foot and continue 1/4 inch from the edge on the bottom.







Once you have completed sewing around the body with the right sides out, flip it inside-out and iron the pillowcase flat.

Repeat this process on the inside of the pillowcase with a more generous seam allowance, closer to 3/8 inches to avoid the raw edges from peeking through.

Once you have sewn around the pillowcase on the inside as well, it should look like the image below.

IMG_1016Next, flip it right side out, iron, and marvel at your beautiful pillowcase! Stick that pillow in with a sense of satisfaction, pride, and excitement to share your finished product.IMG_1018



Step 10: Give pillowcase to a happy little and watch him or her run off to bed . As you might be able to tell, he was so excited I could’t get him to sit still 🙂
so excited to sleep tonight

This was a total hit in our home tonight, I hope you find a way to use this to make someone in your life smile. Sweet dreams!


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