Pillow Talk: How to Make Standard Pillowcases (in 15 Minutes) with Any Fabric

Learn how to make a pillowcase for your bed with any fabric! It’s actually very easy. Great beginner project.

Terrazzo print standard pillowcases resting on a white linen bed with natural light

Wanna make your now pillowcases for your bedroom or guest room? I did too! I love switching out pillowcases on my bed with different colors, patterns, and fabrics – depending on the season. And it turns out, it’s actually very easy to make your own pillowcases with ANY fabric you want. For example, these DIY pillowcases started as a shower curtain! Yes, a shower curtain.

You can use any fabric you love to make standard size pillowcases like these – linen, cotton, jersey, etc, etc. Sky is the limit. So you can switch them out whenever the mood strikes.

Side note…this project is a great beginner sewing DIY and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish – not bad right?! Click through for the sewing tutorial for standard pillowcases.

What size is a standard pillowcase?

A standard size pillowcase measures 20 inches by 26 inches (51 cm by 56 cm).

What are the dimensions for other pillowcase sizes?

A queen size pillowcase is 20×30 inches (51cm x 76cm). And a king size pillowcase is 20 x 36 inches (51 cm x 92 cm).

Can a beginning sewer really recreate these pillowcases?

YES! It’s a very quick project. If you’re a true beginner, it may take slightly longer to make this pillowcase… 30 minutes instead of 15 minutes. But still easy and very doable. In fact, pillowcases are a pretty common first or second sewing project for new sewers. So give it a try!

White bedroom with white bedding and a pop of pattern

Supplies to Make a Pillowcase

  • 1-2 yards of fabric (depending on if you’re making one pillowcase or two)
  • sewing machine
  • iron
  • straight pins
  • thread
  • scissors

How to Make a Pillowcase

Quick note: The measurements below are for a standard size pillowcase. If you want to make a queen or king size pillowcase instead, the measurement will vary slightly, but the adjustments will be minor. See below measurement suggestions in step one for different pillowcase sizes.

1. Cutting your fabric.

Start by cutting two identical size pieces of fabric, that are each 29.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. This will create a 20×26 inch pillowcase when finished.

*If you wanted a Queen size pillowcase instead, you would cut two pieces of fabric that are 33.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. And if you wanted a King size pillowcase, you would cut two pieces that are 39.5 inches long and 21 inches wide.

2. Fold fabric, iron, pin, and sew.

Create a seam for the outer edges of the pillowcase by folding over the fabric 3.5 inches (on the long end – where the opening will be). Then iron down the folded part and pin it, to keep it in place. Sew the bottom edge of that fabric to itself. This will create a faux cuff, kind of similar to the look of a french seam.

3. Repeat step 2 with the second piece of fabric.

4. Pin the pieces together and sew.

Then put the right sides of the two fabric pieces together, line up the cuffs that you create in steps 2 and 3. The cuffs side is the opening side of the pillow. 

Pin the remaining three sides together with straight pins (be sure to keep the cuffed in open) and sew a straight line around the edges of the aiming three sides of the pillowcase.

5. Flip the pillowcase right side out and it’s ready to use.

Instructional photos for making DIY pillowcases with scissors and a sewing machine

And that’s it! Now that you know how to make a standard pillowcase, I’m guessing you’ll be switching out your bedding as often as I do, right?! It’s fun!

Want more DIY pillow ideas?

  • Love the look of a long lumbar pillow? Me too! So I DIYed a super duper long one.
  • Love the look of mud cloth? Make this DIY mudcloth pillow – it’ s reversible!
  • When we made these geometric pillows, I loved them so much. Made of velvet and color blocked too!
  • And one of my favorites! This DIY circle pillow that will make any chair or sofa look instantly cooler.

Minimal, white bedroom with modern pattern pillowcases

Pattern pillowcases that are handmade, on white bedding with sunlight streaming through

Pattern pillowcases, using literally any fabric (including yardage from a fabric shower curtain)

Minimal white bedding and bold pattern pillowcases and simple nightstand

Multiple pillowcases on white bedding with terrazzo print fabric and grid pattern

How to Make a Standard Pillowcase

This DIY standard pillowcase project is a great beginner sewing DIY and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish - not bad right?! Click through for the tutorial.
Total Time15 mins
Keyword: diy, pillowcase, quick sewing project, sewing, standard pillowcase
Author: Brittni

Ingredients

  • 1-2 yards of fabric depending on if you're making one pillowcase or two
  • sewing machine
  • iron
  • straight pins
  • thread
  • scissors

Instructions

  • Quick note: The measurements below are for a standard size pillowcase. If you want to make a queen or king size pillowcase instead, the measurement will vary slightly, but the adjustments will be minor. See below measurement suggestions in step one for different pillowcase sizes.

Cut fabric down to size.

  • Start by cutting two identical size pieces of fabric, that are each 29.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. This will create a 20x26 inch pillowcase when finished.
    *If you wanted a Queen size pillowcase instead, you would cut two pieces of fabric that are 33.5 inches long and 21 inches wide. And if you wanted a King size pillowcase, you would cut two pieces that are 39.5 inches long and 21 inches wide.

Fold, iron, pin, and sew.

  • Create a seam for the outer edges of the pillowcase by folding over the fabric 3.5 inches (on the long end - where the opening will be). Then iron down the folded part and pin it, to keep it in place. Sew the bottom edge of that fabric to itself. This will create a faux cuff, kind of similar to the look of a french seam.

Repeat step 2 with the second piece of fabric.

  • Then put the right sides of the two fabric pieces together, line up the cuffs that you create in steps 2 and 3. The cuffs side is the opening side of the pillow. Pin the remaining three sides together with straight pins (be sure to keep the cuffed in open) and sew a straight line around the edges of the aiming three sides of the pillowcase.

Flip the pillowcase right side out and it's ready to use.

    Notes

    What size is a standard pillowcase?

    A standard size pillowcase measures 20 inches by 26 inches (51 cm by 56 cm). 

    What are the dimensions for other pillowcase sizes?

    A queen size pillowcase is 20x30 inches (51cm x 76cm). And a king size pillowcase is 20 x 36 inches (51 cm x 92 cm).
    Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

    And regarding the other pillows in the final shots, in case you want a source… those are a buy, not DIY. The grid print is really old. And the white quilted shams are from Parachute (available in 5 colors). Let me know if you have any other questions about bedroom stuff.

    What do you think of this DIY pillowcase project? Think it’d be easy enough to tackle at home?

    26 comments | Click here to reply

    I’m super new at sewing, just bought my first sewing machine a few months ago at the age of 60. Wanted to make masks for the family and am getting so stressed out. Someone had posted on the site how sewing is a form of therapy and I responded that I couldn’t wait for that day. A sweet lady named Debby suggested doing a pillowcase and gave me your site. I think I can do this. Thank you for tutorial and the idea of buying a shower curtain. Trying to watch and read all I can in spare time. Slow road to paradise!!
    Thank you so much,
    Ruth

    Ruth Angotti

    Nice idea. Well done. But . . . .It would be a little easier to fold the fabric and cut the two pieces for each case as one, thereby eliminating one of the side seam. Just a suggetion.

    Pennywise

    Clever way to add a nice detail! I have a couple of tips that would make it even simpler: In step #1 (if fabric permits), you could cut ONE piece 33.5″ by 41″. Then you only have two seams to make after you make the hem. Also. in step #2, it would be clearer if you said “Create a HEM…. and PRESS”. You could also add that you fold AGAIN. I taught middle school and high school sewing for 30 years and found that I had to spell out directions in order to simplify projects for my students!

    Donna

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    Awesome!! There will now be new pillow cases in every bedroom of our house coming soon. Thanks so much for the tutorial!! Hope you are having a great day!

    Jenna
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