Thursday, September 5, 2013

let them learn - pillowcase tutorial

When I first mentioned the Let Them Learn series aimed towards kids, tweens and teens I honestly intended to post fairly frequent tutorials with easy beginner projects, but I have a feeling that once every 2-3 months doesn't count as frequent :)  So, better late then never, here's the first tutorial of the Let Them Learn series.

There are lots of pillowcase tutorials floating around that virtual world (sounds like a video game!) called blogland.  So what makes this one different?  To be honest, nothing :)  I suppose it's more basic than many and geared towards a very novice sewer, so at face value, it's just another pillowcase tutorial. But for me, it represents a teaching moment for my kids and an opportunity to get them interested in my favorite hobby.  It's also a great project for a beginner who needs a quick, fairly easy and usable end result.  So I suppose many adults with short attention spans (i.e. me at any given moment) might benefit from this tutorial as well :)

Ruthie needed to complete community service hours this year as part of a few activities she belongs to, so she (along with two of her best friends!) used this tutorial to sew several pillowcases to donate to the pediatric floor at one of our local hospitals.  I am so proud of all of the girls for taking time out of their summer to do a little something to brighten up a kid's day when he or she most needs it :) Here's the result of their hard work:

All you need to complete your own pillowcase is some fabric (1 - 1.5 yards depending on the direction of the print) and a sewing machine.  A serger is not required although it can be used to finish the inside seams.

1.  Cut a 34" x 42" rectangle.  If your print is directional, make sure the print runs parallel to the longer side. 

2. Fold down 1/2" along the long edge and press well.

3. Fold down additional 4" along the same edge and press well.

4. Unfold the edge you just ironed.  Fold the pillowcase in half right sides together (inside out) with the creased edge toward the left side and the other 42" edge on the right.  The two 34" edges should be up at the top. Refer to the picture below if you are not sure what it should look like.  Make sure the edges are lined up and pin along the top and right side (not the creased edge)

5.  Begin sewing along the top edge.  When you get 1/2" from the corner, stop with the sewing needle down in the fabric, raise the pressure foot and pivot the pillowcase 90 degrees.  Then lower the pressure foot and continue sewing to the end - make sure to backstitch for a couple of stitches at the end.

6. Clip the corner that you just sewed being sure not to cut the stitches.

7. Finish/serge the seams that you just sewed.  Or just cut with pinking shears so the edges don't fray.  The rest of the tutorial shows a pillowcase with serged seams.

8. Fold the creased end back down and press one more time.

9. Pin along the presses edge to make sure there are no ripples in the fabric.  You will be pinning through three layers - the 1/2" that is folded under, the 4" cuff and the front of the pillowcase.

10. Sew 1/8" away from folded edge backstitching at the beginning and end of your row of stitches

11. Turn pillowcase right side out, stuff a pillow in it and you are finished!

I could only find one extra pillow in the house to put in my pillowcase, and I think it's the lumpiest pillow I have ever seen.  No wonder nobody is using it!

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