How to Sew a Pillowcase with a Flap (No Pattern Needed)

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Sewing a pillowcase is a great project to start with. You don’t need any sewing experience and only a few tools to start your sewing journey. And you can choose your own fabric for your custom pillowcase.

As a whole, sewing a pillowcase is a great project to start with. Only a few things are needed and it is easy enough for beginners to follow along and create a custom pillowcase.

In the following, you will find a detailed step-by-step tutorial with many pictures and learn how to sew a pillowcase with a flap without a sewing pattern. 

How do you make a pillowcase step by step for beginners?

Sewing a pillowcase is a great project for beginners. The step-by-step guide comes with lots of pictures that make it easy to follow. 

These are the things you will need to sew a pillowcase:

  • The pillow you want to cover
  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Some kind of fabric marker
  • Ruler
  • Some pins or clip

You don’t necessarily need a sewing machine even though it will make things a lot easier and quicker. 

How much fabric do I need for one pillowcase?

The amount of fabric you need is obviously highly dependent on the size of the pillow you want to cover.

For a pillowcase with a flap, you will need around 2.5 times the length of the pillow you want to cover and need to add a seam allowance of 5/8” (= 1,6cm) on all edges.

If your pillow is 18 x 18 inches (= 45,7 x 45,7 cm) you will need a piece of fabric that is 18 inches + 2 x 5/8” inches in width. That adds up to 19,25 inches in width.

For the length, you need to multiply the length of the pillow times 2.5 and again add the seam allowance of 5/8” on all sides. A pillow with a length of 18 inches will lead to a needed fabric length of 46,25 inches (= 117,48cm). 

In conclusion for a pillow with the measurements of 18 x 18 inches, you will need a piece of fabric that is 19,25 x 46,25 inches.

If your chosen piece of fabric is not long enough, you can also work with several fabric pieces and sew them together to end up with the same length.

Keep in mind that you will always need seam allowance on all edges to avoid a pillowcase that is too small. 

What stitch is the best for a pillowcase?

The zig-zag stitch is a good stitch for pillowcases. It is used for a neat finishing of fabric edges and you can avoid fraying of the fabric. A zig-zag stitch can also be used on stretchy fabric as it allows the fabric to stretch and move without ripping the seam apart.

In addition to the zig-zag stitch, you will need the backstitch on the beginning and end of every seam you make. The backstitch is important to anchor the seam by sewing back and forth with a couple of stitches.

Step-by-step tutorial

Step 1

Choose a pillow you want to sew a cover for and measure it out.

Step 2

Gather all the things you need to sew a pillowcase. 

Cut out a piece of fabric with the measurements according to the picture:

Width of the pillow + 2 x seam allowance (left and right) x 2.5 times the length of the pillow + 2 x seam allowance (top and bottom)

Step 3

Iron the fabric if it is wrinkly before proceeding with the sewing.

Step 4

Fold the seam allowance according to the picture and iron along the edges. After ironing the fabric down, you can easily pin or clip the seam allowance as preparation for sewing it down.

Sew along the seam allowance. Keep in mind that every seam needs to be anchored with a backstitch at the beginning and end of every seam.

Step 5

Now fold the fabric like this if you want the flap of the pillowcase to be in the middle of the pillow:

The right (pretty) side of the fabric is on the inside.

Step 6

Now sew the fabric together along the seam allowance according to the dots on the picture below. Every seam you make needs to be anchored with some backstitches at the beginning and end of every seam. 

Step 7

It’s time to turn the pillow cover around through the flap opening to see the final result.

Now insert the pillow and you are done with your own pillowcase! Congratulations!! 

Lisa is a freelancer from Germany who loves to create new things. She enjoys painting and drawing, as well as sewing. In the past few years, she has learned how to upcycle and build furniture, create colorful objects with mosaics, work with clay and glass, and even make her own shoes.

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