How to make a bed pillow case

Updated July 20, 2017

Pillow cases for the bed can be both functional and decorative and making your own can keep that balance just right. Most Americans use rectangular pillows in standard, queen or king sizes, but the square euro pillow is also used in bedding. Coordinating pillow cases for the different shapes and sizes of pillows can be less of a challenge if you make your own.

Measure your pillows. Typical measurements for pillows are 20 by 26 inches for standard, 20 by 30 inches for queen, and 20 by 36 inches for king. The finished pillowcase is usually 1 inch wider and 6 inches longer than the pillow. For example, the size of a finished Standard pillowcase would be 21 by 32 inches, so buy enough fabric to accommodate the extra needed.

Wash the fabric to allow for shrinkage before cutting.

Drape the fabric over your pillow so that the inside is facing out.

Pin each side together. Allow a ½ inch allowance between the edge of the pillow and the pins on each side.

Remove the fabric from the pillow and use the sewing machine to sew the edges together (remove the pins as you sew).

Turn your pillow case so that the outside of the fabric is facing out and inspect the seams. If satisfied, turn the pillow case inside out again and iron the side seams so that the edges lay flat.

Fold a 1/4-inch hem at the open bottom of the pillowcase. Iron the hem so that it stays in place. This ensures that the raw edge of the hem is covered after the next step.

Fold another hem – 1 to 4 inches deep. Iron it in place and then use the sewing machine, or needle and thread, to finish the hem. Turn your pillow case right side out.


You can decorate plain pillow cases by stitching a border of lace, ribbon or contrasting fabric to the bottom of the finished hem. If your sewing machine has decorative stitching, you can add contrasting stitching details to your pillow case. As a starting point, estimate that you'll need at least 2 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric for two standard pillow cases, 2 1/4 yards for two queen pillow cases and 2 1/2 yards for 2 king pillow cases.


Buy more fabric than you think you’ll need; otherwise, you may not have enough fabric to complete this project in one sitting.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Quilting pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron
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