How To Make A Pillowcase - The Easiest Pillow Ever

Learn how to make a pillowcase the easy way. That's like 15 minutes of a sewing beginner's time, one single piece of fabric, no zipper, no buttons, nothing except 4 straight seams. Change up your pillows and you've got an easy living room makeover. Maybe toss in a few of my round storage bins in matching colors (more here), and your home is perfect. Check out how to sew the easiest diy pillowcase ever!
how to make a pillowcase

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Back to the pillowcases - these just might be the easiest thing I've sewn in years! It's a super-easy sewing project that will probably not even require 15 minutes to complete. Now, let's be clear what I mean by super-easy: it's folding a single piece of fabric and sewing 4 straight lines. That's it. Now, if you've never before sewn a thing, this is your chance to try out the simplest straight stitch. Really!

how to make a pillowcase

These pillowcases are super easy to use, and I always have a few spare ones at hand. At the time I had a preschooler and a crawling baby in the house, these pillow covers came incredibly handy.

Also called envelope pillowcases, they are changed in a whim. No buttons, no zippers.  You just grab the pillow, pull the cover, toss it into the washer. Repeat a day or an hour later when there's blueberries all over it because the baby somehow got hands on a snack bowl full of fruit and dragged it around. At least I know now why she'd been so quiet for those 5 minutes. :)

Bottom line: simple to sew, simple to use

how to make a pillowcase


  • 1/2 yard of fabric in your favorite prints
  • a pillow form (mine is 16" by 16")
  • sewing machine or needle, pins or Wonder clips
  • iron, scissors, or rotary cutter plus cutting mat (I use this one by Olfa)
how to sew a pillowcase
The cutting will go super quick if you use a rotary cutter. I used this Pink Splash Olfa (link) with my project.

How To Make A Pillowcase

Let's see how to sew one. First, for those of you who like video, I've made a slide-show to get the feeling of how easy it is:

Oh, one thing more before we start: the overlap will be approximately 5". You can opt for a smaller overlap if you're short on fabric, but I like 5" because it will stabilize the pillow form so nicely. Now, let's start:

how to sew a pillowcase

1) Measure and cut the fabric. First, just to be sure about the measurements, measure your pillow form. Mine was 16" by 16". But I've got you covered for other dimensions, too: scroll down for measurements if you have a different size of the pillow form.

For a 16" by 16" pillow, cut a piece 17" by 39".
  • horizontal: 16" x2 (front and back side of pillow) plus 2" (hems) plus 5" (overlap)
  • vertical: 16" plus 1" (hem)
how to sew a pillowcase

4) Hem the two short edges. Turn under each of the two short edges of the fabric by the finished hem amount, that is 1" (2.5cm) and press. Then open the pressed seam allowance and tuck the raw edge underneath into that fold. Like this:
how to cover a pillow insert
It's a lovely hack that makes it easier than going the standard way.

how to cover a pillow insert
5) Press and topstitch using a 3/8" (1 cm) seam allowance to catch the fold underneath. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam to reinforce it.

how to cover a pillow insert
6) Once hemmed, lay the piece right side up. Grab the left (hemmed) edge and fold 11" towards the center. Then grab the right (hemmed) edge and fold it 11" towards the center, too.
diy envelope pillow

This means you'll leave exactly the 16" in the middle not folded.

diy envelope pillow
4) Stitch along the top and along the bottom edges, using a 1/2" seam allowance. I usually finish the raw edge using a zigzag or a serger hem for a nice finish, but nobody will notice if you don't.

diy pillowcase
6)Turn right side out and press. Finished. Insert the pillow form and toss on your sofa. Enjoy the super easy new look!

More pillowcase sizes:

Want a different size of a pillowcase? I've got you covered. This is the simple formula to use when deciding on the size of the fabric required for your pillowcase:
  • horizontal: PILLOW FORM DIMENSION x2 (front and back side of pillow) plus 2" (double hem) plus 5" (overlap)
  • vertical: PILLOW FORM DIMENSION plus 1" (hem)

for a standard 18" by 18" pillow, cut: 19" x  43"
for a standard 19" by 19" pillow, cut: 20" x  45"
for a standard 20" by 20" pillow, cut: 21" x  47"

Easy and quick!  While there are many ways to sew a pillowcase, this one I think is the fastest of all. I'm planning to show you another quick way to make them, especially the longer and larger ones, but this will just have to wait for some other time. Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter (here) so you don't miss it. 

Save this project for later when you have a few spare minutes for sewing:
how to make a pillowcase



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  1. Wonderful, thank you for this wonderful instruction!

  2. Nice easy project that could be made to any size :)

    1. Lesley hi,
      absolutely agree! Thanks for dropping by,

  3. How simple and
    a great deco idea.
    Carla from Utah

  4. Great idea for teaching my grandchildren to sew! Fast and fun, thank you so much

    1. So happy to hear that,
      thanks. I'd love to see what you and your grandkids make!

  5. Great and easy to follow instructions! I'm always sort of stumbling around, knowing what I want, but unsure how to achieve it.

    I will add one kind of weird thing. I used to live at the beach which was connected to an estuary in a house that we later found out had every color mold under the sun. My allergies were such that I always had at least one tissue if not multiples and my significant other and I both got tired of waking up and playing search the sheets for the tissues. So I added a pocket of sorts to each side in the same fabric and got in the habit of stashing them there. Problem solved! I've moved and don't have the runny nose at all, but I still use the pockets for things like cell phones & gadgets or whatever I'd like handy before, during, and right after sleep. Can we say the Alexa Remote? (or whatever system you use.)

  6. valeriasynek@gmail.com08 May, 2019 23:29

    apparantly I am not clicking at the corect place to receive the sleep maks template !

    1. Valeria hi,
      the pattern is in my shop here:

      Use your subscriber exclusive 100% off coupon code to get it for free - it's at the bottom of my today's newsletter. Happy sewing :)