Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quick Pillowcases

IMG_4773 Finished making the three pillowcases I cut out this weekend.  The guild I belong to is making the pillowcases to be donated to our local hospital.  They will also be counted in the American Patchwork and Quilting 1,000,000 Pillowcase Challenge.  The hospital gives pillowcases to children that are hospitalized and this is a small hospital so this is a doable project for our guild.
IMG_4699I chose to not put an accent strip on my pillowcases so just had two pieces of fabric and cut the body 27” and the cuff at 9”.  Next time I think I will cut the cuff a couple of inches wider.  The cuff is OK the way I made it but maybe a little narrow.  Next time I think I will cut the body at 26” and cuff at 11”.  This cuff measurement might not seem right to cut it 11” and to cut the body at 26 but remember that the cuff is folded in half.  If I increase the width cut of the cuff 2” to get one more inch of finished cuff I need to reduce the body by 1”or the pillowcase might be too long.  You don’t have to come up with your own patterns as there are many patterns out there on the web for pillowcases but I think anything goes so long as it fits a pillow and would be comfortable to lay on.  Lots of patterns can be found on the American Patchwork and Quilting 1,000,000 Pillowcase Challenge web page so check it out.

I constructed my pillowcases using the sausage method – here is a You-Tube video that shows the process.  Love that the finished pillowcase has no raw edges as they are all enclosed.  Pull up the video or follow the photos to make this easy pillowcase.  This first seam is 1/4”.
The most amazing thing about making a pillowcase this way is pulling the body out of the cuff after this first seam is stitched.  I press the seam toward the cuff making sure I don’t have any pleats on either side then top stitch close to the edge of the cuff.  Since I am not using the accent strip the cuff tends to roll back and the top stitching will keep it flat after laundering. 
At this point I trim the selvage edges off the pillowcase, square up the raw edges on the end and pin it right sides out, yes that is correct RIGHT SIDES OUT.  The side and bottom seams are stitched as a French seam and to do a seam this method you need to first stitch 1/4” seam with the right sides to the outside.  Match the cuff edges and seams and be sure to back stitch at both ends.  Your seam will be an L shape as you will turn the corner at the bottom and stitch along that edge too.  Clip excess fabric from the corner to reduce the bulk then turn it inside out.  Using a point turner push out the corners.
Press the pillowcase flat making sure the seams are pushed out all the way.  Stitch a 3/8” seam encasing the previous seam, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.  You have more bulk where the cuff meets the body of the pillowcase and sometimes the machine foot doesn’t want to climb over it or takes a giant stitch after the bulk.  To help with this problem I use a plastic tool that came with my Bernina machine and put on section of it partially under the back edge of the foot to help support it when I am starting to stitch over the bulky seam and under the front edge as I am leaving the bulky area.  If you don’t have something similar that came with your machine you can find something else to do the same job, maybe a piece of cardboard or plastic – anything to raise the foot to the same height as the highest part to keep your stitching even and the stitching moving along.
Here are the three pillowcases folded and all ready to be taken to the October guild meeting.  They took so little time and fabric and will hopefully put a smile on a child’s face.IMG_4769
I want to share a story about buying the fabric for the pillowcases.  I was shopping for inexpensive fabric at the Joann’s store for these cases and lots of other sewers were shopping that same day. (Remember I told you they are having a liquidation sale at the store near me.)  Another woman with two small children was also going round and round the isles of fabric like I was and her cart had lots of bolts that she wanted yardage from.  We got to talking and I told her what I was looking for and what our guild was going to do with the pillowcases.  She told me “thank you” and that she had a handicapped child that had been on the receiving end of a pillowcase once and that it meant so much to the child and to the rest of the family to think a perfect stranger had done something like that.  I am sure it was not the hospital we give to but another facility somewhere but it is nice to know they really do make a difference in people’s lives. 

My challenge to you if you have not done any before is to make a couple of pillowcases and find a worthy cause to donate them to.  It will make you feel like in a small way you have helped to make someone’s life a little cheerier, their day a little brighter or pain a little less.   Make sure you register the number of pillowcases you donated to your cause on the American Patchwork and Quilting 1,000,000 web page to help them reach their goal.  You don’t send the cases to them although they do have a list of charities on the website if you don’t have one in mind already.  They just want the number I finish typing this there have been 306,265 pillowcases made for charity.

One last note – I want to have 4 more cut out and waiting for my 4 grandchildren to stitch.  They are ages 5 to 11 years old so the older ones can probably sew them without much help and I can help the younger one but he loves to sew and always wants to use the machine when he is here.  None of them live close so I will have to wait for them to visit then we will get them made.   I want them to feel good about making something for a sick child and giving it away with no strings attached.  This will be fun for them and fun for me to help them.

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Until Later,


Rose said...

That is so cool that you all are doing that! I know the hospital appreciates that and I bet it also fun knowing you're doing something like this to help people. Really neat and I love your pillowcases to! I've made pillowcases myself and in fact made a couple a few days ago for a little pillow I have that didn't have any pillowcases for it.
I posted about it a few days ago on my blog. I used a cotton battenburg curtain that I found at the thrift store to make mine with. I do need to starch it though since I finished it because when I bought it the thing was nice and crisp with no wrinkles.
It would really be neat if you could get a pic of all the pillowcases that were made. I bet that would be a pretty pic with all the colors. Nice job!

Leanne said...

I love this idea! That you for inspiring me!
I live in Australia and we have Wrapped With Love (which are quilts and other large blankets that you can make and donate to hospitals) however I have been daunted by the task of making something larger like that. You have inspired me to search out another option with something smaller that could be made more quickly to donate. Thank you!


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