Toddler pillowcases

My mom and stepdad got a perfect little pillow for Dean for Christmas, and at the time, I told them I would definitely make him a pillowcase because I knew it would be easy. I bought a little zippered pillowcase to fit over it as a placeholder, but man, I was certain I could whip out a cute, unique pillowcase in no time at all. And then we moved. So four months later, as I was unpacking all my fabric and crafty stuff, I thought of that pillowcase idea again.

In the meantime, Kent has acquired an identical pillow to take to school for rest time, so I wanted to make him a pillowcase, too. I unpacked my stash of little boy fabrics a few days ago, and I let them pick which fabrics they wanted. Kent immediately grabbed this train fabric, and Dean, though I'm sure he would have loved the train fabric just as much, was satisfied with the Very Hungry Caterpillar after I really talked it up to him. I whipped out Kent's pillowcase last night after he fell asleep, so it was downstairs waiting for him as a surprise this morning, all ready for school.

Dean was noticeably sad that the train pillow was walking out the door this morning, so I asked him if he wanted to come upstairs and help me (read: not break anything) while I made his caterpillar pillowcase. He obliged, and he even sat on my lap for part of it and watched the machine in wonder like his big brother used to do. His pillowcase came together in even less time than Kent's had, maybe 20 minutes. What a fun little project!

Now, the procedure:

When I was cutting the fabric, I folded it in half along what would become the short edge of the pillowcase, since that's the way the fabric runs, and then I cut a rectangle. The pillow itself measured about 11.5" x 15", so I added an inch to each measurement, plus an extra 3 inches for the wide hem that pillowcases have; this meant I cut a 12.5" x 19" rectangle, with the fold along one of the 12.5" sides, that opened up to a 12.5" x 38" rectangle after I unfolded it. To make the wide hem on both short edges, I folded and pressed in 1/4" for a neat edge, then folded those edges over again another 2.5" and pressed a second time. Then, on the right side of the fabric, I pinned some ribbon along the line where I would sew the hem. I had some red 3/8" grosgrain ribbon that I knew would work, and I am so the kind of person who will use what I have lying around if I can, rather than pausing to make a trip to the fabric store for something that might be slightly more awesome but that would mean delayed gratification.

With the ribbon and fabric pinned together at both ends, I sewed down one side of the ribbon, then back up the other side, backtacking as appropriate and tying knots at the ends of the thread. I did the same on the other end of the pillowcase with the other ribbon/hem. Then all that was left was to put the right sides of the fabric together, line everything up, and then sew the side seams. I ended up sewing twice in close parallel lines down the sides for extra reinforcement, but this would be a great time to use a serger if you have one, or even just pinking shears to prevent the fabric from fraying. After those seams were done, I flipped it right-side out, pressed the seams to one side, and then it was done!

Dean watched as I put the new pillowcase on his pillow and exclaimed, "Whoooooaaaaaaahhhhhh!" He was excited and a little surprised to have something besides the basic white pillowcase he was used to. He immediately tackled it and started stuffing it under himself, which is the way we know he loves something. His stuffed animals and blankets get the same treatment. Now, he's sleeping away peacefully on his caterpillars, dreaming dreams of munching one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie... you get the idea.

I'm considering doing a few of these for my Etsy shop, but I need to figure out how many different sizes of this kind of pillow there are, because I'm sure there's some variety and I wouldn't want someone to order a pillowcase that wouldn't actually fit their pillow.


Patti says hi.

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Very cute!

(You might want to show the other side of Kent's balcony sign, too!)
What a sweet mommy!
Nice! Next time you can do french seams if you want to be super neat and they will hold up to all that washing!
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