Travel Pillow Case

One thing that I do not like about traveling is hotel pillows.  For some reason most hotels have gone to all down pillows, which to me are very uncomfortable.  They go flat in a hurry, and I need the support for my neck to last all night.  So, I started asking for acrylic or polyester pillows when I check in, but even this is a problem as many hotels no longer even have those for the asking.  A couple of years ago, I began taking my own pillow with me on driving trips after I was forced to go to a discount store and buy a pillow while out of town just so I could sleep.  Checking the room as we were checking out, I completely overlooked it as it had a white pillowcase just like all the others in the room and didn’t stand out at all.  So I left a brand new pillow behind.  I decided to fix that last year with a pillowcase that couldn’t be overlooked.  I really liked this rose print, and it was the perfect size for the case.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

I used the roll-up method, simple and no exposed unfinished seams and no hand work.  I’m sure most of you have seen these on the internet for years.  But for anyone who hasn’t seen this, here are the instructions.  Begin by cutting these pieces-

  • 27″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge of the main fabric – the rose print here
  • 9″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge of coordinating fabric for the cuff – dark green
  • 2″ x width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge strip of solid fabric for accent strip – gold print

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Press the accent strip in half lengthwise to make a 1″ folded strip with the raw edges together.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Lay your fabrics in this order.  The cuff print on the bottom, flat and face up with the selvedges on the sides and the raw edge at the top.  Then place the main focus fabric also face up matching one of the WOF raw edges.  Roll up the other end so it is small enough to work around. Place the trim on top, raw edges meeting.  All selvedge edges will be on the sides, and may not be exactly the same width.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Now bring the bottom edge of the cuff print up to the top, over the roll of focus fabric, meeting the raw edges.  You now have 5 edges meeting at the top.  The other raw edge of the focus fabric is rolled up inside it.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Pin in place.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Sew a single line of stitching through all five layers.  You can use a serger if you wish, and I did just to keep it in good working order.  It isn’t necessary, as all the raw edges will eventually be covered.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Pull the focus fabric out one end to turn the whole assembly right side out.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

If you have selvedge edges left on as I did, trim them off at this time.  Note the cuff seam is now finished on both sides.  This is the inside of the pillowcase.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

The accent is a flange on the right side (outside).

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Now, sew a French seam to finish the case.  Place fabric WRONG sides together, folding the case to meet the sides of the cuff and main focus fabrics, and pin to hold the flange straight.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Sew or serge a 1/4-inch seam.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Turn the case inside out to meet right sides together.  Sew the same seam again this time at 1/2-inch, enclosing the raw edges of the previous seam.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

Do the same French Seam across the bottom and you are done.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

That’s it, so simple.  Now, I cannot help but see my pillow on any hotel bed.  I haven’t left it behind since I made this pillowcase.

Travel Pillow Case at From My Carolina Home

These quick pillowcases make wonderful quilt covers too, and can be made any size you like.  For Queen or King size, just cut the focus fabric longer than the 27-inches of a standard pillow (whatever your pillow needs), the width of the fabric is still the same, and the other pieces would also be the same.  Have you done these before, or is this a new idea for you?

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30 thoughts on “Travel Pillow Case

  1. I used your method when making Mom a pillowcase. Took me 15 minutes and bam! Done! I have left two pillows in hotels, exactly for the reason you stated – the white pillowcases just blend with the bedding. I’m going to pick out fabric today to make one of these as I have a trip coming up and I definitely don’t want to lose my current pillow. It’s my favorite pillow to sleep with!

  2. This is a great idea! I love the pillow case you made! I haven’t mastered the french seam yet but this gives me a reason to practice. Thanks so much!

  3. Shirley

    I also take my own pillow when traveling (and have left one of my favorite pillows behind too). I have started making my own pillowcases (using your method} as the ones that come with the bedding sets are too small. I also make sports and character pillowcases for my grandkids. I let my 10 year old grandson help sew his own pillowcase using the roll up method and he thought it was magic!

  4. we take our own pillows most of the time too – when I forget to bring my pillow I suffer for it – and speaking of pillows reminds me it is time to start the search for a new pillow again as mine is going flat and not supportive. I hate hotel pillows they go flat immediately it seems they are rarely comfortable. Your idea of a colorful case so you don’t forget it is a good one!

  5. I’m with you. If I sleep on Down Pillows my eyes swell up and my sinuses get blocked! And I often have a hard time identifying the Down Pillows. I’ve made special pillowcases for both standard & travel size pillows that I take with me. For special quilts I make, I will make matching pillowcases to gift them in. Pillowcases are so simple to make and I have given a number of them to my grandson, grand nephews & grand nieces (as well as neighbor-grands), as well as ‘comfort’ pillows for family & friends going through health issues.

  6. Phyllis Smith

    Good morning, Lovely pillow case, want be forgotten for sure. Reminds me of when our boys were little and we traveled a lot a made them pillows out of large wash cloths and filled them with foam inside of muslin and used yarn to hook the cloths together. They were small and just right for the boys, no worry about pillow fights in the back seat either. The pillows were always left in the car so didn’t have to worry about if they had them or not. Made for a less stress trip.

  7. Laura Walther

    I just made 4 of these for my grandkids, using flannel. They came out so cute and cuddly, and I had enough to make little hand warmers (using rice as the filler). It’s an easy pattern and the French seams keep the fraying threads in check.

  8. I learned this method from a you-tube tutorial with Jenny Doan – MSQC years ago. In fact, I often have to “replay” the video when I get started if I haven’t made one in a while. Our guild makes this style and donates to the local hospital, so cancer patients and children can have a pretty bright case while they are inpatients. I make them for the grandkids with fun fabrics, and have used them as “GIFT BAGS” for larger presents – a 2 for 1 gift. I now make them to gift quilts in too. Last year I made 2 dozen with train fabrics and sold them at our model railroad club open house. My sister has a smaller travel pillow and I made her one with some delicious looking cowboys as a joke. She never forgets it in a hotel room either!

  9. manasotavacation

    I made these years ago and my “pattern” is some notes scratched on notebook paper while on the phone w/ a friend in Canada who was giving me instructions!! So,… I have a nice, readable pattern for making them again!! Thank you.

  10. Leslie

    Loved this post — great idea for traveling. I teach sewing to kids in my neighborhood and this pillowcase is a favorite project. It only has straight seams, and the kids think it’s magical when you pull the fabric out of the tube and it’s almost finished. (We call it rolling it up like a hot dog). It’s also a good exercise in the difference between regular seams and French seams. Two of my students (sisters – ages 8 & 10) made 5 of these in Christmas prints for their brothers and themselves. I love that they are learning how to sew and give at the same time.

    Thanks again for your lovely blog. You are so ambitious and seem to take joy in working with your hands. Well done! Blessings on all your work today.

  11. Rosemaryflower

    I like making pillow cases. I like 100% cotton ones, or flannel ones.
    I make them for my grand daughter now. She is 2.5 and so difficult to wind down. A nice pillow case soothes her. Little lambs, etc
    I always take the wildest looking pillow case along on travel trips. I like my own pillow too. Mine is usually bright red haha
    This is a really wonderful tutorial. I am going to try it. I always use french seams but have never been able to make a smooth top part thingie.
    Happy Wednesday already. Time just flies

  12. That’s exactly what we have done. I made so completely “obvious” pillowcases for ours after leaving one in a hotel room. Like you, I haven’t left it since.

  13. Linda B

    Yes, been there done that—leaving white pillows behind. We have a pair of bright blue cotton pillowcases that are our travel set. Maybe I am wierd, very smell sensitive…for me it is also the smell (or lack thereof) of our own pillows that help me get to sleep. Thanks for the tutorial…I have been wanting to make some!

  14. Pat Evans

    I’ve made a lot of pillowcases using this method, also known as the burrito method. Before sewing up the side seams, I stitch down the flange near the fold using either a straight stitch or a decorative machine stitch. This keep the flange from getting all wrinkly when washed.

  15. Sherrill Pecere

    I’ve been making my pillowcases for quite some time this way (the sausage pillowcase) but I omit the flange since it’s merely a decorative touch and I do so many for donation. I’ve had the same thing happen, leaving a pillow in the hotel (extremely aggravating). I’ve taken just a pillowcase on cruises before to brighten the room a little.

  16. Susan t

    This is the first time I have understood how to make the “burrito” pillow case. Excellent job on explaining! Now I am excited to make a bunch of these.

  17. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; I appreciate your pillowcase tutorial very much. I have made several of these but a tutorial pattern is extra special when it comes from someone you care about! Hubby and I do not travel much, but I have a lot of family who do and many of them have left a special pillow behind in a hotel room and not realized it until much to late. I had never thought about making a bright unforgettable pillowcase and really like your idea. I will buy some special pillow and make some great pillowcases for gifts for Christmas this year! Thank you for sharing and now I am going to pin this also! Have a great evening!

  18. This is the same pattern I teach at Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts. The kids love it, and I love it because they have a completed pillowcase at the end of the class. I especially like to see the choices of fabric and how they blend together. Thanks for sharing it with everyone!

  19. Pretty fabrics!!! I’ve been meaning to try this method for ages. I suppose I’m lazy, but I always seem to go back to the method I’ve used for years. This really looks almost as simple, so I really must do it next time. You won’t forget your pillow now!

  20. Perfect timing! I found some leftover cotton sateen in my drawers when pulling out all my scraps, and need to make pillowcases out of it. Now I have no excuse to not get them done this weekend!

  21. kathyinozarks

    I have not made a pillow case yet but they have always been of interest for me–thank you for the tutorial

  22. Brenda Baldwin

    Last year I made these pillowcases for everyone in my family using fabric that reflected their interests. They were a big hit! I’m so glad you shared this pattern.

  23. Mary Crawford

    Yes! Yes! I have made many pillowcases with this method which in our area is called the “Sausage” pillowcase. A quilt store near here collects the cases for kids in need. The last two years our quilt club has made about 30 at Christmas for a (troubled) boys home which they so appreciated. Of course, gifting to the grandkids is always fun but sometimes I wish I would see them on their beds more vs less!!

  24. We traveled in our RV for 17 years and sold it a year ago. I really miss it, but it was time. We take a foam mattress cover and our own pillows when going to a Hotel! The beds are usually too hard and I do not want to sleep on some else’s pillow. Works well, but more to pack. I like your pillow case and the idea of not leaving it behind accidently. enjoy!

  25. Linda Garcia

    I know this post is a few days old but love-love the post. I too also take my pillow when traveling. In fact, I have a suitcase dedicated to my pillow. I have not forgotten a pillow since having a suitcase just for the pillow. Cute pillowcase helps! I have made lots of these for grandkids out of flannel. Also gifted quilts go in a matching pillowcase. Keeps quilt clean, easy to transport. Good way to use up fabric at the end of a project.

  26. HI Carole…yes I learned this method just last summer while on quilt retreat. I felt like a magician it was so easy!!! I like your idea of a traveling pillow case.

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