Participating in a Pillowcase Challenge

First I have to tell you all, dear friends, that I really appreciate all the wonderful conversations that resulted from my last post.  It is very encouraging to know that so many of you feel like I do, reluctant to complain as I am so fortunate, but also coming up against challenges to keeping my spirits up.  Your comments were so helpful, thank you.  If you haven’t already, go back and read the comments (Carrying On).  There are over 60 comments that will make you feel better, and let you know that there are many out there who understand the pressure of this situation.

Stash Clean Out @ From My Carolina Home

Last week, I was having an online conversation with a friend, and she mentioned she had a lot of fabric yardage she wanted to get rid of, but no one local would take it.  So many of the animal shelters are no longer taking beds made of scraps as they are afraid that the animals will chew on them and choke on the filling.  I looked around my stash and found that I had the same, lots of yardage that I don’t see using in a quilt.  Much of it was given to me free, some was left over from other projects, some obtained for $1/yard at estate sales.  Serendipity stepped in, and a day or two later I got an email talking about the All People Quilt Million Pillowcase Challenge.  Now, there’s an idea to use up a lot of yardage in a hurry for a good cause!  Plus, there are monthly drawings for fabulous prize packages for those mailed in.  In addition, you can drop off pillowcases at a shop near you if you just want to donate to the cause.

Pllowcase Project at

I had this paisley fabric with a weird color of green in it.  I liked the print, but I’ve had it for some time, unable to put anything with it that looked good.  So, it was a perfect pillowcase choice with a beige blender for the band.  These will not be fancy, or complicated, just simple cases without piping or fancy roll up methods of construction.  I used my serger for these, but certainly you can use a sewing machine if you don’t have a serger.  Cut two pieces of fabric, one 27 x 42 inches for the body, and one 9 x 42 for the band.  Serge the short ends of the band, right sides together.

Pllowcase Project at

Then serge the body along the long edge right sides together.

Pllowcase Project at

When you get to the end, don’t serge off the end, we’ll pivot and continue.

Pllowcase Project at

To pivot a serged edge, stop sewing when the needles get one stitch off the edge.

Pllowcase Project at

Raise the needles, gently push the fabric towards the back to release the stitch, then pivot and place the edge right in front of the needles.

Pllowcase Project at

Continue serging off the folded edge.

Pllowcase Project at

The corner comes out clean and sharp.

Pllowcase Project at

Cut the tail of the thread, and weave it back under the stitches to secure.  I use a  Double Eye Needle at Amazon to make this easier.  You can also use a large tapestry needle.

Pllowcase Project at

Pull it through, then cut off any excess.

Pllowcase Project at

Put a dot of Fray Check on the corner to ensure the stitches stay in place.

Pllowcase Project at

Fold the band in half wrong sides together with raw edges aligned and press.

Pllowcase Project at

Put the band over the body, right sides together and serge the raw edges.

Pllowcase Project at

Tie off the ends in the same way.

Pllowcase Project at

Voila, one done.  It took less time to sew than it did to cut the fabric.

Pllowcase Project at

OK, now I’m on a roll.  It is lovely to have something finished this fast.

Pllowcase Project at

In short order I had four done and all the paisley fabric was used up.

Pllowcase Project at

So I pulled more fabric, I have much that could be used for this project.

Pllowcase Project at

I mixed these two prints, as the colors were a match.  But, I didn’t like them together.

Pllowcase Project at

Fortunately, it is easy to cut off the serged edge and put different fabrics in place.

Pillowcase Challenge at

The rose prints looked much better with green blender bands.  I found another piece of a different rose fabric that was just the right size to make another one.

Pillowcase Challenge at

The green print looked better with a green blender fabric for the band.  Five more done and would be appropriate for a guy.

Pllowcase Project at

So, that is 10 finished in just a day.

Pillowcase Challenge at

It seemed an even dozen was a good number, so I made two more.

Pillowcase Challenge at

I’ll ship these off to the challenge address this week.

Pillowcase Challenge at

Here’s the link again for the All People Quilt Million Pillowcase Challenge – FAQs on the project, prize entry information, and several pillowcase tutorials.  Click on All People Quilt Pillowcase Donation Page for information on the prizes and shipping address.  Brenda also sent me this tutorial link for a Pillow Case with Closed overlap ends.

Here are some links to my posts with other pillowcase tutorials –
Travel Pillowcase with roll up method of construction
Road Trip Pillowcase with pocket for bedtime necessities

Do you have a quick finish project for these days at home?   What are you working on?

27 thoughts on “Participating in a Pillowcase Challenge

  1. Lesley Gilbert

    Lovely pillowcases – great job, well done. I was thinking, couldn’t you use a crochet hook if you didn’t have the right needle, to pull through the serger thread?

    1. Sarah

      While I have not made any recently, I do like pillowcases for a quick way to use up a yard of fabric. I may need to stop and make some-such a feeling of progress! You used up 12 yards of fabric very quickly!

      Three other quick ways I use fabric that I don’t see being used for quilts or clothing-(1)drawstring bags(for laundry collection, storage, or “gift wrap” depending on the print), (2)sewing two lengths of fabric together and topstitch around the sides and at half-length and half-width to make a lightweight cover for a toddler in a stroller (often this is “gift-wrap” for a shower gift) and (3)18 inch square napkins.

  2. Edy

    Those are cute pillowcases! I’ve been using my stash making face masks and headbands with buttons! I’ve never been so happy to have a stash!

  3. Hi Carole, this is a very rewarding activity. I have been making and donating pillowcases to our local children’s hospital for years. I make kid themed cases for boys and girls alike. I don’t have a serger, so I make them with the roll and french seam method. I have the process down so well, that I can have each one made in about a half hour. And, yes, this is a great way to use up that extra fabric! This should lift those sagging spirits of yours! Carry on!

  4. Rita C.

    This is another great cause, Carole. I have a local quilter friend who makes cute pillowcases for her grand girls for each holiday. I’m going to share the link with her.

  5. I love your pillowcases! It’s such a great use of yardage and so nice to have such nicely finished seams. I’ve used a lot of my stash on masks lately.

  6. Jennifer Rauch

    Great idea! I also thought that challenge was over, as I’d made 5 years ago before retirement (going on 8 years now), one for my young granddaughter, monkeys for her brother! I made a few face masks recently, thinking I’d lessen my stash – HA! Didn’t make a dent. Forgot about this idea, used the burrito roll method as I don’t have a serger. Now I think I’d like one! Anyway, thanks for the reminder of the project to sink my teeth into. Card making is on top now, tho, as it is creative like quilting, but faster!!

  7. Great idea for mature but no longer loved fabric!
    My quilt group makes pillowcases to go with the large throw-small bed size quilts we make for Youth Homes, a county organization for teens aging out of foster care. Quilt and pillowcase are packed in a tote bag with pockets.
    The Diablo Valley Quilters make hundreds of pillowcases each year, even have a pillowcase sweatshop instead of a meeting one month each year. All are made burrito style from committee assembled kits and are donated to children’s hospitals.
    A great easy project, fun to do as a group once we can gather again, too.😀

  8. Liz

    Thanks. The Quilt shop in town is a participant. I will make some. Great idea for unused material.

  9. Sharon Vrooman

    Our local guilds make pillowcases for Community Services to be tucked into the Christmas baskets given out to local families in need. Between the two guilds there must be approx. 200 pillowcases each year.

  10. Joan Sheppard

    I use the “Dritz Loop Turner” to pull in the threads and I have one in the bathroom to “embarrassing” clean out hair from the drain, it’s also good for pulling elastic through a flat item, it’s just one of those indispensable items. Love the pillowcase Challenge. We too make them for the Kids’ Nursing home. Also remember that some of them can be white base. Kids with skin conditions are encouraged to have a white pillowcase but go crazy with the band. When things are normal, we do an assembly line and can really crank them out. I do like the “Hot Dog” method for assembly line but will do your method as it is much easier. Thanks for the reminder and a special thing to do. I promised I wouldn’t buy any new fabric until I emptied a drawer! So here we go!!!!

  11. Diane H

    Carole, thanks for the great tutorial for this easy pillowcase method AND everything else you do. Your lovely blog is very much appreciated!

  12. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole, I am just loving the fabrics that you used to make each of your pillowcases with! High 5 and lots of clapping are being sent your way for such a marvelous accomplishment in sewing 12 pillowcases together in one day!!! I discovered that if I fold over the thinner fabric that I have, at least 2 times, and then doing some fancy stitches. The fabric does not slide all over the place and is sturdy, plus looks so pretty when it is used as the “flap” the 2 to 3 inch piece of fabric that adds a little extra special touch if so desired between the main body of the pillowcase and the cuff. I am having fun creating my pillowcases and plan on making them for quite some time, considering all of the fabric I have sorted out of my stash that can be used for this purpose. I am thrilled that you shared your involvement and so many of your followers also did! Have a fantastic day!

  13. I’ve been making pillow cases for a local homeless shelter for several years. Great way to use up fabric that would otherwise sit in my stash for years to come. I follow the Shabby Fabrics “Magic Pillowcase Tutorial”. It is the roll up method, also known as the buritto or hotdog method, and includes French seams. (I don’t have a serger.) I’ve been using smaller scraps of fabric to make face masks for a local hospital as well as for family and friends (almost 200 so far).

  14. Wonderful post Carole, thank you for the tutorial. You did well to make 12 in a day. One of the ladies at our Guild is encouraging us to make pillowcases for children who come from abusive homes, must get on and make some. At the moment I am sewing together knitted squares I have been sent, to make blankets. The KOGO group in Melbourne is closed at present but once they reopen they will be wanting these blankets for homeless people. Our weather is getting colder now soldiers will be a need. Keep safe.

  15. Sue H

    What a fabulous way to move the stash along in a meaningful way! Great post, Carole, and thank you for the alternate pillowcase patterns at the end of the post.

  16. Mary Ed Williams

    Saw where our guild meeting for May in Chapel Hill has, of course, been cancelled. Sure hope it can be rescheduled soon. I so look forward to meeting you and telling you in person how much I enjoy your blog, even if it does wear me out just reading! I hope to start the challlenge quilt momentarily. Along with a zillion other projects. Keep the wonderful, encouraging messages coming in!
    Mary Ed

  17. I don’t think I could participate in the project you mentioned, but a pillowcase is a sewing project that would not be too hard for me. And it would be a nice way to update one’s room without updating too much. Yours are so pretty!

  18. thedarlingdogwood

    What a great way to use up fabric you don’t love! And sometimes mindless sewing is just the thing! These are lovely.

  19. Julie

    Thanks for the serger tip. I’ve always made french seams, this will surely speed up the process. I also appreciate the information on turning a corner. I’ve only had my serger a few months & no time for a class before shutdown; this is going to make my projects much heater.

  20. Great way to use the fabrics. There are so many places willing to take these types of items. I tend to make lots of toiletry bags for refugee groups looking after new arrivals in our country.

  21. Phyllis Smith

    Hi Carole,

    This isn’t about the pillow case covers but pertains to the facial mask..

    So many of the ladies are having trouble, as am I, to find the proper size elastic but I thought of using wider version of leastic for the bands on the back side. If one uses the leastic for waiste bands and sew them onto the

    Top and bottom rows rather than using the bias tape strings it might be a bit more comfortable than the tie strings and would hold up to a lot of washings as well. The elastic could be sewn into place and back stitched to help towards the fraying problem on each end, what do you think?


Comments are closed.