how to Make your own Pillowcase with Directional Fabric

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One day I received a message on Facebook from a woman wanting to make a pillowcase with directional fabric. Not just one directional fabric but with ALL directional fabric: the main print, the cuff and the trim.  She was having a hard time finding directions and not ending up with things at 90 degree angles. Did I have any suggestions?

I’d done a tutorial with the main fabric being a directional print but not the cuff and accent fabrics being directional too… so I let it spin around for a bit. I might have dreamt about it. (OK yes – I did. You do that too, right?)

JUMP TO THE VIDEO TUTORIAL GET WRITTEN DIRECTIONS ON ETSY

In the video I’m going to show you how to use sew a pillowcase with directional fabric for all three pieces of a pillowcase: the main print, cuff and optional accent fabric. I’ll also show you how to put the cuff on the right or left side – on purpose! I can’t tell you how many times I had one intention and ended up with a cuff on the other side but now I have the secret sauce to share with you.

I used my Happy at Home fabric from Riley Blake Designs for this tutorial. You can find more projects and ideas and see the full collection here.

You can of course use non-directional prints for any of these pieces but you will be armed with the knowledge to get it all down with directionality if you so choose.

First let’s talk about the direction the main print should go. I once bought a kit at a local shop and the fabric wasn’t big enough for the print to go horizontally across the pillow. I took it back thinking there had to be a mistake! They tried to tell me that there wasn’t, but I wasn’t buying it.

If sheets you buy in stores don’t have the images going towards the cuffs then they aren’t supposed to. I understand why thy kitted it that way – you need 3/4 yard vs 1 1/8 yards but to me, it’s not right. When you are looking at the pillows from the bottom of the bed, the print should be in the right direction (figure 1), not sideways (figure 2).

birds going in the right direction on a pillowcase
figure 1
birds going in the wrong direction on a pillowcase
figure 2

If you don’t have long strips of fabric for the cuff and accent pieces, you will need to buy 1 ⅛ yards but only use 9″ or 2″ strips. You could mix and match using one print on the main fabric for one pillowcase and the cuff on 2 other pillowcases if you have a few to make. Consider your options and check your scrap pile!


Measurements are listed as W x H

Main Fabric – A

  • 1 ⅛ yards if using directional fabric
  • ¾ yard if non-directional
  • Cut to 40″ x 27″

Cuff Fabric – B

  • 40″ x 9″

Accent Fabric – C (optional)

  • 40″ x 2″

🎯 SHORTCUTS TO SPECIFIC TOPICS:

00:00 introduction
01:13 What direction the fabric should go
02:16 Fabric requirements
04:30 Prep cuff and accent fabrics
05:30 Pin pillowcase fabrics together
05:50 How to make a cuff on the right or left
06:50 Add main fabric
07:57 Burrito fold pillowcase technique

09:09 Sew tube together
09:18 Pull main fabric out of the cuff
10:05 Add optional decorative stitching
10:47 Finishing with a serger
11:11 How to sew a French seam
12:59 How to use a magnetic seam guide
13:30 Turn right side out


If you like written directions you can find a PDF pattern with lots of photos in my Etsy Shop.

Sewing a pillowcase with directional fabric takes a little more yardage and a more attention to detail when cutting and assembling the pillowcase but sometimes it just needs to be done! If that perfect themed fabric is directional you can now make that pillowcase with ease.  Happy sewing!

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If you post on Instagram be sure to tag me (@artisttarareed). Follow my YouTube channel for new sewing projects and tips every week.

🛌 Tara Reed

P.S. Is there a sewing tutorial you’d love to see? Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my idea list!

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