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We humans spend a lot of time in bed. We spend a third to a half of our lives sleeping, then there are those Sunday mornings we laze around in bed with a good book, or those evenings when we snuggle up under the covers to watch the newest romantic comedy. Point is, we need to be comfortable and happy in bed, which is why today I’m showing you how to sew a pillowcase with flap closure.
This is a perfect project for beginners because it only requires one rectangle of fabric, two folds, and six straight seams. The envelope style closure is much easier to sew than it may look. And I’ve added a little extra touch that I love in pillowcases: decorative side flaps.
This style of pillowcase is super easy to make, but those extra frilly bits make it look so much more fancy!
You can customize your bedding with your choice of fabric, making your dreams all the sweeter!
This sewing project will only take about 15 minutes to complete, so grab a couple of meters or yards of your favorite fabric, and let’s get started! You can watch the video below or continue reading the tutorial on how to sew a pillowcase with flap closure!
- 2 yards or meters of cotton fabric. You can use different fabrics, but you’ll have your face against this surface for many hours, so choose a natural fabric. Try smooth cotton sateen for the summer or warm flannel for the winter, which is what I’ve used today.
- iron and ironing board
- sewing machine
- tape measure* or yardstick
- fabric scissors*
- straight pins*
- size 90 sewing machine needle*
- thread* to match the fabric
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How to choose fabrics for this pillow tutorial
A solid color is very easy to work with. If you want to use a printed fabric, though, make sure that you use a non-directional print. Notice how the apple print in the photo above can run in any direction and still look right. The strawberries, though, can only run in one direction.
In order to make the best use of our fabric cut, and also to avoid multiple pieces, we will use it sideways. Which means that the strawberry print above would end up sideways on your pillowcase!
Calculating fabric size for a bed pillowcase
I am making a pillowcase for a standard pillow size, 75 x 45 cm (29½ x 17¾”) so, if you’re also making that size, you can just skip the calculations and do exactly what I do.
However you can customize this pillowcase to any size or shape pillow form. But first let’s look at the structure of this pillowcase. (I will show my measurements in centimeters, but you can easily do them in inches, if you prefer.)
We will add a 17 cm flap for the envelope closure and two 4.5 cm decorative flaps on both short ends.
Considering that the pillowcase has front and back, we need two main parts and four decorative flaps. Then we need one closure flap. Also adding on 4 cm for hemming the two short sides, we have a total of 189 cm for fabric length.
Fabric width is easier. Just add 2 cm seam allowance to the pillow width. In our case, that means 47 cm for fabric width.
Therefore we need a cut of fabric that is 47 x 189 cm. Many fabrics are 100 cm wide, which means we can fit in two strips for two pillowcases into two meters of fabric, with one long strip of 6 cm left over for other projects.
A trick to cut fabric perfectly
It’s hard to cut long pieces of fabric perfectly straight without a rotary cutter*. Luckily, I have an awesome trick that saves time and gives you a perfectly straight cut!
First, iron your fabric.
Measure 189 cm down the long selvage side of the fabric, and mark it with a pin.
Make a cut perpendicular to the selvedge. Then grasp each side of the cut fabric in one hand and pull to continue ripping.
Believe it or not, this creates a perfectly straight “cut” along the grainline!
Then mark 47 cm across the short edge, cut and rip down. And repeat again 47 cm across the short edge.
You now have two long strips of fabric for your pillowcases and one extra narrow strip of fabric waste that you don’t need. Take one of these panels to start with. You can use the other panel to make a second pillow cover later.
How to sew a pillowcase with flap closure
Hem the short ends
1. Position one short side wrong side up. Fold the raw edge down by 1 cm and steam press. Then fold it again by 1 cm and press again. Repeat on the other short end, then sew down, close to the fold.
(If you’re new to hemming, read my lesson on how to sew the perfect hem!)
Measure the two folds
2. Measure 79.5 cm down from one hemmed short end, and mark it with a pin. Do this down both the other long side of the panel from the same hemmed end.
(If you’re using a pillow insert with different measurements than mine, just add pillow length to the width of one decorative flap, in my case 4.5 cm.)
3. Fold the panel right sides facing. Put your index fingers under the pins to help fold it evenly on both sides.
4. Flatten it out, making sure that the long edges match up, then pin down them.
5. Now measure 21.5 cm down from the other hemmed short end, and mark both sides with sewing pins, and fold the panel over, right sides facing, as you did in steps 2-4.
(The calculation here is closure flap width + decorative flap width.)
Make sure that the first hemmed short end is laying flat underneath before you pin all layers together.
Sew the sides of the pillowcase
6. Sew down the two pinned sides of the pillowcase with the straight stitch and a 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance.
7. Sew along the raw edges with a zig zag stitch or serger/overlock machine. These finished edges will be stronger and protected when you wash them.
Sew the decorative flaps
8. Turn the pillowcase right side out. Poke out the corners fully with your finger from the inside, then iron the pillowcase flat.
9. Sew down each short end with the straight stitch 4.5 cm from the folded edge.
Make sure that you don’t sew into the hemmed edge of the envelope closure! (top picture above)
Enjoy your new DIY pillowcase with flaps!
Insert the pillow form inside the pillowcase. I love how the envelope closure covers up the end of the pillow!
And there you have it! Your new pillowcase looks amazing!
It feels amazing too, especially if you used snuggly flannel like I did!
Now that you know how to sew a pillowcase with flap closure, sew a matching one with the second piece of fabric that you’ve already cut out!
This envelope pillow cover is so fast to make, now you can make a bunch more in all your favorite fabrics for the whole family!
If you loved this tutorial on how to sew a pillowcase with flap, check out some of my other awesome pillow sewing tutorials!
- How to Sew an Envelope Pillow Cover (Throw Pillow)
- Easy Cat Neck Pillow Pattern
- Make a Neck Pillow from a Sweatshirt
- How to Sew a Felted Wool Wool Pillow with Applique
Here’s some more pillow inspiration from around the web:
- Easy DIY Envelope Cushion with Pom Pom Trim
- How to Make a Throw Pillow Cover with Recycled Jeans
- DIY No Sew Dog Pillow Bed
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2 thoughts on “How to Sew a Pillowcase with Flap Closure and Decorative Flaps”
I would love to make this case but can’t do it today, do you have it in PDF format that would be lovely.
Hi, Barb, no, there’s no PDF version to download, but this post will be here whenever you have time to do the project!