Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 6. Pillowcase with flat piping

For the second year, we're bringing you a bunch of ideas for handmade Christmas gifts and also, lovely gifts for the makers in your life. (Or, gifts for you to hint loudly at with your loved ones!)

Today's handmade gift idea is a pillowcase - one of the simplest things to sew - but gussied up just a little with the addition of contrast flat piping on the front.
 Here's our sample one looking a bit over-stuffed at the shop, with two 50 x 50cm cushion inserts masquerading as a pillow inside!

  • 1 metre of 110cm wide fabric to make one standard pillowcase
  • narrow strip of complementary fabric (3cm wide x at least 52cm long) for the flat piping.
We think our range of Art Gallery cottons are perfect, featuring some really lovely designs on a cotton basecloth that is particularly smooth to the touch.
Our sample is made from a Leah Duncan design for Art Gallery Fabrics, and a narrow contrast strip of Oakshott shot cotton in 'Zug'.
I took all sorts of construction photos, some of which will feature below, but in the end decided the simplest way to show how to make this pillowcase was a hand-drawn diagram:
Got it? Good to go. But if you'd like more detailed instructions, read on!

Take your 1 metre of fabric and cut it into the pieces shown above: cut in half down the length then trim each half to be 52cm wide. One piece will be the bottom of your pillowcase and you can cut the top two pieces out of the other half: 62 x 52cm and 32 x 52cm.

Take the 32 x 52cm piece and press it in half so it measures 16 x 52cm, right sides out.
 Press your contrast strip in half along its length, right sides out, so it's 1.5cm wide. This will be your 'flat piping' which is basically just a narrow, folded strip of fabric poking out of a seam. Since it's just a straight line, we can cut this on the grain (would need to be bias cut for curves).
 Lay the strip along the raw edge of your 62cm long piece and place the folded piece you pressed first on top. All raw edges aligned and right sides together.
Sew together with a narrow seam allowance, then finish the raw edges together (zigzag or overlock).

 Open out and press well, with the piping pointing towards the folded end of the pillowcase top. Topstitch to keep the piping flat.
Make a narrow hem on one short end of your longest (pillowcase back) piece.
Lay the pillowcase top on the bottom, right sides together, raw edges aligned.

 Fold the long, hemmed edge of the bottom over the pillowcase top. Pin and sew all around the raw edges with about 1cm seam allowance.
Trim the corners and finish raw edges.
 Turn right way in and give it a good press. Voila!

- Jane & Fiona xx


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