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Easy Toddler Pillowcase Sewing Tutorial- Repurpose Old Pillowcase

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This DIY sewing tutorial will teach you how to alter an adult pillowcase to make it into a toddler pillowcase.

Seriously, this has to be the easiest DIY toddler pillowcase tutorial you will ever read.  It takes a grand total of 2 seams.  It’s also a perfect beginner sewing project for a Mom who doesn’t have the time to learn how to do French seams or other ways of making a pillowcase look professional.

Since the store-bought pillowcase already has the seams at the opening and at one of the sides, that cuts down on the work you have to do.  And no need for a toddler pillowcase pattern either!

How to Sew a Toddler Pillowcase

Why We Needed a Toddler Pillowcase

My younger daughter has recently gotten a pillow for her toddler bed. I don’t like the idea of her having a full-size pillow in her little toddler bed.  There’s just not enough space, and larger adult pillows are just so big for her little neck!

As such, we bought her this 13″x18″ toddler pillow that fits her bed nicely.  For some reason, all toddler bedding sets come with a large pillowcase rather than the toddler-sized one.  And, toddler-sized pillowcases are darn expensive! I’m not about to spend a small fortune on a tiny pillowcase that my daughter is going to put bodily functions on regularly.  Spit, spit-up, puke, snot, you get my drift.

Therefore, we found ourselves needing a pillowcase for her small pillow.  I knew I could fairly quickly sew a toddler pillowcase out of fabric, but I wanted the pillowcase to match her crib sheets.  And why not repurpose the adult-sized pillowcase? It’s free fabric!

Another bonus to this project is that you can even find standard-sized pillowcases at Dollar Tree if you don’t already have other unused pillowcases laying around.  And $1 is so much cheaper than fabric would cost!

DIY Toddler Pillowcase Supplies

Here are the supplies that you’ll want to collect for this project.

  • Sewing machine and thread or needle and thread if hand sewing
  • Scissors
  • Pins or Clover wonder clips (optional)
  • Pillowcase for standard or larger sized pillow
  • The actual toddler pillow itself

As a note, even if your toddler pillow is 14″x19″ or 14″x20″, this tutorial will still work.  You’ll just want to add extra fabric.  I’ll show you how to alter things in the instructions below.

How to Make a Toddler Pillowcase

First, you will want to make sure your pillowcase is washed, dried, and not too wrinkly.  If it’s in need of ironing, go ahead and press.

Next, turn your pillowcase inside out.  My toddler pillow is 13″x18″, but it may be to your advantage to measure yours to make sure it’s that size as well before continuing on.  If not wanting to measure, you can also use lay your pillow on the pillowcase and mark your desired dimensions by estimating.  This is how you will be able to adjust this method for a 14″x19″ or 14″x20″ toddler pillow.

Considerations Before Cutting the Fabric

The size pillowcase that I decided I liked best for my pillow was 13.5″ x 20.5.”  Since I was planning around 1/4″ seams (keep reading to decide what seam type you want), I went ahead and cut out the fabric to 14″ x 21.” Use the seam at the opening of the pillowcase as well as one of the pillowcase sides and edges of your cut-out.

While this only needs to be a 2 seam project if you use one of the already sewn sides, you can make it into a 3 seam project if needed.  For instance, if your pillow has a picture in the center that you’d like to keep centered, you can always sew both parallel long sides and only use the opening seam.

Here’s a Minnie mouse pillowcase that we had that I wanted to decrease the size of as well.  I didn’t want this to be a permanent cut, though, so I used a simple basting stitch and kept the excess fabric tucked inside the pillow.  If you look close, you can see I used 3 seams on this project.  I wanted the Minnie Mouse face to be centered on the toddler pillowcase.

Once your fabric is cut out, you have several options to make your two seams.

  1. I personally love the overcasting stitch on my sewing machine, and I like to use this to finish and sew seams at the same time.  If this is what you’d like to do as well, you’ll want to leave about 1/4″ seam allowance on the length and width as I mentioned above.
  2. You don’t necessarily need to finish your seams if you don’t mind a little unraveling on the inside.  If this is the case, go ahead and straight stitch at the dimensions you’ll need your pillowcase.  Then, cut the fabric close to the seam.
  3. You can also sew a straight stitch seam as in number #2 and then finish the edge with a simple zigzag stitch.  Make sure to adjust your pillowcase fabric dimensions if you’re planning to have more than 1/4″ seam allowance.

Sew the Pillowcase Seams

Pick a seam method, and make and finish your two straight seams. Even though you can get away without pinning the fabric, I like using Clover Wonder Clips to hold things together.  They don’t mess up the fabric as pins do, they don’t crinkle the fabric, and best of all, they are safe around my children!

Pillowcase Clipped Prior to Sewing

Here’s my overcasting stitch up close:

This is what the pillowcase looked like when I completed my 2 seams:

And lastly, turn the pillow back right-side out.  And you’re all done!  I told you this was easy, right?

If you’re wanting to make an envelope pillowcase for a throw pillow and have an old button shirt, check out my envelope pillow cover repurposing tutorial!

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