Easy Toddler Pillowcase Sewing Tutorial- Repurpose Old Pillowcase

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Let’s learn 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 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 seams at the opening and at one of the sides, you don’t need that 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 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 will 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.  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, make sure your pillowcase is washed, dried, and not too wrinkly.  If it needs 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 ensure it’s that size before continuing on. 

If you do not want to measure, you can also lay your pillow on the pillowcase and mark your desired dimensions by estimating. (This is how you will be able to adjust 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 pillowcase’s opening and 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. 

I didn’t want this to be a permanent cut, so I used a simple basting stitch to keep the excess fabric tucked inside the pillow. It gathered a little, thanks to the long length of the basting stitch, so I resewed it after taking this picture. 

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

  1. Use a serger. 
  2. I love the overcasting stitch on my sewing machine, and I like to use this to finish and sew seams simultaneously.  Here, you’ll want to leave about 1/4″ seam allowance on the length and width, as I mentioned above.
  3. 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 for your pillowcase.  Then, cut the fabric close to the seam.
  4. 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.

Pillowcase Clipped Prior to Sewing

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 they are safe around my children!

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 want 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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