teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Sunday 29 November 2015

How To Make The Fastest Pillowcase - The Burrito Technique

Coming up to Christmas we're all thinking about quick easy homemade gifts and today on my blog I'm sharing with you the Burrito Pillowcase tute I wrote for Fort Worth Fabric Studio back in October.  Make these super easy pillowcases using a ‘burrito’ technique and you can have a pair made in under an hour. 

Here's my tute for the Burrito Technique

Pillowcase Materials
(approx finished size 20” x 28/29”):

Thread – matching or contrasting (thread is only visible against accent fabric if you choose to do an optional decorative stitch along this accent trim)

Fabric - I'm using Skopelos by Katerina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics available here at Fort Worth Fabric Studio:

All fabric should be the full width of fabric (WOF) either 44” or 42” – don’t worry if 3 fabrics chosen are different lengths this will be corrected later in making pillowcases.

To make 1 pillowcase:
2/3 yards of main fabric
1/3 yard of cuff fabric
3” WOF (width of fabric = approx 40-42” length) strip of accent fabric.

To make a 2 pillowcase set:
Take (2) 1-yard cuts of fabric (as shown in photo below)
Cut 1/3 yard off each yard
Swap 1/3 yards over
Cut (2) 3” WOF (width of fabric = approx. 40-42” length) strip of accent fabric.


Press 3” strips in half with wrong sides together to make (2) 1-1/2” folded strips.

It’s easiest to work with all printed (typeface) selvedges on the same side so all fabric designs should then be facing the same direction but it's entirely up to you.  

Open cuff fabric out to full width and place right side up.

Line up pressed 1-1/2” accent strip along edge of cuff.

All three raw edges are together.

Open main fabric out to full width and place right side down on top of other pieces - you now have four raw edges lined up together.  NB: main and cuff fabrics should be right sides facing.

Now's your last chance to check your fabrics are the right way around if directional.

Go to opposite end of main fabric and roll bottom edge up until it's almost level with four top raw edges.

Rolling main fabric should reveal bottom edge of cuff fabric again.  Carefully fold bottom edge of cuff fabric up over all other layers and line up bottom cuff raw edge with previous four raw edges – now you have five raw edges and the cuff fabric should fully enclose all other layers of fabric (this makes your 'burrito' hence the name The Burrito Method).

Here's a quick reference diagram I've created for you to keep handy:

Pin the five raw edges together all along the WOF.
Now sew down this length with a ¼” seam   NB: leave ends of roll open!

Take hold of inside main fabric at one of the open ends and pull it out, keep pulling until it’s all the way out.

This is your made fabric.

Press flat and crisp - take care on both sides of the fabric and make sure seams are fully open and lying flat.

Here’re my two pressed made fabrics.

Optional Decorative Stitch:
You may want to add a top stitch or decorative stitch to the Accent trim (NB: I haven't done this on the samples shown) – if you do then choose the same colour or complementary colour thread. This stitched line is optional – consider whether you want to add decorative detail or simply hold the accent fabric ‘flap’ in place. Choose your decorative stitch and sew down length of accent fabric ‘flap’.

Trim one selvedge edge from your made fabric

Now measure 40” from the selvedge edge you’ve just cut away and cut the opposite side selvedge edge away at this 40" mark. You’ll see in the pics that I’ve folded the fabric in half so the cutting length is shorter, but you don’t have to do this if you have a large cutting area.  I'm also using two rulers butted up to each other to achieve the necessary 40" length.

Lining the accent fabric up with a line on your ruler, as in pic below, can help give you a clean 90-degree angle to keep the pillows correctly squared and straight.

Your made fabric piece should now measure 40” x approx 29-1/4”.

Fold your made fabric in half cuff to cuff with wrong sides together and pin along two raw edges (not along folded cuff edge as you need to leave this edge open to insert a pillow!).  Start pinning at the accent trim and ensure these are lined up perfectly to give a great looking finish to your pillowcases, next pin folded cuff edge and fabrics between these two points easing if necessary.

Pin rest of pillowcase.  Sew two sides with a ¼” seam.  Start sewing on long edge and 1” from edge of fabric at cuff.  Back stitch to edge then sew forward and continue – this will encase stitch ends better.

Clip two internal corners - not the corners at cuff edge.  Clip corners diagonally taking care not to cut through any stitches!!!

Threads sticking out from seam edges must be removed at this stage or you’ll have a big external seam clean up job on your hands when pillowcase is finished!

Turn pillow through so right sides are together, push corners out fully and press flat two seams you’ve just sewn - don't press main pillowcase, just two seams.  Wiggle seams, if necessary, to get them to open fully and lie flat and trim any threads.

Sew same two sides again using a 3/8” seam this time – with your fingers you should be able to feel the previously sewn seam within this new seam – make sure the seam you’re currently stitching encloses the first seam within it.  You are now creating a French seam when all raw edges are hidden within the finished seam and giving your work a really professional look.  Take care and go slowly over bulky accent fabric section – as before start 1” from edge of fabric at cuff, back stitch to edge then sew forward.

When you get to 3/8" from 1st corner leave needle down in fabric and pivot turn to continue sewing down next side.

Trim thread ends and turn pillowcase out again.  Check sewn seam edges on outside of pillowcase for any threads peeping out – trim as necessary.  

Give pillowcase a final press.

Dress your bed and admire :D

Just in case you're not convinced yet, here's some more inspiration - other pillowcases I've made previously and you can read about them here and here.  Play around with fabrics, colour and design and you can make something really personalised and unique.  

It really is a great way to freshen up any bedroom and update your decor, kids love them made with character fabric and they're perfect gifts for birthdays, holidays, new homes, engagements and weddings. Once you’ve made one you’ll be keen to make lots more, they're addictive!

made by you:

the girls over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio have made these fab Start Wars pillowcases using my tute

You can see more pics in my original 6 October 2015 post here and my original post for Fort Worth Fabric Studio is available here.

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  1. Another great tutorial Chrissie, I don't know how you find the time to do it - but we're all glad you do, I love the pillowcases.

  2. Great tutorial and love the patterns you have used

  3. Woo! These pillowcases are great! Well done on the tutorial. And I absolutely love the fabric and how you coordinated them!

  4. What striking material it lovely. Thanks for taking time to do the detailed tutorial.

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. I think what makes them so great are the beautiful fabrics you have chosen.

  6. A great tutorial and easy to follow instructions too. I absolutely adore the fabrics you've used, especially the lime green :)

  7. Beautiful pillow cases and what a fantastic tutorial Chrissie!!! It has been a long time since I made one!

  8. They turned out so pretty! Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  9. Thanks for putting a great tutorial on pillow cases on here. It brings back great memories of my grandmother making everyone a special pillow case. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  10. That was a lot of work! Thanks : ) I just bought this pattern while away, but haven't tried it yet. I will be referring to this tut I'm sure. Enjoy your plans up to Christmas and thanks again

  11. A great tutorial Chrissie, the fabrics are so pretty and I noticed they have greek names of an island. Wonder why ?

    1. Hi Mary, the fabric designer, Katarina Roccella, frequently holidays on the island and takes her design inspiration from there. Many locations on the island were used in the Mama Mia movie and Katerina has lots of fabulous photos from her vacations on her own blog, it's absolutely stunning - Chris :D

  12. Absolutely beautiful fabrics and pillow cases - very nice indeed. Pinned for reference!!

  13. Great tutorial. You can't have too many pillow cases!


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