Wednesday, April 01, 2015

5 Minute Fix- Pillowcase Hem with French Seams

We have all sizes and shapes of bed pillows in our house. Fluffy down pillows, ancient polyester ones crushed into oblivion, memory foam in odd shapes. And none of these fit those king size pillowcases that come in sheet sets, so I have to constantly fold 15 inches of excess fabric under my head each night. Silly me, when the fix is fast and simple!

A common approach to hemming a case is to treat it like a pant leg or skirt- work on the open end. But with pillowcases, they can have large folded hems, pretty trims, or even button closures that you want to leave intact. So, hem from the bottom instead! Two simple straight lines of stitching make a clean edge that won't fray with a French seam. A French seam encases the cut edge of the fabric, so there isn't a need for extra finishing stitches, and no raw edge prevents unraveling over time and washing. They sound scary, but are really quite easy, I promise.

1. Find a pillow case that is the perfect size, and the one you want to shorten. Be sure to press them well first so you have the true length. Line up the open ends together, right sides of the case out.

2.  Next, find the sewing line. Draw a straight line a little more than a quarter inch longer than the correct case. Use anything to draw the line, you won't see it at the end.

3. Simply sew on the line! No need for any back stitching on either end here.

4. Next we will trim the excess fabric. Cut close to the stitching, about 1/8th of an inch. Leaving a scant seam allowance is important because what is left over here becomes the encased part of the French seam, so you want less than the width of your presserfoot remaining. This seam allowance will be completely closed in during the next step.

5. Turn the case inside out, making sure to smooth your seam out, and poke the corners well. Press very flat. You may have the original side seams tucking over- you can leave this as is, or make a quick snip to make it flat before the last step.

6. The magic of the French seam happens here! Simply line up the edge of the case with the right side of your presserfoot. If you look closely, or feel your seam, you can see that the trimmed seam allowance will fall between the needle and the right edge, and this is what you want. Sew the straight line, backstitching at the beginning and the end. Turn rightside out, press and enjoy your lovely perfect sized case!

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