Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pillowcase Methods and Burp Cloths

Pillowcases have three parts – main body, contrast band at the opening, and an accent strip inserted between the main body and the contrast band. There are two methods to make them A) where the side seam is sewn and then the contrast band is topstitched on as the final step and B) where a sandwich of all three parts, body, band and accent are sewn first and the side seam of the pillowcase is sewn last. Both methods result in pillowcases with no raw seam finishes showing. I made two pillowcases this week. For a pillowcase to coordinate with my Classic Cars quilt I used Method A. For a pirate pillowcase from a kit of coordinated pirate fabrics I used Method B. Although not intended to be illustrated tutorials, I've given shorthand abbreviated instructions for each method.

I have made many, many pillowcases by method A. It is a bit more fussy to do, but I like the smooth results at the band opening better and the look of topstitching.  The topstitching just below the accent strip is the part that requires a bit more care to look tidy.  Here is the pillowcase sized for an 18 x 24 small pillow. I did not have enough of the white and red grid fabric for a pillowcase but I thought the pale gray with small spirals was a good alternative. The entire Classic Cars quilt is shown in my post for March 9, 2015

  1. Fold accent strip in half wrong sides together and attach to opening end of main body
  2. Sew seams of main body as French seam
  3. Join short ends of contrast band to form loop, iron seam open
  4. Attach contrast band to opening of pillowcase, right side to wrong side
  5. Flip contrast band outward, turn under raw edge, and top stitch to outside of body
I folded back the end opening to show the detail of the inside near the edge using Method A. I like that the inside edge of the contrast band has no seam allowance showing.

This pirate pillowcase came as a pre-packaged kit and so I decided to follow its instructions which were method B. This method is definitely quick and if doing a charity project or last minute production gifting of several pillowcases in short order, this is the way to go. It is kind of fun to pull out a roll of fabric from the inside of a tube you've just sewn. If the proportions seems weird, that is because for the photo below I folded the pillowcase in half lengthwise and then in thirds the other way to get a closer look at the cute fabric. Ahoy, Mateys!

  1. Fold accent strip in half wrong sides together
  2. Sandwich and pin edges of band right side up, body right side up, and accent strip 
  3. Roll up main body, flip contrast band over roll, and repin
  4. Sew through five layers and pull out main body from center of tube
  5. Sew French seams of assembly 
I folded back the end opening to show the detail of the inside near the edge using Method B. The assembly seam allowance is visible and continues all the way to the edge of the opening.

I made a pair of burp cloths from some whale flannel I just bought. I just happened to have in my stash the minty green with different size dots to go with it. It kind of looks like bubbles to me. I made the two burp cloths complements of each other. After making these I cannot get the song Baby Beluga by the entertainer Raffi out of my head.

The full lyrics can be found at this link but here is the gist of it.

Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea 
Swim so wild and swim so free 
The heaven above and the sea below
See the little white whale on the go.
Baby Beluga, oh Baby Beluga... 

These small projects are interspersed with me starting the FMQ on my Simple Gifts Quilt. It has 30 blocks, one present each,  and so far I have stitched in the ditch and echo quilted around sixteen of them. It is slow going because I am using a ruler to help keep me on the straight and narrow and I am still a relative novice on my HQ Sweet 16.  I am undecided what to do in between the blocks. I may add another round of echo farther out and perhaps that may be enough. I need some practice and may add some swirly filler ,but not much since, I like my quilts to drape freely and sometimes too much stitching makes them a bit stiff.

The last time I posted my projects list was February 25, 2015.  Here are my stats since then. I figure giving my stats once a week is too often to show progress but once a month gives me a better sense of accomplishment. Granted they were small projects, but every new item I started since February 25, I finished!

Completed projects since February 25, 2015 (10):
    1. Classic Cars strip quilt (March 9, 2015 post)
    2. Two race car burp cloths (March 25, 2015 post)
    3. Two zoo animal burp cloths (March 25, 2015 post)
    4. One dahlia flower apron (March 25, 2015 post)
    5. Classic Cars pillowcase (April 1, 2015 post)
    6. One pirate pillowcase (April 1, 2015 post)
    7. Two whale burp cloths (April 1, 2015 post)
    Ongoing projects (3):
    1. Simple Gifts quilt - (February 18, 2015 post) FMQ in progress
    2. Overlapping square wall hanging - (March 4, 2015 post) awaiting FMQ
    3. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - packed away... again ... may abandon
    New projects since February 25, 2015 (9):
    1. Attended Sacramento Quilt show (3/21/15)
    2. Two race car burp cloths (3/25/15)
    3. Two zoo animal burp cloths (3/25/15)
    4. One dahlia flower apron (3/25/15)
    5. Classic Cars pillowcase (3/28/15)
    6. One pirate pillowcase (3/28/15)
    7. Two whale burp cloths (3/28/15)
    I am hooking up to today's Freshly Pieced post for WIP Wednesday.


    1. What a cute set! And... I love that pirate pillow :-) I actually cried a few years ago when it came up as a news item that the whale who'd inspired Raffi had died: although apparently she lived a significantly longer than average life for a Beluga (but ironically spent her whole life in captivity). But those burp cloths are adorable.

      1. Oh, so sad about Baby Beluga. I did not know that. I guess she lives on in song however.