26 May 13 • SCB

I have been spending a lot of time with linen lately (thank you to everyone who shopped for tea towels and napkin sets at by3191! I will have more tea towels in the shop next month). I am always enamored with the beautiful selvedge of these fabrics and feel it is a shame when it ends up in the scrap pile.

My love of the selvedge led me to create these pillowcase instructions a few years back, and this week I revisited them when I came across a linen selvedge I really wanted to feature. I altered the instructions a bit to accommodate fabric that is only 54 inches wide, and wanted to share them with you here. With these instructions, you will be left with a large scrap—I turned mine into a set of four napkins.

If you have access to a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you have the skills to make a pillowcase! They are lined with french seams which are quite easy to do once you get the hang of it, and you will end up with no raw edges and a nicely finished and sturdy case. Please refer to my previous post for more photos on how to create a french seam.

Materials for one standard-size pillowcase:

1 1/4 yards linen, chambray or other fabric with a selvedge you’d like to feature.
Coordinating thread

Before you cut your fabric, wash it in hot water and dry it in the dryer (just as you would your sheets). Most linens will be marked “dry clean only” because they will shrink when washed. You want any shrinkage to happen before you cut. For each pillowcase, cut a piece that is 32 inches by 43 inches with your selvedge running down one of the 43 inch sides. The best way to cut linen so it is square to the weave of the fabric is by pulling threads. (I found a little tutorial on pulling threads for you here).

Fold your piece over, so that the selvedges match up on one side and the side of the fabric you want to feature is facing out (if you’ve never sewn a french seam, this may seem wrong to you).

Sew a 1/4 inch seam along the bottom and side, leaving the selvedge sides open and the folded side untouched.

Trim at the corner. Also trim away any loose threads or uneven bits.

Press the seam over to one side. Turn inside out. Use a chopstick or a capped pen to make sure the corners poke out, and then press all the seams flat. At this point, if you are using fabric that is the same on both sides, it may look like you have a finished pillowcase, but you’re not done yet! Sew another seam—3/8th of an inch this time— around the side and bottom.

Trim away the corner again.

You now have your raw edges encased in a nice french seam! Turn inside out again, trim threads, and you’re finished!

Crisp linen cases feel great in the summer time! To avoid deep wrinkles, take the cases out of the dryer when they are still damp, or better yet, dry them on a line in the sunshine!