Pillowcase Pattern:: How to Make a Pillowcase ~ Burrito Style

Do you need a quick pillowcase pattern?  Well I did.  You know how it is with kids; all of the sudden they change overnight.
Easiest Pillowcase Pattern

Well, a couple of weeks back my grandsons spent the night at our house.

The usual sleeping setup is D-Boy in the Queen-size bed and T-Bone in the Pack-n-Play.  This has been working for most of T-Bone’s two-almost-three years. 

Recently, Kitty and Mr. Wonderful set up T-Bone a big-boy bed with this quilt AND a Big-Boy Pillow.

Pillowcase Pattern
Now, when the boys are here, T-Bone is still in the Pack-n-Play, but now he wants it Big-Boy style ~ complete with his very own Big-Boy Pillow.

Guess what ~ I didn’t have a spare pillow or pillowcase for that boy.  I actually fished a pillow out of a pillow sham and passed it off as special.

What kind of grandma am I!  I should probably be put in the Granny Penalty Box for this one.

So, today I’m making both of the boys pillowcases.

I’m going to use the Burrito Method to assemble them.

Here’s what you need:

Pillowcase Tutorial 1
  • Main Fabric:  1 yard.
  • Cuff Fabric: 1/3 yard.
  • Trim Fabric:  1/4 yard.  Note:  This is totally optional.
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Size 90/14 or 100/16 Heavy Duty Needles

Step 1:  Find the Grain

Visit my tutorial here on how to find the grain.  It is important for your fabric to be squarely on the grain or you will have a twisted pillowcase.   Ask me how I know this.

Step 2:  Cut Out Fabric Pieces

From Main Fabric, cut 1 piece that is 27” x 40”

From Coordinating Fabric, cut 1 piece that is 9” X 40”

From Trim Fabric, cut 1 piece that is 2” X 40”

Pillowcase Tutorial 2
Step 3: Understanding the Process
It is important to understand what each piece is called.
The Main Fabric is the Pillowcase Body.
The Coordinating Fabric is the Cuff and will wrap around the Pillowcase Body.  Kind of like a burrito.
The Trim will be in between the Pillowcase Body and the Cuff.
Pillowcase Tutorial 3

Step 4: Assembling the Pieces

Lay the Cuff out flat with the right side facing up. 

Fun Idea:  Embroider or applique a name on the cuff before assembling the pillowcase.

Pillowcase Tutorial 4

With wrong sides together, fold the trim piece in half lengthwise and press.

Pillowcase Tutorial 5

Match the raw edges of the Trim along the top edge of the Cuff and pin to hold.

Pillowcase Tutorial 6
Pillowcase Tutorial 7

Place the Pillowcase Body on top of the Cuff/Trim with right sides together and pin.

Pillowcase Tutorial 8
Step 5: Why It’s Called a Burrito
Starting at the bottom of the Pillowcase Body, begin rolling the fabric towards the top edge. 
Continue to roll up the Pillowcase Body until it is a few inches from the top edge.
Pillowcase Tutorial 9

Take the bottom edge of the Cuff fabric and wrap it over the rolled up Pillowcase Fabric.

See how the Cuff wraps over the Pillowcase Body, like a burrito.

Pin through all layers of fabric.

Pillowcase Tutorial 10
Pillowcase Tutorial 11


Using a 3/8” seam allowance, sew along the raw edge.

Pillowcase Tutorial 12

Fold back the Cuff and carefully pull out the Pillowcase Body.

Pillowcase Tutorial 13
Pillowcase Tutorial 14
Pillowcase Tutorial 15

Press the Cuff and Trim on both sides.


Pillowcase Tutorial 16
Pillowcase Tutorial 17

Step 6:  Side and Bottom Seams

The next step uses a French seam.  If you’ve never sewn a French seam before, you can review the process here.
Fold Pillowcase in half wrong sides together, matching up the Cuff and Trim fabrics on the seam line.
Pillowcase Tutorial 18
Pin around the raw edges on the side and bottom of the Pillowcase.

Stitch together down the side and across the bottom using a 1/4” seam allowance.

Be sure that the Cuff/Trim seam is even.  I actually sewed this first, then went back and did the rest.

Pillowcase Tutorial 20

Clip the corner where the side and bottom seam meet.  This will help with the bulk when you turn the pillowcase.

Pillowcase Tutorial 21

Turn the Pillowcase wrong side out and press the seams down.  Using something like a knitting needle or chopstick, push out the corners.

Now, the Pillowcase is facing right sides together.  Pin the side and bottom seams. 

Stitch the side and bottom seams using a 1/2” seam allowance.

Pillowcase Tutorial 22

Step 7:  Finishing the Pillowcase

Turn the Pillowcase right side out and press the seams flat.

Pillowcase Tutorial 23

You now have enclosed French seams and the Pillowcase has no loose threads on the inside.

Pillowcase Tutorial 24

Best of all, each grandson will have his own pillow.

Pillowcase Tutorial 25
And, I am out of the Granny Penalty Box.

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  1. says

    Thank you, thank you. This is the best tutorial for this method I’ve seen…you addressed the fact that you only have two seams on the body and not three as I was thinking. Your fabric is adorable!

  2. says

    I made my gr grandson pillow cases for his big boy bed when he moved out of his crib. I am raising my (now) 3 year old gr grandson since his mum died. I am finding so many little things to do that please him no end. I did cat in the hat pillow cases. He loved them/
    Following you now.

  3. says

    Just adorable, you have some lucky little boys. MY son has his special first pillow and case. It is almost time for me to make number two. They grow up too fast ; ( thanks so much for sharing on Super Sweet Saturday.

  4. Nicole says

    Just a tip for anyone adding a name or applique on the cuff, one you put it all together, the bottom of the name (the bottom of the letters) become the TOP of the cuff where the trim and main fabric get pinned. I have ripped and re-sewn 3 times to figure that out! Also, make sure you sew/applique the name on only the center of one half of the 9 inch cuff and not in the middle of the 9 inches. If you do not, the name will be folded in half once sewn. Learned that the hard way too!

  5. says

    I LOVE how finished these pillowcases are! I’m making some for my girls’ nursery bedding and they’re turning out SO lovely! Thanks for the thorough and well-explained tutorial. <3

  6. says

    I have seen many pillowcase tutorials (and have not tried one) simply because I could NOT understand how the fabrics pinned together then rolled up could possibly work …. yours was so easy I now know I can make them! Thank you!!

  7. Bridgett Mosser says

    I would like to know what size to cut fabric out for a queen size pillow case. Thank you

  8. Naomi says

    Where did you get the adorable car fabric? Glad I just found your website (thanks to GF Crockpot BBQ Chicken :)

    • Leslie says

      Thanks! The fabric is by Riley Blake, but it is discontinued. You could try doing a search on Etsy and see if anyone has a few yards to sell.

  9. Traci says

    I just finished making one by following your easy step-by-step tutorial. One question: When the pillowcase is complete, what do you do about the thick bulge in the bottom corner, due to the french seam?

    • Leslie says

      Great question. There will be a bit of bulk, but one way to counter that is to push out the point with a chop stick or knitting needle. Press with steam, and repeat. It will flatten it some, but there will always be a bit of bulk in that corner.

      • Traci says

        Thanks for the answer, I will try that. My 2 year old slept with his new “big boy” pillow last night and was a little bonkers, he was so excited! He has 3 older brothers, he dthought that he should start out on the floor with them since they were having a campout in a bedroom. It was adorable!! Love boys!

  10. Jennifer Nagel says

    Thanks so much for posting this great tutorial! I have a question: does the trim get sewed down at any point?
    I just finished unrolling my burrito, and it looks so nice, but the trim seems like it needs to be top stitched or something… will it lie flat after the whole pillowcase is completed?

    Thanks again for sharing your talents with us!


  11. Jennifer Nagel says

    Thanks, Leslie- steam did the trick. I’m so pleased at how the pillow case turned out. Off to make more!

    • Leslie says

      Thanks for the update. With any sewing, steam is usually the answer. I usually use a piece of silk organdy for steam pressing.

  12. Mary says

    I just made one of these for my daughter’s new toddler bed and she loves it! This is the best tutorial I’ve found, and I love that all the seams are finished and beautiful on the the inside. Thanks again!

    • Leslie says

      Thank you for sharing this. It is such a blessing to know that you could make something special for your daughter.

  13. Jill Delgado says

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve made at least a zillion pillowcases using this method.
    I find that a “special” pillow case makes a great gift for someone who is ill or shut in.

    The first cases I made were for my 3 step grandsons. They called to thank me for their “jumping bags”. I laughed so hard but figured that as long as they liked them they could do whatever they wanted with them!


  14. says

    Do you know that I’ve seen tutorials all over for this, but none of them have seemed clear or easy to follow so I’ve give up on trying this. But yours is so clear! Thank you for posting this. Your tutorial is excellent.

  15. Catrina "Marco" says

    I attended a Girl Scout weekend for leaders and learned to make this version of the pillowcase, i lost the instructions until i came across your site.. THANKS.. im making 9 pillow cases for my neices and newphews..i have mine i made at the weekend and my kids know when i say get “MY PILLOW” its the one i made myself, it has gingerbread little men on it.. i feel like a kid and im pushing 40!!!

  16. Jennifer says

    This is a perfect tutorial, thank you for including all measurements including length and width. The other tutorials i looked at did not…. Many failed attempts later i found your site, and success! :)

  17. Ags says

    Really like the fabrics you chose. I love the “burrito”! In sewing classes I’ve given to kids, we always make one of these. It’s sooo simple and fun and is a very impressive finished project. They kids have always been so proud of themselves when completing these pillow cases and they have something they will use over and over again. Love it and I really enjoy your blog. :)

  18. Brenda J Smith says

    Thanks for this great turtorial. I just made my grandson a great pillow case for his 7th birthday on Monday. Thanks for the measurements & photos. Brenda

  19. Marte says

    I made 2 yesterday following your instructions to the letter. Turned out perfectly and I slept great !!!
    Thanks for the clear directions. I will be making many more for sure.

  20. says

    Love this. I’ve been quilt making all year and would love to make coordinating pillowcases. Also thanks for the guidance on the French seams. Great tutorial!

  21. missy says

    hi how would you make this using a fabric that has a one way design???? would it be the same just an extra seam at the end 3 instaead of 4
    thanks so much

  22. says

    THANK YOU for such a well thought out thorough tutorial! Your photos are wonderful and your fabric picks even better! I can’t wait to make these for Christmas gifts!

  23. says

    Thanks for the tutorial! A friend of mine made a goal to donate 200 pillowcases to a local battered women’s shelter before Christmas and she recommended this tutorial for those of us that need help sewing our pillowcases. I just finished the first one, and it went so quick + I’m very pleased with how “sturdy” it feels. Thanks, and happy holidays!

  24. says

    Sometimes tutorials are hit and miss when you just do a quick internet search. I’m so pleased I stumbled upon yours as it was quick, easy, well explained, photographed and quick to make. Great that it had the sizes and the different fabrics made it easy to see what you did. Love the burrito!! A bit different than how I learned to make french seams but that was about a million years ago and this was so easy. Now I am off to make 6 more for the little great nephews in my life for Christmas. Thanks again.
    PS I chose your site based on the name of your blog!

  25. Karen says

    Enjoyed your instructive video. Although I’m a long time sewer, I’ve never made a regular pillow case! My 26 yr old son admired some moustache fabric pillow cases in a store so unknown to him, I’m making him a set for Christmas! He grew a beard for “movember” so these cases will be perfect for his apt. I’ll be using ur burrito method–should be fun and easy! Thanx so much for doing this.

  26. Carol Richardson says

    I have been looking for a tutorial that is easy to follow for this pillowcase method. I am going to give yours a try, it looks like a winner to me. Thank you.

  27. Lisa says

    Found you on Pinterest and thank you for a great tutorial! I’m a beginner sewer (have been seeing less than a year) and JUST discovered grain line. So, when you say the pillow should run along the grain, that means the long part of the pillowcase should be along the grainline? So no “stretch” longways? Thanks!

  28. Vale Rebok says

    I did this years ago, but lost the pattern, thanks so much for getting it for me. I am going to use it to teach sewing in a woman’s rehab center.

  29. Pat says

    I love this method. I make pillow cases for charity and I can make a lot in no time at all and they are so EASY.


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