How to Make a Pillowcase Using the Burrito Method

Making a pillowcase is unbelievably simple if you follow my Burrito Method. This method is quick and easy that you’ll be making pillowcases for everyone. And, in this tutorial you will learn how to sew a French seam. It’s simple, it’s fun, and you will be amazed at the results.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

If you can sew a straight seam then you can make a pillowcase with a French seam. I’m going to teach you something I call the Burrito Method to assemble your pillowcase and remove any fear you may have regarding French seams. Let’s get started!

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Supplies:

  • 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  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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Match the raw edges of the Trim along the top edge of the Cuff and pin to hold.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Place the Pillowcase Body on top of the Cuff/Trim with right sides together and pin.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

 Using a 3/8” seam allowance, sew along the raw edge.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Press the Cuff and Trim on both sides.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Pin around the raw edges on the side and bottom of the Pillowcase.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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 sew this first, then go back and do the rest.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Step 7:  Finishing the Pillowcase

Turn the Pillowcase right side out and press the seams flat.
Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

Voila!  Finished size 30″ x 19″.

Pillowcase Tutorial: A pillowcase is one of the easiest projects to sew. My Burrito Method will make you an instant expert. Follow my simple Pillowcase Pattern and learn the Easiest Way to DIY | sewing

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90 Comments

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!

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.
Janice

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.
Steph

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!

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

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!!

Bridgett, did you ever get an answer about the queen size pillow? That’s just what info I’ve been looking for. Thanks

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

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.

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?

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.

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!

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!

Jennifer

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

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

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!

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

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!

xoxo
jill

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.

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!!!

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! :)

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. :)

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

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.

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

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!

Hi,
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.
Bernie
PS I chose your site based on the name of your blog!

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.

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.

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!

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.

I love these pillowcases and have made many. Your tutorial was really GREAT! I always have one problem. The point at which the three pieces of fabric join in the French seam is so thick that it will barely go under my presser foot. Any ideas how to reduce this bulk? Thanks!

Thanks for this picture tutorial. I bought a pillo case kit recently and though the directions seemed simple I could not figure them out. I am so glad I found your website!

I love your clear instructions but I’m having so much difficulty trying to figure out how to make this for a toddler pillowcase so that the final pillowcase measures 20″ x 14″

Can anyone help me?

I saw in the directions where you said to fold the trim in half and press it, but I didn’t see where you said to fold the cuff in half and press it. Aren’t you supposed to also fold the cuff in half and press it?

Thank you for this tutorial. I made two pillowcases this afternoon. I used your burrito method and they both turned out nicely. Thanks again for taking the time to post the tutorial. Mary

Thank you soooo much. Am making pj’s for grandkids for Christmas with matching pillowcases. Just tried my first one on scrap fabric & it is awesome! This is such a great pattern. Have sewn for years but am always pleased when I try something new & it turns out so lovely the first time!

Love your site.

I was thinking that it might be easy to use pinking shears on the inside seams. That would help with the bulk because of the french seams.

Does anyone know what the dimensions are once the pillowcase is finished? I’m wondering if this will fit a standard sized pillow.

Thanks so much. I made 10 these for Christmas gifts for grandkids. They are so beautiful. Really thankful for this page. Who knew I could make a french seam? Happy to finally be able to make a professional looking pillowcase instead of my throw together ones. Merry Christmas!

I just have to add my thanks for this great tutorial. Made a cute pillowslip for my 2 year old granddaughter. I did downsize it slightly due to the size of her pillow, being a first pillow, and was a bit worried at the end when the contrast fabric was suddenly half the width after turning! Silly me for not reading through the instructions thoroughly first, but I had allowed a bit of wriggle room and all was well.

I got a sewing machine for Christmas. This pillowcase was my first sewing project since junior high sewing classes (I’m 20 now!) and it turned out so well that I made another just for fun!

Thanks for such an awesome tutorial and such clear instructions!

I found the directions for this burrito technique on several “you tube” videos, but your written directions and photos were better than the videos. I tried to use French seams, but the type of fabric I used made the seams too thick. After ripping out the French seams, I used regular seams and sewed them with a special zig-zag finishing stitch to prevent raveling.

Your directions for the burrito pillowcase techniques are the best I’ve found. I used a traditional seam sewed with a zig-zag finishing stitch to prevent raveling instead of French seams. Thank you.

Hope you can help…I have to make a pillowcase for a friend and the design of the fabric is going from selvage to selvage. I do not want it to go that way ..can I turn the fabric to the side and make the pillowcase that way? The fabric I am using is the green Little House on the Prairie scene of Laura running in the fields. I fear that if I do not change the direction – it will not end up going the correct way! Thanks for your help in advance!

This is a fabulous tutorial. I am not a great sewer but feel I can make some cute pillowcases for my toddler grandson’s nursery makeover now. Thank you! What a timely post.

Great tutorial, Leslie! Your instructions make a lot more sense than other’s I’ve seen. I too gave up trying but with these instruction, feel confident my grands will get monogrammed pillow cases for Christmas this year!! LOL Have a blessed day!

Another EXCELLENT tutorial. You have such a gift at being able to explain what is normally so difficult to grasp. Love the fabric you used. These are really cute pillowcases. Thanks so very much for this post.