Free Design: Hugs & Kisses Pillowcase

February 1, 2020By Joanne BankoFree Design of the Month, Home Decor, Projects 17 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Sew up some love by decorating a pillowcase with this ‘Love Never Fails’ Free Design from Brother. For a unique trim, add striped piping to compliment the contrast band with SA150, the Brother Pearls and Sequins Foot. Learn this technique and you’ll want to repeat it on many other projects. For a neat finish, I stitched this sweet pillowcase using a popular roll up method for the band and then used enclosed seams for the sides and bottom. This pillowcase looks perfect on the outside and inside too! Are you ready? Let’s go sew!

Materials and Supplies

  • Brother sewing and embroidery machine. Machine used in this example is the XP1 Luminaire. Any Brother machine with a 5-inch X 7-inch hoop is fine for embroidering this design.
  • Brother Embroidery Thread, Bobbin Thread, and size 11 embroidery needle for embroidering.
  • SA150 Pearls and Sequins Foot for creating striped piping.
  • SA5810 Brother medium weight tear-away stabilizer.
  • Basic sewing notions including thread to match fabric and a removable marker or chalk.
  • One package of pre-purchased ½-inch wide Maxi Piping.
  • Brother FREE Design of the Month: Free Design_Feb_2020_Love never Fails.pes. See Figure #1.

Fabrics for Pillowcase:

  • Fabric A: Print fabric for pillowcase: Using the full width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge, cut one piece of fabric 28 ½-inches long. Note: Choose a print that looks good horizontally or vertically. In this example I designated one specific edge for the top, so that the lettering on the fabric would correspond to the embroidered lettering on the band.
  • Fabric B: Solid fabric for pillowcase band: Using the full width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge, cut one oversized piece measuring 12-inches long. Note: If your fabric is lightweight fuse a piece of featherweight interfacing to the wrong side of the entire piece.
Figure #1

Please read fabric and sizing notes before you begin:

  • The average size for a ready-made, standard pillowcase measures approximately 21-inches Wide X 32-inches Long. Measurements and yardage in this example are for a standard size pillowcase. Finished length is approximately 32-inches. By cutting each piece using the full width of the fabric, the finished width is determined by the actual width of the fabric. Trim away the selvedge edge of each piece and then make sure Fabric A and Fabric B are both cut to equal the same width. If you want your pillowcase to have a tighter fit on the pillow you can trim away some of the width. Seam allowance is ¼-inch for the band, and 5/8-inch for the side and bottom seam of the pillowcase.
  • For larger pillows such as king size, consider measuring a ready-made pillowcase and then cut your fabrics accordingly.
  • This rollup style of making a pillowcase has been popular for several years. You may have heard it called the “burrito” sewing method, due to the way the band is sewn to the main piece. Oftentimes, you’ll find pillowcase instructions listing ¾ yard for fabric A and ¼ yard for fabric B. This results in a slightly shorter pillowcase and does not allow for the oversized piece used for embroidering the band. In my experience fabric is rarely cut evenly and usually skews slightly after laundering. I prefer to purchase extra yardage and have a little excess to trim. I like to purchase 7/8 yard for Fabric A and 3/8 yard for Fabric B. This allows for pre-shrinking and straightening the fabric ends which are often uneven after laundering.

Here are the basic steps for making the pillowcase:

  • Determine desired pillowcase size and cut fabrics accordingly.
  • Embroider oversized band of fabric and trim to size.
  • Create striped piping and baste to top edge of pillowcase fabric.
  • Roll up pillowcase, layer with folded band, and stitch band seam.
  • Turn right side out and sew enclosed seams to finish sides and bottom.

Steps to Create Pillowcase

1. Gather your supplies. See Figure #2.

Figure #2

2. Transfer design to machine and decide on thread colors. I changed my colors to coordinate with my fabric. See Figure #3 below:

Figure #3

3. Mark fabric band for embroidery by finding the vertical center of half of the band, and then measure and mark horizontal center 5 ½-inches from the top edge. I made a simple template by cutting a piece of paper 3-inches high X 7-inches wide, to roughly match the size of the design. Then I taped it to the fabric and used it as a temporary marking. After lining up the center of the template with the center of the hoop I removed the template. Note that the arrow points to the top edge of the band. Layer fabric band with tear away stabilizer and hoop so that center markings line up with center of hoop. See Figure #4a, Figure #4b, and Figure #4c.

Figure #4a
Figure #4b
Figure #4c

4. Embroider design. See Figure #5.

Figure #5

5. Remove excess stabilizer and press piece. To trim band to size needed for pillowcase begin by measuring and marking a line 9 ½-inches from the top, embroidered edge. Cut band along the line.
6. To create striped piping, set up machine for sewing with embroidery thread in the top and bobbin. Attach the pearls and sequins foot. Select a plain blanket stitch using a long stitch length and a width set to cover the piping. The stitch featured in this example is Luminaire stitch No. 9-29, width 6.0, length 4.3. I mirror imaged the stitch to sew the blanket stitch on the right-hand side of the piping.
Tip: If you have a machine with the Brother My Custom Stitch feature you can create a wide blanket stitch very easily. See options and ideas at the end of these instructions for more information.
7. Place piping under the channel in the foot and stitch across the piping with the right and left swing of the stitch forming over the piping cord, and the straight stitches running alongside the piping. See Figure #6a and Figure #6b.

Figure #6a
Figure #6b

8. Since we are using such a small seam allowance for the band it’s a good idea to overcast the top raw edge of the pillowcase piece. Attach presser foot “J”, the standard presser foot, and change thread to match pillowcase fabric. Stitch along the edge with a narrow three step zig zag. See Figure #7a. Next, baste edge of piping to secure it to the top edge. See Figure #7b.

Figure #7a
Figure #7b

9. Lay the band on a flat surface with the right side facing up. Starting from the bottom and working toward the top, roll the pillowcase piece so it will fit within the folded band in the next step.
Tip: I like to roll the fabric around a yardstick and then remove it after rolling. See Figure #8.

Figure #8

Place the rolled pillowcase piece over the embroidered band with right sides facing and piped edge along top edge of band. See Figure #9a and Figure #9b.

Figure #9a
Figure #9b

10. Fold band piece and pin so rolled pillowcase is sandwiched in between, and the right side of the band is facing the wrong side of the piped edge. See Figure #10.

Figure #10

11. Change to the piping foot and select a straight stitch. Place rolled piece under the foot, with piping firmly underneath the channel in the foot. Adjust the needle position so the stitching line is snug against the piping. You’ll want to stitch using a seam allowance of approximately ¼-inch. I used a setting of 5.5. See enhanced photo with stitching line in Figure #11.

Tip: As an alternative you could switch to an adjustable zipper/cording foot for this step.

Figure #11

12. Sew the top edge of the pillowcase to both layers of the band, making sure that you’re stitching through just the three pinned layers, and taking care that the rolled pillowcase piece is not caught in the seam.
13. Now, begin the process of pulling the pillowcase through the band, easing the pillowcase through the tube formed by the stitched band. This will take a bit of effort but eventually the whole piece will magically turn through the opening. See Figure #12.

Figure #12

14. Give the piece a good pressing. To finish the pillowcase neatly, you’ll want to sew enclosed seams, otherwise known as French seams on the side and bottom. To reduce bulk before sewing the seam, use tweezers to pull out and trim away a ½-inch piece of cording at each end. See Figure #13.

Figure #13

Follow instructions below for sewing the enclosed seam:

  • Pin side seams with wrong sides together. See Figure #14.
Figure #14
  • Sew a scant ¼-inch seam along the side. See Figure #15.
Figure #15
  • Trim any loose threads. Press seam flat and then pin with right sides together. See Figure #16.
Figure #16
  • Sew the second seam using a 3/8-inch seam allowance, fully enclosing the first one. See Figure #17.
Figure #17
  • Repeat steps for an enclosed bottom seam. Turn pillowcase right side out and press.

You are finished! Enjoy!

Options and Ideas:

  • Take a look at our Quick Tip for this month and you’ll find instructions for creating a simple blanket stitch using the exclusive Brother My Custom Stitch feature found on many machine models.
  • As an alternative to cutting the band oversized, you can use the trimmed size of 9 ½-inches and attach the band to adhesive backed stabilizer for the embroidery.
  • Other trim such as rick rack, lace, or a contrast fabric strip can serve as a substitute for the piping if you wish.
  • Feb_2020_Hugs & Kisses Pillowcase PDF


  • Thank you very much for the piping idea. I’m sure I will find use for it. Thank you also for the “Love Never Fails” Design.

    • It’s great to hear your thoughts Reba! We’re so glad you enjoyed the LOVE-ly design 🙂 I bet you’ll find yourself using this piping technique more than once. Enjoy!

    • Thanks for chiming in here Linda! You’ll find the piping techniqe easy with the pearl foot. The kind of piping you normally find in a small package fits perfectly under the foot. Watch for a tutorial this month with instructions for making a blanket stitch with your Brother machine. Happy Sewing!

  • Clever idea on the piping Joanne! I have not seen that before.
    I love this pillowcase method, the only thing I do differently is machine baste the band to the pillowcase first and then roll it. I find it a little easier to manage the layers of fabric.
    Thanks for the ideas,
    Joann Telzrow

    • Hi Joann! It was really great to see your comment here 🙂 Thanks for mentioning the idea of basting the layers together, that would certainly help keep things under control. I tend to use lots of pins but the extra step of basting is even better. I like to say “there’s a time and place to baste” and this would be a good addition to the instructions. It is fun to make the piping with the look of stripes. I hope you’ll give it a try. Happy sewing my friend!

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments Brenda! It means so much to get your feedback. I’m actually planning new projects for the next season of It’s Sew Easy today. And of course here at Brother we have many interesting projects to present throughout out the year. Please stay in touch and continue to share your thoughts in the future. Happy Sewing!

  • This is another fabulous project, Joanne. I especially like your very, very clear instructions for the striped piping (love it but have never tried it but now I will!!) and the hem. Thanks!

  • This was a fun project to make! I love your idea for the blanket stitch on the piping! I would have never thought to do that. It was a first for me!

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Caroline! The “striped” piping is fun, easy, and a great accent! I’m sure you’ll find some creative ways to use this neat technique. I appreciate getting your feedback, it’s always great to hear from you 🙂

  • Perfect timing for this project… I am making two pillow cases for my little grandson who just turned three last Saturday. I did make him a quilt so he did get something on his special day. You have so many good tips and pictures for us in any sewing project you do , makes it so easy for us to follow and have great results. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much for your note Christy! I’m so glad I got to see your really cool boy quilt. You make the best gifts!!!

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