Patient Pillowcases

September 25, 2020By Janice FergusonEmbroidery, Fonts, Foot/Feet, Home Decor, Projects, Sewing, Tutorial 14 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Pillow cases

When our loved ones have to spend time at the hospital, we want to shower them with attention and care – as well we should! The question is, what’s the best gift to brighten someone’s day? Flowers are sometimes forbidden and candy and homemade treats are often disallowed by dietary restrictions. That’s when it’s time to start crafting.  Special luxurious pima cotton pillow cases sewn and embroidered on our fabulous Brother machines with a message of love, can add comfort and cheer to any room. You can create an adorable birthing pillow to celebrate a friend’s latest addition, or craft a cozy patient pillow that Grandma can proudly show off to nurses and fellow patients alike! Not only do these useful beauties bring extra nurses in to see the unique linens, they remind your loved one that you are thinking of them. Best of all, your loved one will be able to bring their pillow home with them to treasure for years to come.

These embroidered pillow slips are easily and quickly made.  Make your family member or dear friend smile, and let them know how special you know they truly are. As an added benefit, you might learn a new technique for an enclosed hem treatment (not the burrito trick). So let’s sew!

Note: These were made on my Brother Dream 2 in the 8 x 12 frame.  It also could be made in the 5 x 7 frame by rehooping.  

Requirements for each queen size pillowcase ~~ finished size 21 x 30”

NOTE:  Apparently, my pillows are extra fluffy as stuffing them into a 20” case is a struggle.  I prefer to make pillowcases 21” wide so these instructions reflect that preference.  If you require standard sizes, adjust measurements accordingly.


  • Pima cotton 29” along selvage x 43-45” (width of fabric) to be folded vertically to 28” x 21 1/2 “ -22 ½”
  • Extra pima cotton for design practice
  • Gingham hem border 7 x 43” (width of fabric), blue for John, pink for Miranda
  • Solid blue trim for JOHN pillowcase 2 ½“ x 43-45” (width of fabric)
  • Solid pink trim for MIRANDA pillowcase 2” x 43-45” (width of fabric)
  • NOTE: At time of construction, the folded width of the pillowcase will be trimmed to 21 ½ “.  Until then, all measurements are taken from the fold. 
  • Water soluble stabilizer Brother SA540 water soluble stabilizer
  • Notions: heat erasable or water soluble marking pen, thread: embroidery and sewing, optional: monofilament
  • Embroidery designs: FREE DOWNLOAD CLICK HERE  and file from BES4 Software used below (similar alternatives from or your personal design library)
  • Brother Dream Machine or another Brother Embroidery Machine
  • Feet: J multipurpose foot, edge stitch foot, optional: side cutter or overcast foot


  1. Seam allowances are ½” except where otherwise noted.
  2. Prewash, starch and press all fabric.
  3. Fold pima in half vertically and press, rendering each piece28 x 21 ½“ x 22 ½ “.
  4. Fold gingham in half horizontally, rendering each piece 3 ½“ x 43”. NOTE:  It is helpful to baste the raw edges together to prevent slippage when joining
  5. Fold trim in half horizontally, rending each piece 1 ¼ “.
  6. Embroider a “design rehearsal” on the fabric to be used for the actual patient pillowcase.On my “practice” piece on quilting cotton, both the John and Miranda designs were perfect.  But when stitched on pima cotton, they puckered and required reduced tension adjustment.

NOTE: On the pima, reduced tension of -2 gave best results.  On the quilting cotton “stitch rehearsal” no tension reduction was necessary.  I suggest practice stitch out on the actual fabric to be used for the patient pillowcase.


Blue Pillow Case

Blue ribbon design #144 from BES4

NOTE:  Embroidery foot height must be adjusted to .80 to avoid hanging up on satin stitch surrounding medallion part of ribbon.

Text from PE-Design

  1. Create text in PE-Design. Add blue ribbon design and #1. Save design.
  2. Load design into machine as shown.

Load Design onto Machine

  1. Hoop 2 layers of Brother SA540 water soluble stabilizer and pima cotton vertically . Center design 10 ½“ from  fold and 5 ¾“ from bottom raw edge.

Measurements on Fabric

  1. Embroider design. Remove fabric from frame, cut away excess stabilizer and soak to remove remainder.  When dry, starch and press.
  2. Trim 1” from hem edge. NOTE:  An extra 1” was added to the length in order for the fabric to be long enough to hoop.  After trimming away 1”, the fabric is 28” along the selvage.
  3. Stitch folded gingham to bottom of raw edge, with right side of gingham to wrong side of pima cotton WITH ¼‘ SEAM . Press seam toward pima cotton so seam is exposed on right side of pillowcase.

Attach Gingham Fabric

  1. Stitch folded trim to gingham raw edge WITH ½” SEAM. Press up toward pima. Grade seam.

Stitch Fabric Together

  1. Use edge stitch foot to stitch trim in place. Use a straight stitch or tiny zig zag.  Press completed hem.

Stitch Trim

  1. Begin stitching side seam at hem. Stitch top edge.  Finish both seams with zig zag or serge.
  2. Press seams flat and press entire pillowcase.

Done!  Ready to deliver to John in the hospital.

Finished Blue Pillow Case


Pink Pillow Case

Floral Swag design: BES4 Morango category, BF008.

Text from PE-Design

  1. Mark pima cotton as before except center design 10.5” from fold and 7” from bottom raw edge. NOTE: Miranda’s design is approximately 1 ½” deeper than John’s design so the center must be placed higher than John’s.

Mark and measure fabric

2. Load floral swag design and text into machine as shown.

Load Floral Design into machine

3. Hoop pima cotton vertically with 2 layers Brother SA540 water soluble stabilizer. Embroider design.

4. Remove embroidered fabric from frame. Cut away as much stabilizer as possible. Soak to thoroughly remove stabilizer, air dry, starch and press.

Embroidered Fabric

5. Trim 1” from hem edge, reducing length to 28”.

6. Seam gingham hem border (see step #3 at top in INSTRUCTIONS FOR BOTH CASES) to wrong side of pima with ¼ “ seam allowance.

7. Continue as John’s pillowcase Steps #9 through completion.

It’s hanging on  the clothesline.  Soon, peaceful rest, Miranda!

Featured Pillow Case


  • That’s the sweetest hospital gift ever! I would have never thought of this brilliant idea! My grandfather was recently in the hospital, hopefully not to return soon, but if he does, this is exactly what i will make him. Thank you for your thoughtful ideas and detailed instructions, so even I can make this!

  • Awesome work. I think the bright colors are really well chosen for the task of drawing attention to our loved ones.

    • Zahra, each of those extra nurse visits to look over the pillowcase is an extra look over the patient. That’s a good thing! I hope your grandfather doesn’t need one of these anytime soon, but you could stitch on up in a hurry if need be. Thanks for your sweet comment.

    • Becca, now that gray is the decorator color of choice, bright colors near the patient should perk him/her up. Thanks for noticing that aspect of the pillowcase. And thanks for your observant comment.

  • Janice, I love this idea ! You have created wonderful projects again and with detailed instructions!! I love your projects! Beautiful!

  • I love the pillowcases and the sweet designs. The perfect gift to brighten ones day. The instructions are wonderful! Your sewing is beautiful Janice as always❤️

    • Thank you, Jeanne for your kind comment. The pillowcases I have made for family have been a real hit with both the patients and the staff. Certainly, this is a project worth making.

  • This is the most useful , yet uplifting gift for anyone who isn’t quite as perky as they usually are. I love the bright colors and the not so subtle reminder to be kind to the patient. Very well done!

  • Rheeta, not only will this remind staff to “handle with loving care”, it also confirms his name, in addition to the name band. I love the extra attention my mother received from the nurses who came to see her pillowcases. Thanks for taking time to leave your kind comment.

  • These are so beautiful, and what a unique way to show your loved one you care! I absolutely love pima cotton, and this would make such a sweet unexpected gift to cheer up your loved one.

    • Laurel, you certainly have refined textile taste if you love pima cotton! I’m happy to know that you like these pillowcases. I hope you will make a set for a loved one if the need arises. Thank you for your kind comment.

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