Monday, March 22, 2010

Pillow case with embroidery insert

This is a pillow case with an embroidered insert. The first thing to do to make this pillow case is to figure out how much material it will need and how to cut it. The finished size of a standard pillow case is 19 1/2" X 29". Since we are going to have enclosed seams, we will need to add 3/4" to the length and 3/4" to both sides which changes our measurement to 21" X 30 1/4". Now, we have to figure out how much extra we need for the hem. I like to make my hem wide enough to completely enclose the back side of the insert. The insert window is approximately 4 inches in diameter, with 1 inch above and 1 1/2 inch below, and a half inch turn down to hide raw edges. This brings our length measurement to 37 1/4 inches. Multiply the width measurement by two (there of course are two sides) bringing it to 42 inches. So from a piece of Cotton fabric cut a piece that is 42" wide and 37 1/4" long.

Fold fabric in half lengthwise with the right sides facing out. Use 1/4 inch seam to sew the long side, and one end. Trim fabric on sewn edges down to 1/8 inch. Now turn wrong side out. Holding seam between fingers and thumb, work back and forth in a rolling fashion to get any folds or tucking out of the seam. Sew again using a half inch seam. This will totally enclose the seam. Turn up a 1/2 inch on the bottom to the back side, iron. Set this aside for now.

If you are using an iron on design, make sure it fits in a 4" circle. If you are making one that looks like mine, this is the steps I go thru to make this simple design. I measured all my dishes and found a small bowl with a 4" diameter top. I put it on a piece of white paper and traced around it. Then I folded the circle in half (holding it up to the light helps to make sure it is exactly in half).
Then I drew a half of a heart, turned it over, put it up against the window and traced the half a heart (This is to make sure the design is symmetrical). I drew a bow at the base, and alternating from inside to outside, I drew stems on both sides of the heart.

For the rose buds, I used the daisy stitch. Come up from the bottom at the point of a stem. Stick the needle back in at the same point and out slightly less than 1/16 of an inch away from the stem. Pull thread around the point of the needle as shown in the photo to the right.

Now put the needle point back in the same spot, making sure the loop will be caught and tacked in place.

Then, make another daisy stitch directly over this one but slightly larger. Using the same beginning point, make two more daisy stitches, one on each side, that are the same size as the first one, very close to the center one.

I use a decorative stem stitch to make the stems. This stitch is worked from left to right. Bring needle up through fabric on the line to be outlined. Holding thread toward you, take s short slanting back stitch along line. Make the next and each successive stitch from right to left and bring needle out to the left at the end of the previous stitch. repeat along line, keeping stitches small and uniform. At the end of that line, push needle down through the end of the line then bring it back up slightly to the right side. Look at the picture to the left, Turn your work slightly, stick the needle through the stem stitching only at an angle from left to right. this will make the thread wrap around the stem. Because the original stem stitch overlaps slightly, angling the needle will make the needle pass through two stitches at once. continue wrapping in this manor all the way up the stem. At the base of each rose make three small stitches, one from base to left side of rose, one from base to center of rose and the third from base to right side of the rose. Then use daisy stitches to make leaves up and down both sides of stem.

French knots are used to look like baby's breath around the roses. Bring needle up through material, wrap thread around the tip of the needle twice (in this picture, I am holding the tip of the needle with my left hand because I couldn't hold the needle and take the picture at the same time) close to the work, keeping the thread taunt.

Thrust needle downward 1 or 2 threads from where it was brought up. Pull the thread with your left hand slightly, working the knot down the needle. Push needle through to the back, drawing thread through carefully to form the knot on right side. Bring needle back up in position for the next french knot.

For the top part of the heart, use the decorative stem stitch.
For the bow, use regular stem stitch for all stitching lines and one more row of stem stitch down the center if you can see fabric between them. Then starting at one end, bring the needle up through the fabric on the right side. Going from left to right , pass needle straight under stitching close together giving it a raised satin stitch effect.

On freezer paper trace the same 4 inch circle used before, making sure there is at least 1 inch of paper all the way around on the outside of the circle. Cut the circle out. With wrong sides out,
fold pillow case in half with the fold side and seam line together and press this new fold. Measure up 7 1/2 inches from the turned up bottom edge on the fold line you just pressed and mark that spot. Now measure up 2 inches from that mark and make a large dot. Unfold pillowcase and with shinny side down, center the cut out circle over the large dot lining the edge of the circle with the mark. Cut fabric from the center leaving about a half inch of fabric all the way around. Cut this fabric on the inside of the circle about every 3/8 inch as shown in picture above. Use water soluble fabric to glue these little tags down to the freezer paper.

Turn pillow case right side out. Slide a small cutting mat or some other hard surface in the pillow case just under the window. Slide needle work in on top of the cutting mat and center it in the window. Pin in place. Use a blind stitch to sew window to needle work securely. Pull paper off the back. Use decorative stitches 1/2 inch around the outside of window. Trim excess fabric the back. Measure up hem (top edge of hem should come about 1 inch above window) and Blind stitch.


  1. you work faster than me that is for sure.

  2. I don't have 5 kids to take care of either. Only one of them is actually complete. I am still embroidering on the second one. I thought I would take the things I have finished to Ben Franklin's today with a sign that says "For free how to instructions visit my blog at " to see if I can get some local interest going.