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Trimming Pillowcases

Jazz up your pillowcases with any scraps of fabric you have on hand.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 1994


Leftovers are the bane of the sewing room as well as the kitchen. But the same creativity that inspired cassoulet can save odd lengths of fabric from ragbag ignominy.


One idea: Use strips of cloth or lace to trim the opening of a cotton pillowcase. A monogrammed handkerchief from a flea market can be folded diagonally and machine-stitched to a pillowcase, creating a wonderful gift for someone with the right initial.



  • Pillowcase
  • Pencil
  • Cotton tape
  • Needle
  • Matching thread
  • Colorfast ribbon
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine


  1. To make the ties, turn a pillowcase inside out, and fold it in half lengthwise. Make a dot 2 1/2 inches from the side and 7 inches from the fold. Repeat on other side.
  2. Cut thin cotton tape into eight 10-inch pieces. Fold an end of tape under, and hand-stitch onto pillowcase at each marked spot. Knot the loose ends, and allow tape extending from knot to fray; tie into bows.
  3. To make a ribbon border, launder a length of colorfast ribbon. Open pillowcase seam about 3 or 4 inches. Place end of ribbons along open seam, and pin around pillowcase 1/2 to 3 inches from edge. Sew along ribbon edges, and finish by sewing the pillowcase seam closed.

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