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Burrito Style Pillowcases: You Asked 4 It

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Pillowcases are always fast and fun, and they make a great beginner project. We have lots of easy options in the Sew4Home Project Index, several of which we've linked to below, but we've also gotten a number of requests to demonstrate a construction technique known as "burrito style." It creates nicely finished seams inside and out with an easy roll-and-turn method. We used prints from the licensed Frozen® fabric collection from our friends at Fabric Depot. 

A new pillowcase or two is a great way to freshen bed lines. It's also a good incentive for nap time cooperation. 

This design features three coodinating fabrics for each pillowcase: one for the body, one for the contrasting cuff, and a third for the accent flange. The flange is optional, but adds a nice pop of color between the two main fabrics. 

Our thanks to Fabric Depot for providing the popular Frozen® fabric for our pillowcase samples. Licensed fabric collections are a great way to celebrate someone's favorite movie, hobby, sports team, and more. Fabric Depot has a category search page that makes it easy to search by theme.  

A set of pillowcases makes a unique gift. Add a matching book or stuffed toy for a fan-favorite birthday bundle. 

Our pillowcase finishes to fit a standard sized pillow insert: approximately 19½" high x 30", including the 4½" cuff and 1" flange. 

If you like these pillowcases, try some of our other pillowcase projects listed below. They are made with the more traditional construction technique, but could certainly be adapted to use this burrito technique. For even more, browse our Project Index.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies


Fabric amounts shown are for ONE pillowcase

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the body of the pillowcase, cut ONE 27" high x 41" wide rectangle. 
    NOTE: Take the time to make sure your rectangle cut is straight and your corners are true 90˚ angles; this will insure the finished case lays nice and flat over the pillow.
  2. From the fabric for the pillowcase cuff, cut ONE 10" high x 41" wide rectangle. 
  3. From the fabric for the flange accent, cut ONE 3" high x 41" wide strip.
    NOTE: If using a directional print, remember to check that your motif is running right side up prior to cutting.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Fold the cuff wrong sides together (so it is now 5" x 41") and press to set a center crease. Set aside.
  2. Fold the flange wrong sides together (so it is now 1½" x 41") and. Set aside. 
  3. Place the pillowcase body right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  4. Place the folded flange along the top 41" raw edge of the pillowcase body. The raw edges of the folded flange should be flush with the raw edge of the body panel. If your fabric is directional, make sure you are working with the top edge of the body panel. 
    NOTE: We simply pinned the flange in place. If you are worried about shifting, you could machine baste in place for added security. 
  5. Unfold the cuff and place it right sides together along the top edge, sandwiching the flange between the layers. As above, if using a directional print, you at pinning the very bottom edge of the cuff atainst the top edge of the pillowcase body.
  6. Starting at the bottom edge of the pillowcase body, begin rolling the body up towards the cuff/flange at the top of the pillowcase. Keep the roll fairly tight, about 3" in diameter; it needs to fit within the cuff. In the photo below, we folded the cuff up and away to reveal the flange underneath so you can see about how close we are getting with our rolled fabric.
  7. When you've rolled almost all the way up to the top, flip over the whole thing. Now the fabric roll is wrong side up. The cuff is right side up and flat so its original center crease line is visible. 
  8. Now comes the "burrito" part. Wrap the cuff around the fabric roll. The cuff is right sides together, its top raw edges are aligned, and the fabric roll is between the layers of the cuff... like the filling of a burrito! Pin along the top raw edges. Remember, the flange is sandwiched between the layers as well, so you are pinning through all five layers: two cuff layers, two flange layers, and one body layer.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch across the full 41" width. 
  10. You now have a full burrito.
  11. Turn the case right side out thought one end of the burrito.
  12. From the right side, press the flange down towards the body of the pillowcase and re-press the cuff along its center crease line, which should now be the top edge of the case.
  13. The pillowcase is finished with a French Seam. To do this, fold the case in half WRONG sides together. Pin along the side and across the bottom. Make sure the flange ends are flush with one another along the side.
  14. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch along the side...
  15. ... and across the bottom, pivoting at the corner. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep a precise seam. 
  16. Clip the sewn corner at a diagonal, making sure to not cut into the seam.
  17. Turn the pillowcase wrong side out through the open top. Push out the corners so they are square and press the case flat. 
  18. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch again along the side and across the bottom, again pivoting at the corner. We switched back to our Satin Stitch foot for this seam. This new seam encases the seam allowance of the first, narrower seam, forming a clean finish. 

    For more about the French Seam and other machine sewn finishes, check out our four-part series, which starts here with Most Popular
  19. Turn the pillowcase right side out again and press. Your case is complete with finished seams all around. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructions: Debbie Guild


Comments (22)

Cyndi said:
Cyndi's picture

How does this pillowcase compare to the tutorial for "Linens:Restful Rose-Banded Pillowcases with Honey Bun Accents"?  I've sewn those and they turn out lovely, will the Burrito Pillowcase have the same quality when completed?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Cyndi - this is really just an alternate technique. The finished quality will really depend more on the fabric you choose and the time you take to sew it up nicely. We were pleased with the results. 

Jan51 said:
Jan51's picture

I wish the fabric instrucions had been a little closer to what I actually need. I am making two pillowcases for little boys (charity project for a wish list), and having bought two yard of fabric as instructed, I now have half a yard of fairly expensive Spider-Man fabric left over. I'll be hard pressed to think of anything else to use it for! Perhaps the instructions could indicate how much you'll actually use ( a 27" length), and I could have made my own judgment about how much wiggle roomto add for any mis-measuring of my fabric store. Next time I'll read the whole instructions (it's hard to read it all on a  phone), but I thought I could trust the cutting list. 

Jan51 said:
Jan51's picture

I'm grateful for the clear instructions, but I just wish I weren't wasting fabric. Yes, I'm kind of a tightwad! Just a suggestion, for whatever it's worth. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Jan51 - So sorry you were disappointed. Since a 27" length is exactly 3/4 of a yard, we do usually err on the side of rounding up since cuts from the store can sometimes be inaccuracte and as you mention, a bit extra does give you the ability to best center your motif. Plus, we would hate someone to not have enough - that is the worst. You're right that reading through is always helpful. Our cutting instructions are right after the supply list, so you don't have to delve too far into the project to determine the cuts. 

Anne A said:
Anne A's picture

There are some typing mistakes at step 6, which may explain readers' confusion.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Anne A - we don't see any errors - if you have a specific suggestion to clarify, let us know. 

Brenda H. Jones said:
Brenda H. Jones's picture

There are two errors at step six.  Read it carefully and you will see it.  I know how hard it is to catch one's own mistakes, but these are pretty blatant.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Brenda - there was a missing "at" - it has been fixed. If there's anything else, please let us know and we're happy to correct it.

Winny said:
Winny's picture

It doesn't look lIke they have a "pocket" to keep the pillow in the case, is that right? How come it doesn't start slipping off the end ? EspecIally with restless sleepers ...


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Winny - this is a standard open-end pillowcase - just like you'd buy at the store. It is sized for a standard pillow so the cuff extends beyond the pillow, which is usually plenty to keep the pillow inside the case. 

GingerC said:
GingerC's picture

And now you need a tutorial to make a set of sheets. Lol. I made fitted crib sheets. I imagine it is the same just a larger scale. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ GingerC - we will add it to our You Asked 4 It list 

Bonnie Bell said:
Bonnie Bell's picture

Like this but need tomake  'John Deere' pillow... Do you have info?

Karen J said:
Karen J's picture

I have made tons of these for charity. I use a serger to finish my inside edges. It is not as nice looking as french seams, but it is faster when you are doing a lot at once.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Karen J - that is certainly and option for those with a serger - and yes -- extra speedy. Thanks for the suggestion.

Kay A. said:
Kay A.'s picture

Well, I would love to make some of these.  But to me the instructions got clear as mud with #6.  I couldn't tell what what going on in the pictures.  And what is a French seam?  These are so cute and I want to make some.  Thanks!

Brenda T said:
Brenda T's picture

Kay, Missouri Star Quilts has a video on this way to make pillowcases that will help you understand the directions at #6.  They are so much fun to make.  I didn't know how to do the french seam down the side and bottom though.  That has been helpful with this tutorial.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kay A - you are simply rolling up the main body of the fabric. Start at the bottom edge and roll up towards the layered flange and cuff at the top. As mentioned in the steps above, we simply folded back the single layer of the cuff in our photo so you could see how close we were getting towards the top, then flip the whole thing over and wrap the cuff around the roll. We show you the steps to make a French seam. Those are the final steps shown. If you want to know more about French Seams, we have a full tutorial: http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/machine-sewn-s...

Jane Coombs said:

I have made at least there dozen of these. I have even torn apart some of my own and remade them. You want the flange, otherwise they seem undressed. Last Xmas I made them out of flannelette. A great opportunity to inflict your whimsy on the lucky recipients. Thanks for your tutorial. I had asked for it.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jane Coombs - yes! several folks had asked about this style of pillowcase - it sounds like you already figured it out if you've already made a few dozen!!

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