Giving Thanks – Quilter’s Blog Hop Party: Elf on a Shelf Pillowcase How-To

The Elf on a Shelf fabric seems to be a bestseller this year! At my most recent quilt event, there were many pillowcases made for the little ones to sleep on during December. Today, participating in the Giving Thanks – Quilters’ Blog Hop Party, I thought I would share a little how-to, including a video. I will also be sharing some Elf on a Shelf fabric with one lucky reader who will receive two pillowcase kits, cut and ready to sew. To enter the giveaway, simply add a comment to this post describing one holiday project you are working on. The give-away is open through November 26.

I’ve been making pillowcases for years, especially during the time I served as a regional coordinator for the not-for-profit group ConKerr Cancer, A Case for Smiles. It is such a wonderful organization that delivers pillowcases to hospitalized children that are battling cancer and other life-altering illnesses. My volunteers and I especially like to make pillowcases using the “hot dog” method, also known as the “burrito” method, which is how I quickly made the one in the video.


What You’ll Need

Pillowcase Body fabric – 3/4 yard fabric, cut 26 1/2″ x 40 1/2″

Pillowcase Cuff fabric (contrasting with Body fabric) – 1/3 yard, cut 10 1/2″ x  40 1/2″

Note: any measurements close to this will work, some people like larger cuffs, some smaller, as long as a pillow fits.

Step 1. Place pieces right sides together, cuff on bottom, body of case on top. Be aware of any directional fabrics. Pin across sparingly as these pins will be removed in the Step 3.


Step 1

Step 2.  Roll up the body of the pillowcase towards the pinned edge to about an inch or two from the top.


Step 2

Step 3. Carefully fold the bottom of the cuff up around the rolled body creating the “hot dog”, pin all 3 layers in place. Here is where the first pins are removed. Use more pins for this step if necessary.


Step 3

"hot dogs" ready for chain-piecing

“hot dogs” ready for chain-piecing

If making several pillowcases at once, make up all your “hot dogs” and chain piece.

Step 4. Sew a 1/4″ – 1/2″ seam along the pinned edge. Remove pins as you sew.


Step 4

Step 5. Pull out the cuff fabric from inside the bun – carefully – and you’ll find the cuff securely fastened with enclosed seams. Press towards the cuff and if desired, top stitch the cuff in place with matching or coordinating thread.


Step 5 – pulling cuff from the inside


Ready to press . . .


Optional topstitching


Pillowcases ready for Step 6 – completion!

Step 6. Fold your pillowcase right sides together, stitch down the side and across the bottom. Serge, overcast stitch or straight stitch with an added zig-zag are recommended as these pillowcases are sure to be in and out of the washing machine. Press and you are finished!


Making pillowcases is a fun, easy project, especially at the holidays. Try it and you’ll be looking at fabric differently, thinking what a great pillowcase that would be!

Welcome to all new readers, thanks to the Giving Thanks – Quilters’ Blog Hop Party. If you enjoyed the post and want to follow me in my quilting adventures, subscribe to the right. And don’t forget to check out the other participating blogs, they are awesome!

Up next for December – I’ll be sharing my holiday projects.


88 responses

  1. I have just finished a table runner from Winter’s Lane fabrics. It will be a Christmas gift and I think it could be used through the winter. I still have more gifts to make, but they will have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

  2. Next week I’m planning to start sewing pjs. Love the pillowcases, Made them for grandchildren last year with extra for our homeless shelter. I could make holiday theme ones this year. Thanks.

  3. I am working on a Christmas stocking for my new baby granddaughter that my son and his wife are adopting. Such fun! Thanks for the great tutorial, I shall try this soon.

  4. I’m working on some Christmas quilts – I have the tops finished & need to do the quilting. Thanks for the pillow case tutorial & the chance to win.

  5. I am making some christmas pillow covers for the couch, would love to make pillow cases for my kids with the elf on the shelf, thanks for the chance.

    • This is the first I have seen this elf on the shelf fabric. How fabulous it is. I would love to win this to make the pillow cases for my 2 kids. They would get a kick out of it for sure. conn_and_vans_mom atyahoodotcom

  6. I am working on Mug Rugs for my office, I started them last year, but got sick and didn’t finish them, so I am hoping to finish them this year-although, 🙂 I can feel allergies coming on again! Darn the winter pollen in Sunny California 🙂

  7. I have a whole list of things that I am working on. I am making pajamas for my sisters, they have very long legs and can’t wear store bought without looking silly after a few washes, place mats for my mother, and a quilt. Thanks for the giveaway. That fabric is super cute.

  8. My Granddaughter is in 1st grade and has to have a Peacock costume for her Christmas program…really a Peacock??? Wish me lots of luck as this will be a challenge.

  9. You did a great job on the tutorial. I am thinking I can squeeze in a couple of these for the grands. I made my first tote bag and will be making two more for gifts. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. Eee gads! I’d be scared to start a Christmas project now. I did make myself and my sister a candy cane table topper and several gift card holders from Christmas fabric scraps. Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. How ironic! I have been making pillow caes for my little friends for Christmas with this method! I am making them for travel size pillow cases 14X 20. In fact, two of my remaining flittle friends I have to sew for are big into the Elf on the Shelf things. I would be honored to win and make their pillow cases for them.

  12. Getting ready to stitch some ornaments. Just finished a counted cross project for a friend. Thank you for giving away the pillowcase kit. I’ve never made a set.

  13. I am making some snowmen mug rugs to give as gifts to my friends. I am also making shopping bags out of Christmas fabric and will use them for wrapping presents. Then, instead of throwing away paper, I’ll be reusing them for shopping! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. What gorgeous fabrics. I love the pillowcase tutorial. Very easy to follow. Thanks for sharing. I am sewing a rainbow dress for my daughter at the moment. I have made one but she wants another one with pockets and a twirly skirt.

  15. Oh my- I have made two of these in the last week and I have two more cut. I’d love to add another couple. They are for the local children’s hospital. Thanks for participating in the blog hop.

  16. I am not currently working on anything right now because my machine is getting a check up. I hope to get it back in time to make some mug rugs for gifts. Elf on a Shelf is so cute. I know two little girls who would love these pillowcases. Thank you for sharing!

  17. I’m hand stitching ornaments that my kiddos (5 &6) are “designing” – such fun to collaborate with them! (My 6 year old is actually doing her own – but I’m on call to help 🙂

  18. Hi there! I am just finishing the quilting gallery stocking swap. I am also making a felted candle wrap that is Christmasy. Thanks for the chance to win!

  19. I just finished making three pillow cases for my great-nephews and great-niece. I made them just like your tutorial. I used such cute novelty fabrics too. I’m sure they will love them. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Rae (

  20. Pingback: My Top Five Posts of 2013! | Patches & Prints

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