A Handmade Gift for a Child : Kid Sized Pillowcases

There’s a dear young lady in my life, for whom I make a gift every Christmas. She is my cousin Lisa’s little girl, Delilah, and she’s now 6 years old.

It’s always fun, if somewhat challenging, to come up with a good, age-appropriate, idea for something to make her each year. So far there have been: a semi-quilted blanket, a cat doll made from socks, with clothes, a crocheted cross-body purse, and a crocheted garland decoration for her room. (Links for each below)

↑ This year’s handmade gift for Delilah. ↑

Imagining that regular sized bed pillows are kind of large for little people, I made her some pillow cases to go over a kid-sized pillow, which is actually an insert for decorative cushions you would use on a sofa. The one I found (at Michaels, at Richmond and John Street) is 12 inches by 16. It has a cotton/poly cover, is hypo-allergenic and is machine washable.

↑ These have a zipper so puffiness can be customized. ↑

I made two pillow cases to fit the small pillow, from pieces of coordinating cotton fabric, sold in a bundle of “fat quarters”, that are meant for quilting. (The bundle also came from Michaels, and was actually the inspiration for the whole project. They offer several different print combinations, so it was hard to choose, but the mushrooms were the clincher in my case.)

“Fat quarters” are a way fabric suppliers sell quilting cotton, so users can make better use of the pieces, where a yard of fabric is cut into four quarters that are each 18″ by 22″, rather than four narrow strips measuring 9″ x 44″.

Each fat quarter was nearly perfectly sized to make one side of the pillowcase to fit the insert. I used four of the five in my bundle, which resulted in cases that have a different print on each side. This was apparently a plus with Delilah. It gives her four prints to choose from, instead of two. I’m told the owls are her favourite.

According to my cousin, the gift was a hit : “The child sized pillow is so perfect for Delilah – those pillow cases you made a ADORABLE! I love the fabrics you chose – the mushrooms and owls are the cutest ever! Pink and purple are her favourites too. It’s funny but for the last year I have been wanting to get Delilah a small pillow because the adult ones are just too big for her neck but I have never gotten around to doing so. The pillow is used and loved every night!

↑ Shown with standard size bed pillow. ↑

How to Make the Small-Sized Pillowcases :

The pillowcases were easy to make with a sewing machine.

As mentioned, each fat quarter was nearly the right size to use for one side. I trimmed 4 inches off the long end, so, ending up with two pieces that were 14 x 22 inches in size, per pillow case. Note that the fabric I used came pre-washed, therefore pre-shrunken. Since cotton does shrink when washed, I suggest you wash and machine dry before measuring, if yours doesn’t come that way.

Choose thread that matches or coordinates with your print, because a line of stitching will show on the outside of the pillowcase. If you can find 100% cotton thread, go with that, however, I used a cotton/polyester blend “all-purpose” thread.

Then you just sew the pieces together, right-sides facing one another, along three sides (leaving one short side open), with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Turned the “bag” right-side-out and iron it, gently picking the corners with a straight pin, so they’re sharp. To finish the open end, iron a hem of about 1/2 around (so the raw edge will be hidden, and then another one, about 2 1/2 inches. Stitch hem down. This will result in the stitches showing on the outside of the pillow case, however, if you use matching thread (and sew a neat line!), it looks fine.

Finished pillowcase is about 13 x 19 inches, to fit on cushion forms that are 12 x 16 inches.

(In hindsight, I could have done fancier “French seams” when I sewed the three sides together, to prevent fraying, but I didn’t. So, the cotton will fray a little when washed, but that won’t effect the usability, and it will be hidden on the inside, so shouldn’t be a problem. A trim with pinking-sheers would help with that, if you have some. That being so, let’s call these an “easy, if not perfect” way to make pillowcases.)

↑ Wrapped for giving, topped with one of these crocheted stockings. Since this was being sent in the mail, where the size of the package is a factor when determining shipping cost, I made it smaller by squashing the pillow into a shoe box. It poofed up fine when released. ↑

Delilah and her family live a plane-ride away, so part of the fun of the “handmade Christmas gift” tradition from my point of view, have been the lovely photographs my cousin sends me, of D enjoying what I’ve sent. They are shared with the permission of Lisa and her husband.

It’s been great having a series of pictures of her, taken around the same time every year. I’ve gotten the chance to see her grow and change from afar.

↑ My cousin made Delilah’s cute pj pants! ↑

If you’re trying to come up with handmade gift idea for a child and you have a sewing machine, I hope you’ll give this a try.

A big thank you to Delilah and Lisa for the photos. They also enjoy making things and sent me a very nice handmade gift for Christmas, which I love! Here’s a picture of it.

Wishing you a great weekend,
xo Loulou