Tutorial: The Mini Pillow...and Pillowcase

Tutorial: The Mini Pillow...and Pillowcase

This past December I was making all my "kids" and significant others a Christmas pillowcase and wanted to include my granddaughter Ava...


She was just 14 months old at the time and couldn't handle a standard pillow, so I thought I would make a small custom pillow and pillowcase that she could carry around and play with. (this is just for fun...she doesn't sleep with a pillow yet)

It turned out so cute

and I meant to write up a tutorial at the time...but life happened... 


Then my daughter asked for another pillowcase, she said..."maybe Ava should have something other than the Christmas one", lol...

So I figured I would multi task and write up the tutorial as I sewed Ava a few pillowcases...


Turns out, I did not write great notes for myself, its taken a bit longer to get the right measurements to share... and a mistake turned into a fun alternative design....

What do you do when you cut the pattern too short?? Add more contrasting cute!!

Before I share my tweaks, I want to share the link to the PDF pattern I found when I was making the standard pillowcases. There are lots of options out there, just Google French Seamed pillowcase or Burrito pillowcase and you will find lots of inspiration....

Here is the link to the PDF pattern  

Once you print the PDF pattern you can just add my measurements to it and follow the PDF if you prefer...or continue on with my pictorial...

Small Pillow 

Approx. size: 15" x 12"

Pillow: Cotton fabric or Muslin fabric and some Fibrefill stuffing

Pillowcase: 3 different Cotton fabrics for pillowcase (2 if you don't want to add the flange)

Prewash and dry all your don't want your pillowcase to shrink and possibly not fit the pillow later.

For each pillow cut (1) 23.5" x 16.5" rectangle of white cotton or muslin

  1. Fold your fabric right sides together along the 23.5" length, bringing your 16.5" raw edges together (your pillow should be 11.75" x 16.5") Sew around the 3 raw edges with a 1/2" seam leaving an opening for adding the fibrefill. 
  2. Turn your pillow right side out and stuff. I pulled and fluffed the fibrefill and gently pushed it into the pillow keeping the pillow fairly flat.
  3. Make sure the seam allowance is pressed inside the pillow at the opening and if you have a label you like to sew into your project now is the time to add it. Then pin the opening closed and topstitch, or if you prefer hand sew the opening shut with a slip stitch.

Pillow Case:

For each pillowcase you will cut:

  1. (1) 17" x 26" rectangle (pillow body)
  2. (1) 8" x 26" rectangle (pillow cuff)
  3. (1) 2" x 26" rectangle (decorative flange)


Press your 2" x 26" rectangle in half making it a  1" x 26" rectangle

Lay your band piece right side up with the 26" length running horizontally. Then place the pillow body piece right side up on top, matching the 26" raw edges. Now add the flange piece, again matching the raw edges. Pin together. Roll up the body piece, as shown in the picture below and fold the pillow band up over the pillow body and matching raw edges pin to the flange sandwich you created. Stitch all layers together along that top edge with a 1/4" seam.


Now reach into the tube you created and gently pull out the pillow body fabric roll. Once everything is turned right side out, give this a good press and topstitch the band if desired...and the flange can be topstitched down if you want too (saves having to press it every time you wash it)

French Seam: Fold your pillow fabric in half along the 26" length wrong sides together, right side facing out. Pin (check the band and flange while pinning to make sure they are aligned) and sew along the side and across the bottom of the pillow with an 1/8" seam allowance. Trim fray. Turn wrong side out and press well. Make sure your seams and corners are all pulled out and pressed flat. Then sew again with a 1/4 - 1/3" seam allowances ( you will want to check again for band and flange alignment and maybe add a pin or 2). Turn right side out and push out your corners again and press well. And you're  done!!


Now that you have complete the pillow as originally's option 2...remember that mistake I mentioned earlier....This is how you save your project when you cut your fabric too now... just because it turned out so cute! Some "mistakes" are just meant to be!!

You add another band of contrasting fabric at the bottom to make up the difference....

You add another band of contrasting fabric at the bottom to make up the difference....

Pillow Case Option 2:


  1. (1) 15.5" x 26" rectangle (pillow body)
  2. (1) 2.5" x 26" rectangle (pillow body add on)
  3. (1) 8" x 26" rectangle (band)
  4. (1) 2" x 26" rectangle (flange)

Sew the 2.5" x 26" rectangle to the 15.5" x 26" rectangle along the 26" edge with a 1/2" seam. If you want a fully enclosed seam, you could use a serger if you have one or use a french seam again, or pinking shears....

Once the two pieces are together continue on as the original pattern. 

Directional Fabric Tips:

When I chose my fabrics I wasn't even paying attention to the fact that the one set of three I chose had two directional fabric prints...go figure! I had a brief moment of panic...but forged on...

Here's what I learned: No need to panic!!

Just lay your directional prints all right side up when you are laying out your pieces...


Make sure the band, the pillow body and the flange are all looking at you right side up before you roll up the pillow body fabric and flip over the band and pin it creating your tube or burrito and you are golden!

So no need to shy away from any print you may like or want to try for your next pillowcase!

Well I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and you have a grandchild or child with a dolly that you can try this pattern out on...or maybe you were just looking for a travel sized pillow....

Have fun choosing fabric combinations and I can't wait to see what you come up with! 

Please tag me on IG or FB if you share!! 

If you are looking for great fabric and a good deal Sew Sisters is always adding great fabrics to their Clearance section....


Happy Sewing and have a great weekend everyone!




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Summer Time Crazy...Not Much Sewing but a Lovely Wedding!!