A pillowcase may be the last thing you think of as a craft item, but there are many great projects you can make with pillowcases.
Choose a pillowcase that coordinates with your decor. Using a seam ripper, carefully rip out the existing seams, and iron the pillowcase until it is free of creases. Double hem each edge. To achieve a double hem, fold the top and bottom edges over one inch and iron. Fold the pressed section over one more inch and press it into place. Sew the hem down or fuse with hem tape. Use a two-inch fold when hemming the sides. Add beaded trim, fringe, or lace to the top and bottom edges.
To make a valance, rip out the seams and press the case as described above. Double hem each edge using a one-inch fold. Next, fold the top edge down four and one half inches and press into place. Measure down three inches from the crease and sew a straight line across the length of the fabric. This will create a ruffle. Then sew the lower edge of the four and one half inch flap to the main fabric to create a rod pocket. King size pillowcases are great for this project, but depending on the width of your window, you may need to sew more than one pillowcase together.
A thick, solid colored, standard pillowcase works best for this project. Sew or glue pieces of colored felt to the pillowcase making outlines of different shapes. These will be "picture frames" for drawings and doodles made by your child (with washable markers). When the surface is covered with artwork, simply wash the pillowcase and let your little artist start all over. Just make sure you use a washable pillow underneath, or one that you do not mind having marked up.
Create a frame around the edge of a solid colored standard pillowcase using fabric in your child's favorite color. Add lace or trim to the outside edges if desired. Place the pillow inside and stitch the mouth of the pillowcase closed. Give your child permanent markers or fabric paints and let her have her friends sign the pillow. This is a great addition to any slumber party, and your child will have a keepsake from the event.
Baby Doll Sleeping Bag
Use a standard sized pillowcase, and cut away five or six inches from the bottom and about three inches from one side of the pillowcase, to make a sleeping bag for an average sized baby doll. Hem the side edges one half inch - you do not need a double hem. Turn the case inside out and sew the bottom closed. Add snaps, buttons, Velcro, or ribbons along the side for easy opening and closing. Add a bit of lace around the top edge for decoration, and glue or sew on tiny satin ribbons or rosettes.
Laundry Bag or Sleeping Bag Carrier
You will need at least a queen size pillowcase for a sleeping bag carrier and a king size case to make a laundry bag. Turn the pillowcase inside out. Double hem the top hedge using a one-inch fold. Fold the hemmed edge down two inches and press into place with a warm iron. You will need about one yard of heavy string or thin rope (clothesline works great). Starting at one corner, tuck the string under the folded edge and push it as close to the top edge as possible - make sure you leave a few extra inches of loose string when you start. Pin the edge down with straight pins and sew into place. Leave a half-inch opening at the corner so the ends of the string can poke through. Tie knots in both ends of the string so the ends will not slip back into the hole. You may want to add a grommet to keep the edges of the hole from fraying. You can find a grommet tool at any craft store.
Measure a standard size pillowcase and cut out a piece of fabric the same size. Turn the pillowcase inside out and stitch the fabric to it to make a lining. Cover an eighteen inch by three-inch piece of cardboard with the same fabric and glue it in place in the bottom of the bag. Hem the open edge of the pillowcase. A half-inch hem is sufficient. Next, fold the hemmed edge over about one and one-half inches and press into place. Cut two strips of cardboard one inch wide. Since standard pillowcases are about twenty inches wide, these strips should be about nineteen and one half inches long. Slide the cardboard strips under the folded edge, pin the edge with straight pins, and sew into place. Add grommets at each corner on both sides of the bag. Use clothesline or thin rope for handles. The handles can be any length that is comfortable for you. Slide one end of each rope handle through a grommet and tie a knot large enough to keep it from slipping through. These totes make great overnight bags for slumber parties and make handy shopping bags or beach bags.
Holiday Chair Covers
Slipcover straight back chairs with pillowcases decorated to represent a holiday. Just decorate as desired and slip over the back of the chair. Glue on felt or use stencils and fabric paint. To make Santa's beard or a snowman for Christmas hot glue cotton balls to the pillowcase. Buttons and beads are good objects to use for eyes. An Easter bunny with felt ears flopping over the top of the chair and pipe cleaner whiskers will also give a three-dimensional effect to your holiday decorations. These covers are so simple and fun to make that you will want to make a set for every holiday.
As you can see, pillowcases are not just for the bedroom any more. There are many creative uses for them, and with a little imagination, you are sure to discover fun ideas of your own.