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How Much Fabric Do You Need for a Pillowcase?

I have been on a mission lately to spruce up the overall design of my home, starting with an overhaul of my bedroom. However, I was incredibly frustrated to realize that the brand new bedding set I purchased did not come with enough pillowcases to cover all the pillows I sleep with. That got me heading straight to my craft room to figure out how much fabric I had on hand for a pillowcase.

Most standard pillowcases can be made with as little as one yard of fabric when making your own pillow covers. Even larger pillow sizes, like body pillows, take relatively little fabric to cover- up to one-and-a-half yards per pillowcase. This makes the process of hand-making pillow covers at home quite affordable and easy to complete as an afternoon project.

This article will explain the amount of fabric you will need if you choose to make pillowcases of your own. We will even walk you through how to make a simple standard-size pillowcase that you can rest your head on for your next night of sleep. In no time, you will be completely customizing your bedding and adding your own touch of style!

How Much Fabric for Pillowcase

How Much Fabric For a Pillowcase: Comparison Chart

Below is a quick comparison chart to determine how much fabric you will need to make a pillowcase. Pay attention to the dimensions of each pillow size to ensure you sew the correct size covers for the pillows you use.

Pillowcase Size Pillow Dimensions Fabric Needed
Throw 18 x 18 in. 5/8 yard
Travel 20 x 14 in. Slightly less than 1 yard
Standard 20 x 26 in. 1 yard
Super Standard 20 x 28 in. 1 yard
Queen 20 x 30 in. 1 1/4 yard
King 20 x 36 in. 1 1/4 yard
Body 20 x 54 in. 1 1/2 yard

These measurements assume you use a bolt of fabric 44-45 inches in width. It is strongly recommended that you buy at least 10% more fabric than required to ensure you have plenty to work with. This excess can also help compensate for any shrinking that happens when you wash and dry your material.

How Much Fabric Do You Need For a Pillowcase?

When you first think about making your own pillowcases, it can be tempting to just look at the dimensions of the pillow and cut fabric pieces to be the same size. If you have ever tried this method, you have probably figured out quickly that just cutting fabric to the same size as your pillow will not be enough to cover it fully. Most pillows tend to be thick and fluffy; extra fabric is needed to cover them entirely.

Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are common in most households and are one of the smallest pillows you will find for sale. Most standard throw pillows are approximately 18×18 inches (45×45 cm) in size and can take up to ⅝ of a yard of fabric to fully cover. Slightly more fabric may be necessary if you plan to add a decorative border or want the pillowcase to fit a bit looser on the pillow.

The simplest way to make a throw pillow cover is to cut a single piece of fabric measuring 18 x 40 inches. This gives you enough length to fully surround the pillow while also making a flap that allows you to insert the pillow easily. You can add zippers or other fasteners to your throw pillow covers, but these steps are more complicated and are not always necessary.

Travel Pillows

Travel pillows are far less common than throw pillows and tend to be thinner. These compact pillows typically measure no larger than 20×14 inches (51×35 cm) and are meant to be used on the go when you are traveling. Despite being the same width as most other standard pillows, travel pillows are much shorter and typically do not require as much fabric to make.

Most travel pillowcases take slightly less than one yard of fabric to complete. They will require around 1/2 of a yard to cover the body of the pillow and an added 1/3 of a yard to make the band along the edge where the pillow is inserted.

The two fabric pieces can be from the same material, or you can see this craft as an opportunity to use up some smaller fabric scraps you may have on hand. After all, it doesn’t matter what these pillows look like since they are only used during travel and are not a regular feature of your home decor.

Standard Pillows

The most common style of bed pillow is the standard pillow, and chances are this is the type of pillow you have in your bedroom. Standard pillows typically measure 20×26 inches (51×66 cm) in size and are fairly thick and fluffy. Most of the patterns you will see for making a pillowcase will be for standard pillows and will take around a yard of fabric to fully cover.

One yard of fabric is used for a basic standard pillowcase, but keep in mind that if you want the cover to have a flap, you will need a bit more fabric. In cases like this, expect to need more than 1 ½ yard of material. But all-in-all, these pillowcases do not require much fabric to sew and make an easy and affordable project for sewers of any skill level.

Super Standard Pillows

You might not be alone if you have never heard of a super standard pillow. At a measurement of 20×28 inches (51×76 cm), super standard pillows are almost identical to standard ones- except for the extra two inches in length. Even then, super standard pillowcases are almost identical in size to standard pillowcases and require a yard of fabric to sew.

If you have trouble finding the perfect pattern to make a super standard pillowcase, you are typically safe to substitute a standard pillow tutorial in its place. Simply add 2 inches to the length of the fabric you cut for your standard pillows and then follow the tutorial using the same steps.

Queen Pillows

As their name implies, queen pillows are designed to comfortably fit on a queen size bed. Their 20×30 inch (51×76 cm) size means that two queen-sized pillows can fit alongside each other across the top of a queen mattress and fully cover it. Because of this, they will need a slightly larger pillowcase than standard pillows.

Typically, queen-sized pillowcases will take around 1 ¼ yard of fabric to make. However, these pillows are often very thick and fluffy and may require as much as 1 ½ yards to fully cover. When in doubt, try to get slightly more fabric than you need to make sure you have enough on hand to fully cover your pillow inserts.

King Pillows

King pillows are one of the largest standard sizes of the pillow. Like a queen-size pillow, king pillows are designed so that two can fit alongside one another across the top of a king-size mattress. The average king-size pillow is 20×36 inches (51×92 cm) and is at least a couple of inches thick.

King pillowcases can typically be created with 1 ¼ to 1 ½ yard of fabric. Despite their larger size and the amount of fabric needed, king pillowcases are still very simple to make at home and affordable for any budget.

Body Pillows

Body pillows are the largest size of pillow you can typically find at most retail stores. On average, body pillows are about 20×54 inches (51×137 cm) in size. It is no surprise why pillowcases for these pillows require the largest amount of fabric out of any of the other sizes we have discussed here.

You should expect to use at least 1 ½ yards of fabric to cover any body pillows. However, unlike most of the other covers we have discussed here, these pillowcases are made with various fabrics. You can make your body pillow covers out of minky, faux fur, or any other fun and decorative fabrics.

How To Make a Standard Size Pillowcase

Standard Size Pillowcase

Most of the pillows you will find at your local home goods stores will be standard-size pillows and, therefore, need a standard-size pillowcase. Each pillowcase you make will require around one yard of fabric to complete. This project is incredibly beginner-friendly and should not take any longer than an hour to complete.

While you can use pretty much any type of fabric you want, cotton, flannel, and silk options are some of the most popular to choose from. Just be sure to select a fabric that will be comfortable to lay on and can be washed as needed.

Prepare and Cut Your Fabric

Before you cut your fabric, you should always wash your material and dry it to get any shrinking that will happen over and done with. If your pillowcase shrinks after sewn it, it is a strong possibility that the covering will not fit your pillow. You don’t want your hard work to be ruined after the first wash cycle you put it through.

If the fabric comes out wrinkled after you have washed it, steam or iron your material (assuming the fabric is heat safe). Then, you can begin measuring and cutting your fabric. To make your pillowcase, you need to cut your fabric into a single 44×36-inch portion.

Then, use your iron to press the shorter edges of the fabric towards the center by 1/2 inch. This gives you a clean edge to work with on what will eventually be the opening of the pillowcase.

Sewing the Pillow Cover

Once you have fully prepared your fabric, it is time to start sewing! Fold the fabric in half so the two short ends touch one another. The right side of the fabric should be facing the inside, while the wrong side should be visible on the outside. Pin the two pieces in place to keep your edges straight.

Using the straight stitch setting on your sewing machine, sew along the fabric’s top, bottom, and folded edge. The two short ends you folded over 1/2 inch should not be sewn during this step. Instead, fold these edges inward approximately 3 to 4 inches more toward the wrong side of the fabric.

Pin these folded-over pieces of fabric into place so they are even all around the pillowcase’s opening. Then, use a straight stitch to sew this folded fabric into place. This stitch will be visible on the outside of the pillowcase, so take care to make sure that it is nice and even.

You could also use a decorative stitch at this stage to give the pillowcase some added flair on the outside. A contrasting thread can also stand out against the pattern of your fabric. The choices are endless with how you style this pillowcase.

Once you have the folded-over fabric sewn into place, turn the pillowcase right side out and press it flat with your iron. Just like that, your pillowcase is done and ready to be used for your next night of sleep!

How Do You Make a Pillowcase With 1 Yard of Fabric?

One yard of fabric should be enough to make a pillowcase for any size of the pillow, ranging from a throw pillow to a super standard pillow. The steps we discussed above are for a pattern that uses one yard of fabric, so we recommend following them to make your pillowcases.

If you don’t have a standard-size pillow, you will need to make some simple modifications to the length of fabric you use. To begin, you need to make sure that you have an accurate measurement of the size of your pillow, either by looking at its tags or by consulting the chart we have included above. This will be used to measure the amount of fabric you need.

Find the length of the longest side of your pillow and multiply it by two. If you have enough fabric to work with, add an extra 4-6 inches to that measurement to create a band around the opening of your pillowcase. This final measurement is ideally how long your fabric piece needs to be.

Then, find the measurement of the shortest side of your pillow. Add two inches to this length. This number tells you how wide your fabric piece needs to be.

If your fabric is not long enough for the length you have calculated, you can cut an extra strip of material and sew it on separately to act as the band around the opening. You could also use a complimentary pattern or color of fabric to offset the material you used in the main body of your pillowcase.

Overall, you will find that pillows can be compressed to fit into a slightly smaller pillowcase if you find that one yard of fabric is not enough for your project. Either way, one yard should be enough fabric to make most typical pillows that are a super standard size or smaller.

How to Cut Fabric For Pillowcase

Before fabric can be cut for pillowcases, it is important that it is first washed and dried to get any shrinking out of the way before you start sewing your project. Many of the most commonly used fabrics for pillowcases, such as cotton or flannel, will shrink a great deal in the dryer. If you wait to dry your fabrics until finishing your pillowcase, it could shrink from being too small to fit your pillow.

Once the fabric has been prepared, it is typically cut into one long, rectangle-shaped piece that is then folded in half to make a pillow covering. This reduces the number of seams that need to be sewn while also creating a perfect opening for the pillow to slide into. Typically, this piece of fabric should be slightly wider than the pillow and at least twice the length.

Beyond that, it is important to make sure that you cut and fold the fabric so that any patterns are facing the way you want them to once the pillow is inserted into the pillowcase. Typically, the opening of the pillowcase will face toward the edge of the bed when the bed is made. You will want to keep this in mind throughout the process so that you do not end up with an upside-down pattern.


Making a pillowcase at home is one of the easiest ways to bring some custom style to your bedroom or living areas. Trying to figure out how much fabric you need to make your pillow coverings does not have to be a challenge, especially if you keep this guide handy. We hope you have fun on your new crafting journey and cannot wait to see what you create!