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It seems like we have a lot of old pillowcases (and pillows, but that’s another story) hanging around the house, and they’re a great source of fabric for upcycled pillowcase projects.
Here are some ways that I have used pillowcases in different ways that you can try if you find yourself with pillowcases for sheet sets you don’t use any more.
Body Pillow Pillowcase
The main thing that got me thinking about upcycled pillowcase projects was wanting to make a body pillow case out of them. I’ve used a body pillow most of my life and I usually sew the pillowcase for it from some fabric I’ve got lying around.
It’s been years since the last time I made a new pillowcase, and the one I’ve been using is quite literally falling apart. The fabric is so thin in places I tore a hole in it with my fingernail.
But the good news is, body pillows are about the same width as regular pillows, so you can cut open and sew together a couple of regular pillow cases to make a body pillow case.
This one is actually made with two old king sized pillow cases. It took about 10 minutes to make and hopefully will last me a good long time. All I did was slip one pillowcase onto the pillow and laid the other on top to see how much length I needed. I marked where to cut off the top of the first pillowcase and the bottom of the other.
Then I just turned the second pillowcase part inside out and slid it over the first case (so the right/front sides of the pillowcases are facing each other) and clipped them together for sewing. Super easy!
Use Pillowcase Motifs to Cover Stains
This is a project I’d almost forgotten about, and it’s a little bit cheating because it doesn’t use the whole pillowcase, but if you have old pillowcases with pretty prints on them you can cut out the motifs and use them to patch other fabric or cover stains.
I did this with a skirt made out of T-shirt type material that had collected some oil stains. I just cut some flowers out of the pillowcase (this was one I had when I was a kid) and covered the stains with a patch using fabric glue.
This project is from 2013, and 10 years later the skirt still looks great (I mostly wear it as a workout skirt because it’s kind of short, but it makes me smile every time I put it on).
Make Pillowcases into Yarn
One of my favorite upcycled pillowcase projects is to make yarn out of them. It’s easy to turn a pillowcase (or in this case, part of a pillowcase left over from the project above) into yarn. All you need is a pillowcase and some scissors!
Pillowcase yarn can be used just as you would use any other fabric yarn in knitting, crochet, weaving or rug making. I used to have a crocheted rug made from a sheet, which you could do the same thing with pillowcases. They’re also great to use for baskets.
More Upcycled Pillowcase Projects
One really cute thing you can do with old pillowcases is make them into bags. I love these sweet little shopping bags made from pillowcases from Sew in Love. They’re a pretty easy and quick project and a great way to use all your old pillowcases or even ones you grab from the thrift shop. Can you say great gift idea? Use them as “wrapping paper” and they can reuse that part of the gift.
There are so many cute options for making tops out of pillowcases, whether for kids or adults. This one from How Joyful adds a bit of lace and ribbon for the straps, which elevates it from your standard pillowcase top.
The pillowcase dress is a classic for little girls, and Polka Dot Chair has a great tutorial for making one, complete with a size chart to help you make them for kiddos of different ages up to age 5. Of course these don’t have to be made with actual pillowcases, but for our purposes this is a great upcycled pillowcase project.
There’s no reason you can’t use old pillowcases as pillowcases. I always wanted to make one of those giant pillow bed/chair things that looks like a bunch of pillowcases sewn together. In this pattern from Dabbles & Babbles, it’s actually made with big pieces of fabric sewn to have pockets to fit the pillows, but I’ll bet you could do the same thing sewing pillowcases together. If you try it let me know if it works!
If you have vintage pillowcases or just pillowcases with pretty patterns, I think a bunting made out of old pillowcases would be super cute. Amy Loves to Sew has a great basic tutorial for making a bunting; just use pillowcase fabric instead or alongside other fabric.
Another sweet idea is to make a little apron from a pillowcase, like this one from Betz White. It’s super easy to do and all you need is a pillowcase, a couple of yards of ribbon (bias tape would probably work, too) and a sewing machine.
I hope this has given you some ideas for upcycled pillowcase projects you can make with your stash of pillowcases. Once you start thinking of them as fabric instead of pillowcases, there’s no limit to what you can do.