How to Make a Pillowcase with a Ruffled Edge

Learn how to make a simple ruffled pillowcase in two different sizes with our free sewing tutorial.

Pink and yellow ruffled pillow with stuffed animal on white bedding

My daughter came home from college for a quick visit and asked if I knew how to make pillowcases with ruffled edges for her bed. I burst out laughing and she looked at me like I was crazy.


I told him I had ruffled pillowcases on my pillows in my college dorm in the early 90s. So yes, I know how to make them since I made them myself over 30 years ago ! It’s so funny how things become fashionable again. It’s even funnier that I remember how to make the pillows! I wish I had a photo of my dorm room from the 90s to share with you all.

We ended up sewing three pillows for his bed, an 18″ square, a standard size, and a 16″ quilted pillow (more on that later).

Today’s tutorial instructions are for ruffled pillows or shams. We also plan to create ruffled pillowcases; When I do, I’ll be sure to share a tutorial.

trio of pink and green pillows on the bed

The pillows were quick to sew and we had so much fun collecting all the fabrics.

Pillow Details

green and white striped pillow on the bed
  • 18″ and 20″ x 26″ pillows with a 3″ wide ruffle and zippered back.
  • We added a zipper to the back of the pillows, but I also included instructions for an envelope on the back.
  • I have included instructions for adding an optional decorative trim to the front of the standard size pillow.

Choice of pillow fabrics

two pillows on the bed

(patchwork quilt details)

For pillow front fabrics, I recommend quilting cotton or a very lightweight home decor fabric. The smaller pillow is made from Liberty of London cotton fabric. The larger pillow is sewn from a striped quilting cotton fabric (source unknown).

pink floral pillow on white duvet cover

For the ruffle, I recommend a light cotton fabric. I used a woven gingham. The ruffle fabric is not hemmed, it is folded over, which means you have twice as much fabric, so I do not recommend using a heavier fabric for the ruffle.

Which cushions are the best?

I prefer to use a duvet or a Down blend pillow to insert inside my cushions. You can also use synthetic down. They give the pillow a beautiful shape and do not flatten over time.

For seasonal pillows, I recommend sewing them all the same size and adding zipper backs. This way you can easily remove the covers each season and only need one set of pillows.


Ruffled pillowcases

Melissa Mortenson

Learn how to make ruffled pillowcases in two different sizes with our free sewing pattern.

Preparation time 30 minutes

Active time 2 hours

Total time 2 hours 30 minutes


For 18 inch pillow

  • 1 Fat quarter Fabric for the front of the cushion
  • ½ Court Fabric for the back of the pillow
  • ¾ Court Fabric for steering wheel
  • 1 18″ Pillow shape
  • ½ court Iron-on fleece

For standard size pillowcase

  • ¾ court Fabric for the front of the cushion
  • ¾ court Fabric for steering wheel
  • ¾ Court Fabric for the back of the pillow
  • 2 meters Decorative trim Optional
  • 1 court Iron-on fleece
  • 1 standard Pillow

For both:

  • 1 Glue pen if you add decorative trim
  • 1 20″ Polyester zipper if you create a pillow with a zippered back



  • For 18 inch pillowFrom pillow front fabric: 1 piece 18″ x 18″ From Pillow Back Fabric: 2 pieces 18″ x 12″. From iron-on fleece: 1 piece of 18″ x 18″. From Ruffle Fabric: 4 pieces 6″ x WOF.
  • For standard size pillowFrom pillow fabric: 1 piece 20″ x 26″. Pillow-backed fabric; 2 pieces 20″ x 15″. Ruffled fabric; 4 pieces 6″ x WOF. From iron-on fleece: 1 piece of 20″ x 26″.


  • Iron the iron-on fleece onto the back of the pillow front pieces.

  • If you are adding decorative trim:

  • Place three strips of decorative trim evenly along the front of the pillow to make a standard-sized sham. You will want to match the pattern of your fabric. If your fabric pattern is flexible, I recommend placing them in locations 6 ½” to 13″ and 19 ½” along the front of the pillow.
  • To attach, run a bead of glue on the back of the ribbon and stick it with your iron. Topstitch on both sides of the filling close to the edge.


  • (instructions for both sizes)

  • Sew your four 6″ WOF strips together along the short sides. Fold the fabric strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, using your iron.

  • Run two rows of basting stitches along the raw edge of the ruffle strips. I recommend starting and stopping your basting stitches at multiple points so you have some wiggle room if your thread breaks as you gather.
  • You can also use a gatherer or gatherer foot if your sewing machine is equipped with one.

  • Pull the basting stitches and gather the ruffle strips together until they are the same size as the perimeter of the pillow front.

  • Pin in place with the raw edge of the ruffle, even with the raw edge of the pillow. Join the ends of the steering wheel.

  • Sew the ruffle to the front of the pillow.

  • TIP: When sewing, place your pillow front up and your handwheel near the feed dogs of your sewing machine. This will help feed the ruffles more evenly.


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