Sunday, May 12, 2019

My first pillowcases are finished!

After pulling out my floss and various unfinished projects last week I set my mind to finishing up the pillowcases that I had started...I don't even remember when.  Well over a year ago, I'm sure.  

It's a similar pattern to something I remember embroidering when I was young and once I got back to them I enjoyed the nostalgia factor as I worked on them.  I'm so happy with how they turned out.
These pillowcases had a serged edge and attaching a crocheted border to them is done differently from how one would attach a crocheted border to say, a deeply hemmed pillowcase.  I referred to this example to get me started, but then created my own lacey crocheted edging.  I've written down the pattern for the border and have shared it below. 

I found it helpful to have a mark at each spot where I needed to punch through the fabric with a crochet hook to make the single crochet base.  I found this Dritz Marking Pen at Walmart and it worked great:
You can barely see the small dots I made on the fabric, but I think the picture shows what I did with the marker.  And the disappearing ink truly does disappear within about 24 hours.  

Let me say, even though my little marks were uneven in relationship to the edge of the pillowcase, they still were very helpful in my keeping some consistency in where I made these stitches.  That said, I'm not sure how important true consistency is when doing this foundation row.   It's just not the part that anyone is likely to focus on once there is a pretty border to look at.

So here's the pattern I created: 

Simple Crochet Pillowcase Border


The following stitches were used:
chain (ch) 
slip stitch (sl st) 
single crochet (sc) 
double crochet (dc) 
picot (sc, chain 3, sc into the front/bottom of original sc, sc)
Rnd 1: Using a 1.0 mm (or smaller) steel hook (to punch through the fabric), crochet sc’s all around the edge of a pillowcase that has been serged or rolled and hemmed. Join first sc with a sl st.
At this point I changed to a size 1.5 mm hook (because it’s easier to crochet size 10 thread with).
Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc into same first stitch (this creates a “v” shape); skip next 2 stitches; *dc, ch-1, dc in next stitch, skip next 2 stitches*; repeat * to * around and join to top of beginning ch-3 with sl st. If fudging is required, so be it. It will not show.
Rnd 3: Sl st to first ch-1 space. Ch 1, *picot into ch space; 5 dc’s in next ch-1 space*. Repeat * to * around. Join to first sc with sl st. Again, if fudging is required it won’t show once the pillowcase is finished, and definitely won't be obvious once it is laundered.

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Some things I feel are worth noting:   

My pillowcase was a blend of polyester and cotton.  So I did not expect it to shrink much at all when laundering it.  The thread I used to crochet the edging was 100% cotton.  I did expect it to shrink somewhat.  

As I crocheted the edging, it produced a little bit of flare.  One way to minimize that was to skip three (instead of 2) stitches occasionally in Rnd 2.  But mostly I decided to not worry about it and trust that the process of machine washing and drying would shrink the cotton thread a bit and the flare would reduce.  And it did.  Perfectly, I thought.  

So my thoughts about this (if using 100% cotton thread and a synthetic/cotton blend pillowcase):  a fair amount of flare is acceptable, but if it gets too ruffly, adjustments should be made while crocheting to tone it down a bit (unless you like a ruffly edge, of course).  It's all subjective, but I hope mentioning this helps someone else not to worry about it much if they give this crocheted edging a try and they see it start to flare out.  

If you work with acrylic yarn or a 100% cotton pillowcase you'll have different issues of shrinkage.  Just be aware of what you're working with it and accommodate it.  
Please let me know if the pattern written above doesn't make sense anywhere.  I think this may be the first time I've tried to write a pattern down.

And that's all there is to it.  The first round of sc's (punching the hook through the fabric) was the hardest part - and I'll make no bones about it, it was tedious.  But after that round it was kind of fun.

And I just love how it turned out!


To see what other YOPers are up to 





And finally...

I hope all who celebrated had a 

Happy Mother's Day!



27 comments:

  1. I love your pillowcases, they look gorgeous! And thank you for explaining how you get the foundation row for the border done. For some reason, this is one of the things I never quite could figure out on my own. Btw, do you use an extra needle, like a darning needle, to make the holes in the fabric, or does the crochet hook slide through easily enough?

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    1. Thank you, Ella. I'm sure it could depend on the fabric, but I found that a 1.0 mm crochet hook went into the fabric easily enough and if I made a mistake the hole would heal. I could push the 1.5 crochet hook through, but it made a larger hole and I was afraid any mistakes might be visible later. So I made that first round with a 1.0 mm hook, then switched to a 1.5 crochet hook after I had all the sc's finished.

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    2. Thank you for explaining. I would really love to try crocheting a border on a pillowcase one day. It just adds such a lovely detail to it.

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  2. That looks great, I assume these are for decoration only. I wouldn't be letting anyone rest their head on something so pretty! ;)

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    1. :) I make these with the intention that they will be slept on. I laundered mine before taking the picture so you can see how well it comes through a washer and dryer. I ironed them for the picture, but they looked nice enough that I would be happy to just put them straight onto pillows when I launder them. I imagine these will last for a good year with a weekly washing. I used all that were given to me when we were newly weds and while they eventually do wear out, I enjoyed them for quite a while (of course, I had several pairs that I rotated through, but still...) Regardless of how long they last, my philosophy in making and using something like this is that I don't want them treated as something precious, but rather enjoyed for the beauty and sweetness they bring to the everyday, growing comfortable with the "wearing out" of the work that was put into them. Kind of like life! This question, though, makes me think I ought to track their progress. I had thought of given them as a gift, but maybe I need to hang onto them so I actually know how long one can expect them to last. Thanks for giving me a reason to keep them, Liz!

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  3. That looks great Becki! I love the crochet edge, it just seems to finish them off and is so pretty.

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  4. Happy belated Mother's Day! Looks like you had a great day with your handsome boys. These pillowcases are beautiful. Such fine embroidery and the edging is lovely. Enjoy your day! 🌹🌹🌹

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  5. That's a cute photo Becki :) Happy Mother's Day!
    Your pillow case is amazing, the design and the edging!!! Great job!

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  6. Love you mother's day pictures! Both of my children are far from home, but thank goodness for skype and telephones! I LOVE your pillowcases - reminds me of my aunt and grandmother. Nostalgia and beauty all wrapped up together.

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    1. Thank you, Mary-Anne. What a different world we live in than when we were young adults. While I don't see my sons as often as I'd like, they are always pretty much instantly accessible (if they answer the phone or respond to a text). It was pillowcases that dh's grandmother made for us as newlyweds that inspired me to give this project a go. Very nostalgic...

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  7. Your boys look like a bunch who were a daily and mischievous riot. Fantastic job on these pillowcases! They're beautiful. I'm in awe of the embroidery and the crochet edging you added.

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    1. Honestly... they were pretty easy to raise, and while they were bright, curious and active, and they certainly got into trouble from time to time, I wouldn't describe any of them as truly mischievous. They responded well to discipline and correction. I loved being a mom of boys. And I suspect most moms of boys feel similarly. Now... as adults they find ways to make me crazy... But they are hilarious and nothing makes me happier than spending a few hours with them.

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  8. The edge is really special.... and disappearing ink (!) I learned something new today.

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    1. So glad I shared the idea! Thanks, Una.

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  9. Becki, the pillowcases are gorgeous. I think embroidered cases is becoming or has become a lost art. Remember "hope chests"? I made embroidered pillowcases for mine. My grandmother tatted the edgings for me but I did the embroidery part. I was quite young at the time too. Maybe 13-16 years old. Those pillowcases were used for MANY years after I got married. Your post brought back some lovely memories for me as it did for you. Thank you for the edging information. Also the info about the fabric content of the case vs the thread. I probably would not have thought about that part of it.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Marsha. I never had a hope chest, but I wanted one and thought it a wonderful idea. I could have filled it with all kinds of hand-work. :)

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  10. Oh my, those pillowcases are gorgeous! And the picture with your boys is adorable. Belated Happy Mother's Day.

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  11. Wow, they are beautiful. They look shop bought, they are that good.

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  12. Both of my grandmothers embroidered pillowcases and my maternal grandma added her own knitted lace to hers. Wish I could have seen her knitting with something that fine! Yours certainly reminded me of them. (btw - rather than having to punch through the fabric with the crochet hook, try doing a row of buttonhole stitch first. Then you can simply crochet into the stitches....makes it easier IMHO)

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    1. Thanks, Mary Anne. I know that's a good way to begin a crocheted edging on a folded hem (and I agree that would be easier), but with the edges on these pillowcases being serged, I really didn't think the buttonhole stitch would cover that up nicely. I wanted the serged edge to be covered up. I can't even imagine knitting lace. I imagine it was very pretty!

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  13. Your embroidery is so pretty and I love the crochet border. I am always envious of people with great sewing skills, sewing is not something I am very good at.

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    1. Thank you, Catherine. With the simple embroidery and cross stitch I've been doing lately, I'm reminded how much I enjoy this type of hand-work. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. But then I remember that I really like my central air conditioning and gas heat - and plumbing and electric lights... lol Yeah... I was born at just the right time.

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