Updated: Jun 7
When we sew, often we are making a gift for someone. The Infant pillowcase is a perfect backdrop for a little smocking or an heirloom panel. Drawing inspiration from the original design by Annette Easterly White, we designed this pattern to help you make a gift for baby. You could also choose a beautiful fabric or motif and smock and sew this as an accent pillow for a dear friend. No matter who the lucky recipient will be, you will be delighted to sew this project.
Heirloom Panel Pillow
Fabric – 13” x 38” piece of broadcloth Decorative band – pieces of trim cut to 13” long made up to finished width of 4-6” Pillow insert 12”x16”
1. Cut pillowcase fabric to 13” x 38”.
2. Hem short ends of pillowcase by turning under ¼” and then turn under 1”. Press. Topstitch hem in place.
3. Fold hemmed edges toward the middle of the fabric with wrong sides together. Overlap the hemmed edges until finished length is 16”. Press folds in place, but do not stitch. Unfold pillow case.
4. Create your decorative band by connecting 13” long pieces of lace, embroidered insertion, beading, entredeux, etc. You want your decorative band to be around 4 - 6” wide. Make sure to starch and press all trim prior to sewing together. Thread ribbon in beading. Press seams to center of band.
5. Place your decorative band on the pillowcase 2” from one of the folds. Pin band and topstitch in place between the edging and insertion pieces. Press. Trim ends of decorative band.
6. Refold pillowcase on folds but with right sides together. Stitch long edges of pillowcase together using 1/4” seams. Serge or zig zag to finish seams. Turn right side out, and press.
Smocked Insert Pillow
Pillow fabric – 13” x 36” piece of broadcloth Pre-pleated insert 60” long or two strips of fabric 5” wide x 45” long for a total of 90” long Piping – 1 yard Wonder Tape Pillow insert 12”x16”
1. Use 60” wide pre-pleated insertion. For more dense pleats, piece together two strips of fabric 5” wide x 45” long for a total of 90” long. Sew short ends of strips together, pressing seam open, and pleat. Mark the center of your insert.
2. As for the number of rows to pleat and smock, you need to pleat the number of rows to smock plus 2 for holding rows. If your design has 10 rows, you need to pleat 12 rows. Because of the lap on the back of the pillow, you are able to change the number of rows of smocking without other issues in the design and functionality of the pillow.
3. Tie off your pleated insert to the width of 13”. To do this, pull the pleater threads out 1/4” from each side (1-2 pleats). It is helpful to pin your insert to an ironing board or soft surface. Pin one side of your insert down, and tie the pleater threads together two at a time. Stretch the insert to 13” wide. Pin the other side keeping both sides as straight as possible. On the other side, tie the pleater threads together two at a time.
4. Smock your design across the entire width of the insert leaving a top and bottom holding row.
5. Block your insert by pinning to ironing board 13” wide and use an iron to steam. Let it dry completely before removing.
6. Cut two pieces of piping 14” long. Make a center mark on piping. Apply Wonder Tape to the seam allowance of one piece of piping. Remove paper from other side of Wonder Tape. Align and attach the piping just above the first row of smocking and matching center marks. You should not see any pleated fabric between the piping and the top row of smocking. The piping will be longer than the insert.
7. Stitch piping to insert using corded piping foot and stitching on top of the stitching on the piping. It is helpful to use a contrasting thread in your bobbin. Trim seam allowance to 1/2”. Clip and remove pleater threads.
8. Repeat on the last row of smocking.
9. Cut a piece of fabric 13” x 13”. Cut another piece of fabric 23” x 13”.
10. Place the smaller piece of fabric face down on the insert aligning one of the 13” wide ends with one side of the insert and piping. Stitch in place following stitching on the back of the insert from the piping. Trim seam, and finish.
11. Place the larger piece of fabric face down on the insert aligning one of the 13” wide ends with the other side of the insert and piping. Stitch in place following stitching on the back of the insert from the piping. Trim seam, and finish.
12. Hem short ends of pillowcase by turning under ¼” and then turn under 1”. Press. Topstitch hem in place.
13. Fold hemmed edges toward the middle of the fabric with right sides together. Overlap the hemmed edges until finished length is 16”. Press.
14. Stitch long edges of pillowcase together using 1/4” seams. Serge or zig zag to finish seams. Turn right side out, and press.
Adaptation of the original design by Susan Whitman and Karen Gooch
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