• Alyssa Rogan

Sewing Endeavor #1: A Writer-Themed Pillowcase


Last week, I bought a sewing machine on a whim with the hope of it becoming a lifelong hobby. My lack of hobbies has always been a point of insecurity for me, so I thought it was time I prove to myself that I can do more than write. To start, I challenged myself with something easy: a pillowcase.

Step One: The sewing machine's arrival

I was sitting on my porch, drafting my novel, when a man came up my driveway to deliver my child. That sounds weird. Let me rephrase that. A man came up my driveway to leave a sewing machine on my porch.

I took it inside almost immediately and unwrapped it. Last week, I found it on the JoAnn website, marked down to about $80 from $120. It's a Singer 1304, which, from what I read online, has great reviews and is beginner-friendly.

Look at how cute it is!

Step Two: A trip to Hobby Lobby

After taking out the sewing machine and playing with it a bit, watching a few YouTube tutorials, and eating lunch, I was off for the land of fabrics: Hobby Lobby.

The instant I saw the newspaper-printed fabric, I knew it was love at first sight. What was more writerly than newspaper fabric?

I paired it with an aqua-and-pink floral fabric for the cuff, and a soft, baby pink for the border. In total, I spent about eight dollars. It was a pleasant surprise to discover everything was thirty percent off, too!

In case you're wondering, here's the tutorial I used for the pillowcase. It also includes the dimensions I needed for every fabric.

Step Three: Wash and iron

I remember from my queen-sized, rag quilt project that you need to wash cotton fabric before you sew it, since cotton shrinks. I was pretty concerned when I opened the washer and found it had torn the edges to shreds. Is that normal? I don't remember that happening with the fabric for my quilt. Thankfully, I bought an inch extra of every fabric in case something went terribly wrong.

I thought about cutting around the whole edge of the fabric, but ultimately decided to just snip the loose strands with fabric scissors to save myself that hassle.

Step Four: Cutting the Fabric

I ended up driving back to Hobby Lobby to buy a cutting mat and ruler since I couldn't find my mom's . Luckily, I already had a rotary cutter.

Then came the time to start cutting. I was horrified of messing this up. One mistake outside my one-inch margin would result in my buying more fabric. Other than my little slip-up with the baby pink fabric (which I got right on the second try), I did a decent job.

Next, I lined up the three fabrics and cut them so all the widths were the same. This part was a little tricky, but it looks even, doesn't it? Who's to say.

Step Five: Rolling up the burrito

This is where things got complicated. As the tutorial instructed, I lined up the cuff fabric (the aqua-floral), then the base fabric (newspaper), and the border (baby pink, folded in half and pressed). Then I rolled up the newspaper, folded the floral one on top, and pinned it all together.

Step Six: The actual sewing!

I took it really slow here. Managing five layers of fabric is no easy feat, as I had found myself constantly realigning the fabric before moving on. Unfortunately, my meticulous care wasn't enough. All the ends were still uneven by the time I sewed to the end, which irked me. Instead of undoing it and wasting all that thread, I prayed it would even itself out by the end.

It didn't, but it's fine. I'm fine.

Step Seven: Unraveling the burrito

It was time for the magic to happen, so I pulled the fabric burrito out from the inside. I still have no idea how I did it or how it works, but whatever I did, I did it right!

Step Eight: Threading it all together

Hypothetically, this should have been the easiest part of the project--folding it in half and sewing up the sides. However, because the ends on the cuff part were wonky, it meant I had to sew in an extra inch to even it out. Not sure what happened with the pink border or how that got uneven, but it is what it is. I'm trying to give myself grace by remembering that this is my first time using a sewing machine with no one's help but YouTube.

Not perfect, but still cute.

Here's the finished look. I'm obsessed!

#sewing #pillowcase #newspaper #youtube #sewingmachine #hobbies

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