How to Embroider a Pillowcase
Embroidery,  Machine Embroidery,  Pillowcase of the Month,  Tutorials

Embroider a Pillowcase for Memory Care Patients

Learn how to embroider a pillowcase with our free pattern, plus donate it to a charity of your choice.

We’re focusing our charity sewing effort on Memory Care facilities this month, and partnered with a facility to provide them with personalized pillowcases for their residents. If you’d like to join our effort and embroider a pillowcase, comment on this post and we’ll provide you with a name of a resident and mailing instructions for your pillowcase. This partnership will end March 16, 2019. After that time, or in lieu of participating in our effort, please contact a facility in your neighborhood and ask if they’d take pillowcase donations. Or embroider a pillowcase and donate it to a charity of your choice.

How to Embroider a Pillowcase

Each pillowcase is personalized with a resident’s name and a motif. I learned about Roberta and her love of dogs, so I chose a dog design. On the machine screen, I first chose the largest hoop size available. Then I added a dog design and the resident’s name in a fun font. I grouped the entire design and sized it to run vertically in the hoop from upper to lower edge. If you have a smaller hoop (mine is 360×260), consider breaking up the design into two hoopings, depending on the name length. The embroidery area is 3 3/4″x19″ so make sure the design isn’t taller than 3 3/4″ or longer than 19″; resize as needed.

how to embroider a pillowcase design selection

To embroider a pillowcase along the cuff, first hoop Sulky Sticky Plus stabilizer with the paper side facing up.

How to embroider a pillowcase hooping

Score the paper carefully to avoid slicing through the stabilizer underneath. Then peel away the paper backing to reveal the adhesive. (Find more instruction on working with Sulky stabilizers.)

how to embroider a pillowcase SUlky Sticky +


Perfect Placement

Fold the cuff fabric in half lengthwise; press. Fold the cuff in half widthwise; press. Fold right hald in half widthwise; press to create a center foldline. The lower half is the available embroidery area, save for seam allowances.


how to embroider a pillowcase pressing marks for hooping

Center the lower half quadrant onto the sticky stabilizer in the hoop, aligning the widthwise center foldline and hoop cross marks. (Note: the hoop is positioned sideways in order to view the foldline orientation correctly.)

how to embroider a pillowcase placing fabric on stabilizer


Embroider the design using Sulky 40wt. rayon thread in the chosen colors. I changed the colors of the thread in the design to reflect my fabric choice. The featured design and font are built-in designs on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic sewing and embroidery machine.


how to embroider a pillowcase machine embroidery

Construct the Pillowcase

Follow the pillowcase construction instructions to stitch the cuff to the main pillowcase fabric, and create an enclosed seam. Notice the placement of the embroidery below–the cuff fabric is right side down, with the embroidery on the left side and oriented away from the seamline.


how to embroider a pillowcase enclosed seams

Stitch the final French seam along the sides and lower edge, and then turn the pillowcase right side out.


how to embroider a pillowcase finished

Give the pillowcase a final press and insert a pillow.

Use these instructions to personalize any type of pillowcase–even a purchased pillowcase will work using the hoopless embroidery method and Sulky Sticky Plus.

embroider a pillowcase
Ellie likes cats!

Due to HIPPA laws, we are unable to provide the name of the facility we are partnering with. The pillowcases made for this effort need to be shipped to a volunteer who has agreed to deliver the pillowcases to the facility. Once the facility receives a pillowcase for each resident, we will no longer accept donations. This post will be continually updated with photos of residents receiving their pillowcases.

embroider a pillowcase with sports motif
Van likes football!

Here are some residents receiving their pillowcases.

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Next month we will highlight another charity, so keep the pillowcases coming!

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!


    • Ellen March

      Hi Twila! I’ll email you with a name and mailing instructions for this effort. Thank you for your interest!

  • Joan Shriver

    Much better to make the pillowcases than buy them. I paid $12 for a pair from Walmart. As I embroidered a monogram I realized the design was too dense for the fabric and it pulled up (very ugly). I saved the cases by cutting off the hems, adding the monogram to a purchased piece of fabric and sewing it on the cases.

  • Jean Melching

    Do you still need pillowcases made? I won’t be able to finish it until into early March as I am dog sitting and won’t have my machine with me.

    • Ellen March

      Hi there. You would need to contact a facility near your zip code via Google or the phone book. If you want to participate with the facility we have partnered with, I can provide you with the name of a resident and an address to send the pillowcase to. Thank you for your interest!

    • Ellen March

      Hi Robin, Check you email for instructions on how to participate in our charity sewing effort! Thanks for your interest.