Sometime last year I found a very cool pattern for making pillow cases (I paid $6 for it, I think, but it looks like it's free now), and thought I might make pillow cases for the people on my Christmas list. Like most things, though, I was too ambitious, and I ended up making a pair for my parents, several little travel pillow-size ones for myself, and a Halloween one for Bob. He's the one who always changes the sheets on the bed, and ever since I made that case, he's been using it on his pillow.
Last week he remarked that I needed to make some more, and with that encouragement, I spent some time on Sunday making three new sets of cases -- one with fish and various sea creatures (these are on our bed now), one set of Independence Day cases with flags, Victorian children, and fireworks, and one set with cowgirls and western boots. Not because either of us have any particular affinity for cowgirls or boots, I just loved the colors, basically.
It's a super easy way to make a pillow case in no time at all. I've seen other patterns on the web called "burrito" or "sausage" pillow case patterns, and they're all basically the same. This one calls for 3/4 yard of the main fabric, 1/4 yard for the cuff, and a small amount (1-1/2" x width of fabric) for the trim. So I bought 1 yard each of two prints to make two coordinating pillow cases, and used fabric that I already had for the trim. You just cut each of the larger pieces into 3/4 yard and 1/4 yard pieces, and cut the thin strip for the trim, then you stack the fabrics and create the "burrito." I used quilt clips instead of pins, but pins work just as well.
It's kind of funny -- it's been awhile since I made them, and it's hard (for me, at least) to grasp how the pattern works. You just have to take it on faith, both in the burrito-making phase, and the seam sewing phase that produces French, or hidden, seams. There are no raw edges at all once you're finished.
My sewing machine is pretty old, I bought it maybe 15 or 20 years ago. I've had a lot of trouble getting the tension right, and I was about to the point of giving up. I was looking at new sewing machines online, and read one review that said a certain machine didn't do very well if you went too fast, so I experimented with mine, and sure enough, it does a LOT better if I go really slowly, but that's not my default speed. I want to just ZIP through a seam, if it's a straight one. So I'm still thinking about getting a new machine; Bob said I should, that if I'm going to be sewing a lot, I should at least have the right tools. Also, my machine doesn't make buttonholes, and that's something I would really like to have.
This is the one I'm leaning toward, because of the wide table. It has a lot of good reviews. I may try to look at one in person somewhere and see what the prices are locally. I'm not going to rush into anything, but I'm still thinking about it.