Embroidered Pillowcases

Perhaps you’ve admired the delicate, embroidery and heirloom-like stitching on fancy pillowcases in a linen boutique.

Has it ever occurred to you that you can duplicate this same effect on your very own pillowcases.

In my on-going attempt to talk you into investing in an embroidery machine, I want you to take a look at my latest effort… embroidered pillowcases (with a little hemstitch thrown in).


It was really a lot of fun to watch this project take shape.  I still get a thrill out of seeing embroidery designs reveal themselves as they stitch out on a piece of fabric.

I started out with two sets of standard size, plain white pillowcases.

These were inexpensive to begin with, but I got an extra bonus because I also caught them on sale.  Now, you can’t beat that.


This particular embroidery design stitches out two scallops at a time.

I just have to measure and mark the pillowcase after every scallop-duo stitches out, in order to create the continuous border.


The process is made easier because after each double scallop is stitched out, this border program will actually mark the next starting point with a thread-arrow. 

That arrow allows me to see exactly where to set the fabric in the embroidery hoop for the next set of scallops.


In the photo below, you can see my positioning markings still in the fabric.

Remember to always use a water soluble marker so these reference points will wash out easily and completely.

Even with the markings visible, you can still see how beautifully this design stitches out.

When the scallops line up perfectly like this, you get a great seamless border.


I’ve often talked about how embroidery projects can transform an ordinary item into an extraordinary one.

The addition of embroidery not only elevates the value of the project but also makes the project that much more special if it’s a gift.

Who wouldn’t enjoy these pillowcases with this pretty design?  I really love the intricate detail in this pattern.


There are so many wonderful border designs available for whatever embroidery machine you’re working with.

Here’s a look at another border with a rose design.   I think these designs are so delicate and feminine.


Because this pink floral pattern stitched out much smaller on the pillowcase than the blue design, I decided to add some extra detail to help fill in the overall look on the pillowcase.

I added a row hemstitching using a “wing” needle.


A wing needle is a single sewing machine needle that has a flange which resembles a small spear.

I typically use the Schmetz brand of wing needles because that’s the brand my local fabric store carries.

You can also find wing needles online.


The wing needle pierces the fabric creating small holes as the needle moves in and out of the material.

By selecting a box-stitch on my sewing machine, the holes are simultaneously wrapped with thread giving this second border a slight heirloom look.


This is another really versatile technique that can add a wonderful finishing touch to any project. The photo below is a sneak peak of a place mat project that I’ve been working on, in which I combined embroidery with the same wing needle technique.

I’ll share this placemat project in greater detail later in an upcoming post.


Getting back to the pillowcases at hand, I think you can see the fabulous possibilities when you apply embroidered borders to a project like this.

Of course you don’t have to stop with just pillowcases.


Consider how great hand towels, napkins, a tablecloth or even an apron would look with this kind of embroidered border treatment.

I’ll keep those ideas in mind too and I’ll be sure to share any additional border projects I come up with.


Meanwhile, as for the items in this project, they’re all tied in a pretty bow and ready for gift giving.

Just think, when the recipient engages in pillow talk-they may actually be talking about the pillowcases.


  • Joan Benjamin

    I have been searching for beautiful borders for pillow cases, yours are it! Where can I purchase the pattern to down load on my babylock sewing machine?
    Thank You


    • Connie

      I’m looking for this design. Please tell me where I can purchase it. Your work is so beautiful!

      • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

        Thanks so much Connie. This design is part of an embroidery frame kit that includes multiple border designs. When I purchased the kit many years ago, it was only available to fit Brother ULT machine.
        It’s possible the manufacturer may now make it available for other machines but I just don’t know.
        If you google “Brother Border Frame Kit” you may be able to find it online or perhaps on Ebay.
        Good luck and that thanks for stopping by for a visit.

    • Elvia Acuna

      Your work is beautiful. Just purchased a new embroidery machine and tempted to try embroidering some pillowcases. Did you unsew part of the cuff to embroider the design and then sew cuff back again to hide the stitches? Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas.

      • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

        Oh, you must be enjoying your new embroidery machine.
        I did not open up the cuff on the pillowcases but you certainly could.
        If you open the cuff, that would all you to conceal the stitching on the back (which can sometimes be a little unsightly).
        However, on these pillowcases the pattern stitches beautifully on the back and I did not open the cuff.
        I would suggest, if you are not going to open the cuff, you may want to consider using the same color thread in the bobbin as you are using on the top (especially if you plan on gifting the finished pillowcases).
        If you plan to open up the cuff, it’s fine to use the less expensive white bobbin thread since it’s going to be concealed when you close the cuff after your stitch-out.
        Scroll through some of my other projects in the “embroidery” category on my blog. I have lots of fun and pretty projects that may inspire you.
        Good luck with your upcoming embroidery efforts and congrats on the new machine.
        Feel free to email me with any other questions or if you get stuck on anything.

  • Joan Benjamin

    I have been searching for beautiful borders for pillow cases, yours are it! Where can I purchase the pattern to down load on my babylock sewing machine?
    Thank You

  • laurie bradshaw

    where can i get those pillow case designs they are so beautiful i can’t stop thinking about them hope you can share thankyou Laurie

  • Robin

    OMG! I just love your blog! You are the most talented lady I have ever seen! I love the pillowcases they are just gorgeous! Where did you get your patterns for them? (if you don’t mind sharing)
    Thank you!

  • sheree

    Okay, Miss Lisa! These are ridiculously fabulous!!!! I think you have finally convinced me to use my emboidery machine! I also have a Brother–now to see if this card will work on my machine. I may need you to hold my hand through this though.
    You constantly inspire..thank you for that!

  • Adla

    Lisa…all of your embroidery work is gorgeous. You should start your own line:)

  • Betty @ She's Sew Pretty

    Those pillow cases are gorgeous! They look like something in grandma’s linen closet.

  • shannon

    These pillowcases are absolutely beautiful!! I love them.

  • Bari

    Wow! Love the pillow cases! I have a wonderful machine with embroidery features and dare I say, I’ve never taken out the embroidery stuff. It’s somewhere in here… Now I’m going to have to get it out and use it. Those are just beautiful!

  • frenchgardenhouse

    sigh…if I ever have time left over again, I will want to purchase one of the machines like you have. Your pillow cases are stunning. Happy Easter!
    xo Lidy

  • mlamarredesigns

    Those pillow cases are fabo, you and my mom will best friends. She creates designs for Huqverna not sure of the spelling…
    Me I have no patience for such detail work 🙁
    But I admire it tremendously with quilting she’s into that as well 🙂
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  • Claudia

    WOW! Stunning! You pillows AND your photography!

  • Cici

    Oh my! This is just beautiful! I know I’m gushing, but really, might it be time for me to buy the embroidery unit on my machine?

  • chris

    Lisa~I am in such awe over these GORGEOUS projects of yours! I’m also green with envy that you can do this lovely embroidery!LOL! What a talent you have & look at all the wonderful things you have now! Thanks for your input on “the bench” I think it’s gonna end up painted! 🙂 chris

  • Lisa N

    Great site, you really are an Amy Butler fan!!! So funny, I was scrolling on your site and saw you also like Heather Bailey who I just posted about. She also has great fabric, I just ordered some and agree it looks good enought to eat:)

  • Sweet Cottage Dreams

    Hi Lisa! These are incredibly beautiful! Imagine all the time you saved from not having to handstitch everything! I am saving up for a zippy-do-wow machine like that!
    Thanks for the compliments on my dolls and sewing projects. They are all fun to make. So much to do, so little time. ha!

  • Helen

    Those pillow cases are gorgeous – such beautiful embroidery.
    Thanks so much for popping over to my blog today with such a lovely comment!

  • rochambeau

    Dear Lisa,
    It’s always a pleasure to see what you are up in your creative world! Such fine works of art, heirlooms for years to come. Your work is impeccable and it inspires me to look here. Have you ever made a boarder for a skirt or cuffs and boarder for a jacket? Have you ever embroidered on wool?
    Happy Spring and thanks for stopping by yesterday. You brightened my day!

  • Stephanie

    I dont know how I’ve managed not to find your wonderful blog before!! I’ve added you to my bloglines. I do a ton of embroidery myself, and I have to say, you have beautiful work!

  • Missy

    I just came across your blog….LOVE IT!! Your pillowcases are just beautiful. I have a new machine that does alot of things, but I went to work full-time and have not even turned the machine on in over a year. But after seeing this blog, I will be getting up extra early to start a new project. I can only hope to have a blog like yours one day….BEE HAPPY , MISSY

  • the feathered nest

    Who wouldn’t love those beautiful cases! I feel the need to upgrade my sewing machine!

  • Zee

    Wow, every time I visit your blog I kinda drool over these beautiful work!!! I feel like asking a machine like that for hubby…and them I will have to come over often to learn great things with you!!!

  • Barbara Jacksier

    I’m in awe. To think you can produce such lovely embroidery without spending weeks at work is amazing. I learned to embroider as a child and always loved the results but hated the time involve. Perhaps, I’ll invest in a fancy sewing machine one day. The one I have, basically goes forward and backwards and jams up when it’s not in the mood to work.

  • Mary

    Lisa, those are just gorgeous! Definitely heirloom quality linens — and you made them!

  • jen davis

    Gorgeous! My grandmother used to do this on pillows too, she was also a quilter and quite the seamstress, I still use the pillowcases that she made for me on all our beds here at home and it’s so special…tfs!

  • Paola

    These are beautiful! TFS

  • Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio

    They are beautiful! I love embroidered pillow cases…

  • Sarah

    They really look like heirlooms. My mother recently gave me two hand embroidered pillowcases from a collection that her “spinster” aunts had made for her when they were living. Yours are much fancier, but they still have that great vintage appeal. You should make them for everyone!

  • Carla

    Hey Miss Lisa-
    Those pillow cases are AMAZING. I don’t know that I could EVER be that precise, even with a machine. LOL! I’ve decided I’m a scrappy, random, kind of crafty gal, and I’m throughly blown away by people that can make everything precise and beautiful-it’s just not in me! LOL! Check out my blog. I posted my first inspiration piece I told you about. Hopefully some other crafters will find the idea fun! Talk to ya soon!

  • Tracey

    I am coveting your pillowcases right now! Beautiful!

  • June Parrish Cookson

    Hi Lisa,
    Gorgeous! Thoughtful and charming gift for someone to receive.
    Sorry to have heard about the missing Zinnia post. Worries me to think our entire blogs could go missing. Thanks for the reminder about blog backup.

  • Jen ~ Artful Dreamer

    These definitely take me back to the beautiful handstitched items my grandmother used to make. I like the pretty border on an all white piece of fabric…simple yet stunning. Lisa, at this rate you are going to entice me to haul out my sewing machine just to see what it can do!

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    GORGEOUS! So beautiful!

  • Sabina

    just beautiful…i love touches like that make it feel…like home.

  • Barbara

    Lisa, these are stunning! If I knew how to do this, I don’t think I’d do anything else all day long.

  • Shelley Jo

    Those are SO beautiful…. I have a babylock machine that does embroidery, but when I upgraded my computer, it didn’t have a floppy drive. My embroidery software is on floppies, so i couldn’t install it. When I had my dealer call Babylock about getting CDs, they told me I needed to upgrade to the newer version of the software (for a fee, of course!). There’s nothing wrong with the software I *have.* I just can’t load it! ARGH!!

  • Jen R

    Wow tha tis absolutley beautiful and so high end looking!If you don’t sell them, you should! Sigh, I would love to own a machine like that. Someday when I have an actual studio where I can lock the door….Just lovely!
    Jen R

  • giabella designs

    Wow, makes me want an embroidery machine except I would probably figure out how to work it!

  • Thimbleanna

    Hi Lisa,
    These are beautiful! Can you tell me, did you wrap the design all the way around the pillowcase or only to the front? If you did wrap, how do you insure that the design will match at the meeting point?

  • Barbara @ Southern Lady's Vintage

    If you only knew how much I love beautiful linens! New, vintage, hand embroidered or machine embroidered, I just love them and collect them. I would love to have a machine like that!! You did an awesome job! I absolutely love them. Truly!

  • Elizabeth

    Absolutely stunning! I agree – you should definitely offer these for sale.

  • Carolyn

    Beautiful Work!
    I was just surfin’ the Blogs and stopped by for a visit.

  • Ann

    oh my gosh!!! they are gorgeous, i can’t believe you can do that on a sewing machine! you should offer your beautiful creations for sale!

  • Jennalou

    wow… I just love those. I wish I had an embroidery machine… maybe someday 😀

  • Isabelle

    They are stunning! So much care and time can go into repositionning the fabric for a multiple design… I love the pinstitch too. Wing needles are fantastic!
    I know I couldn’t sleep with such beautiful pillowcases: I’d have to spend the night gazing at them! 🙂

  • Sue B

    Gorgeous! I know I’d sleep better if my pillows were wrapped in such a beautiful case.

  • Aina

    Hi Lisa,
    Long time no seen!
    Well, I have been very busy, and still are. For a bit longer anyway. We have just finnished our house, ready for sale. That requires a lot of time, energy and devotion. But finally we made it yesterday ready and today we are going to contact the estate agent. Exciting but also a bit scary..
    Well, that`s all about me for now..I have been updating and againg I am amazed about your creativity and skills!! Your latest project look so much fun, and it turned out so pretty! I wonder though, how hard it is for a beginner to make this patterns. How long did it take before you could handle this machine good enough to complete a real embroidery? Or did you make a lot of mistakes in the beginning?
    Yesterday I made up my bed and I changed my pillow cases. I recently received a pair of old French ones and this is the fist time I am using them. I really get a luxurious feeling knowing that my head rest on such beautiful fabrics!
    I hope your weekend was a wonderful one and I wish you a great creative week to come!
    Aina x

  • Liz

    Those pillowcases are just beautiful. I was so content with my plain old Singer sewing machine that I have had for almost 15 years now, but man…. I want an embroidery machine now. Thanks for all the beautiful inspiration.

  • Arlette

    I love your pillowcases. You are absolutely correct to say that anyone who received such a beautiful gift would be beyond thrilled. I haven’t had the opportunity to see your entire blog, but what I have seen, I absolutely adore.

  • mystele


  • Miss Sassy

    I really love these. What a great thing to be able to do. Sadly, now embroidery machine here. Great job.

  • SmilynStef

    These are so amazing … they remind me of childhoos … all of the pillowcases at my grandma’s had beautiful embroidery … love them all.

  • adrienne

    Lisa!! I was talking about you earlier! You are going to push me over the edge!!! I love this! LOL. I have to get my own machine. My mom took a class for hers this past week and she is not going to share! LOL

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