Anti-Snarl Pillowcase

My dear daughter often wakes in the morning with “rats’ nests” in her hair from rubbing her head against her pillowcase during the night. If your child does the same, you know the fun (hah!) of trying to get those awful snarls combed out. We tried wrapping a pillow in satin when our girl was younger, but saw little improvement. It hit me out of the blue one day that the problem had to do with the direction of the satin weave. Makers of commercial satin pillowcases have probably known this for years; I'm just a bit slow. I whipped up a new pillowcase with grain direction in mind and—viola!—problem (mostly) solved!

The key is to run the grain of the satin the same direction your child is likely to rub his head. In my daughter’s case, she tends to rub her head side to side so the grain should run across the width of the pillow. A ¾ yard cut will give you one pillow for a child who rubs across. Kids who rub up-and-down will require a 1 1/8 yard piece to allow enough fabric to run the grain up and down as well.
Pieces for each 31” x 19.5” pillow:
--1 piece satin, 26” x 40” cut from ¾ yard with the grain running the 40” length (note: for kids who rub up-and-down, cut with the grain running the 26” length)
--1 piece contrast fabric, 11” x 42”
--Optional trim, 2” x 42” piece of fabric or rickrack or other trim
Fold contrast fabric for hem in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press. Also fold trim piece in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Lay cut edge of trim against cut edge of hem, keeping edges even. Lay body of pillow right side down lengthwise on top of the trim and hem, matching cut edges. Pin to hold.

Stitch along cut edge with a ¼” seam. I like to serge mine with a 4-thread overlock to keep the satin from unraveling. You can also sew with a standard sewing machine, then zigzag over the raw edges of the seam allowance or trim with pinking shears to prevent raveling.
Press seam flat with a COOL iron (some satin fabrics are extremely heat-sensitive), then open flat and press the body of the pillow away from the hem/trim. Cut off the excess hem/trim, keeping the corners square.

It's hard to see, but the serged seam is
sewn in pink on the right.

Right sides together, match the edges of the hem. Sew into a tube using a ¼” seam allowance. Finally, sew the end of the pillow closed. Press all seams with a cool iron and turn right sides out.

The kitty thinks I made this for him. Silly boy!
There’s an alternate way to sew pillowcases that encloses the raw edges of the hem without a serger; you might want to give this a try. See for the tutorial. It’s a great technique but I wasn’t sure how I would manage sewing rolled-up satin with one hand while I took photos with the other…yikes!

Here's to no more snarly hair!!


Beth said...

This is awesome. My daughter has VERY long hair and she has the same problem. Someone creative at the school for special needs kids my daughter used to go to, made wheelchair headrest covers out of satin for that very reason! Some headrests are vinyl, but some are covered with a nylon (?) fabric. A little satin cover with some elastic to hold it on (or maybe you could use a slit up the back and velcro?) and your child won't rub her hair on the back of her wheelchair headrest and get those same rats nests. Just a suggestion I thought you might like. :) All your stuff looks great. I'm thinking about trying the split coat idea. I'll let my mom do it, she used to make my clothes when I was a kid.
Beth (Kayla's mom)

Rose-Marie said...

Beth, I love this idea of satin slip covers for wheelchair headrests! That is so clever. Thanks so much for letting us know about it; I appreciate it.