#SchoolOfSewing: Lesson 1 – Finished Speedy Pillow Case

I’m a little late getting this post up, but I’m assuming you’ll forgive me. :-)

In case your new to the School of Sewing sew-a-long with me, don’t forget to check out this Page where I have all the details and links to past posts.

I completed my Speedy Pillowcase last weekend, and went through a wide variety of feelings. Let me get straight to the results though and share a picture with you of the completed project.


I adjusted the pillowcase to be longer for this crazy long pillow my husband has. We only ever had one pillowcase that fit it, and after nearly 15 years it finally shredded so he needed a new one. (It’s not a big fluffy pillow to make for a smooth picture like in the book, but it fits!)

I want to share as much about each lesson with you as I can – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I’m hoping I’m not the only one with bad and ugly, but that’s all part of learning, right? So here are some of my thoughts, feelings, and learnings from this project:

The Good

  • I did it! Yes, that deserves acknowledgement because I had a hard time getting myself motivated to take the cover off the sewing machine after more than a year.
  • I have always struggled with cutting straight, but found a new combination of tools that made it better this time.
    • I used this Chaco Liner Pen* and a small quilt ruler* to draw all my cut lines. Then I used a rotary blade* and the same quilt ruler to cut the lines. Since my quilt ruler is small, and the cuts were long, I didn’t want to get all squirrely in the middle. This combination was GREAT! (At least until I get a longer quilt ruler that would allow me to cut out the step of drawing the line.)
  • I liked that this was a small, manageable project. It helped to break me back in to sewing.

The Bad

  • I was reminded that rotary blades are super sharp – so sharp that you don’t always know that you’ve cut yourself until you see blood. (Learn from me, retract the blade before setting it down. Even for one second!)
  • I wish the book was spiral bound so it would lay flatter. Because it has step-by-step pictures, this would make it easier to consult.
  • I also wish the fabric choices in the book had a more obvious “right” and “wrong” side. I almost really messed up step #12 because the picture looked like the wrong side, even though the words said right side. Glad I read ahead on the next steps, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me the way I had my project pinned. (Oh! But then I saw this post about properly using a seam ripper and I’m less anxious about having to un-do something that may be wrong. I have no problem ripping out a crochet project, so now I can let go of this worry with sewing too!)
  • I’ll admit, I’m struggling with the book format for learning. I had the same problem when I picked crochet back up after a couple decades. I tried to learn from a book with drawings and pictures, but ultimately I needed videos to see it in action. I feel like this book is great as a guide if you also have a teacher to guide you. But flying solo? A little tough.
  • I still suck at taking pictures. I know that pictures make the blog – but I gotta tell you…I’m not sure I’m willing to invest a ton of time there. Anyone have some super easy tips for getting better pictures with my phone?

The Ugly

  • Oh there was ugly going on in this house! LOL I threw a mini-tantrum trying to thread the machine a billion few times before it stopped knotting up down near the bobbin. I was reminded…when things go wrong under the fabric, it’s the TOP thread that’s wrong. I’m really glad I’m doing this solo in my house so I didn’t have to be immediately embarrassed about this fact, but sooo thankful to have others out there doing this along with me. I’m not the only one who is going to want to throw the machine out the window sometimes, right?
  • I was generally grumpy about getting started at all. I was one weekend late in working on this project than I planned (due to work and life) and so I felt slightly resentful about being “forced” to do it. Oohh I was whiny! But I used the accountability of the blog to push me to get started, and once I did it was a ton of fun!

So now it’s your turn! Share pictures of your completed Speedy Pillowcase in the comments below, and please share with me some of your Good, Bad, and Ugly thoughts. :-)

* Note: Links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I make a small commission when you make a purchase through my link. Thank you! :-)


  1. Brittany says:

    I FINALLY finished it!! I agree with you about wishing the book was spiral bound. i was terrified of the bobbin- it’s what made me walk away from seeing in 4-H when I was a kid! But with my super awesome Janome, it wasn’t a problem at all. I was shocked! What I did have a problem with was measuring, sewing in a straight line, but most of all- MOTIVATION! But once I sat down and did it, I kicked it out quick. But I kind of relate seeing to painting. 90% of it is in the prep work- the unfun prep work. Then you get to see and see your stuff come to life! And my crooked seams didn’t even show! Yay! And the pillowcase is really cute!

    • That turned out GREAT, Brittany! And I’m with you – the un-fun prep part is so much of the work! I’m also glad I’m not the only one who struggles with cutting and sewing a straight line! LOL

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge