Sew a Set of Silky Pillowcase with Tricot Fabric

Have you ever slept on a silky pillowcase? They are cool, soft, and luxurious and some people in my family can't sleep without them! I sew a batch of these every few years and it can be a little tricky to sew with silky fabric. Today I'm sharing my best tips and tricks for making a pillowcase out of silky tricot fabric. 
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Some say a silky surface helps prevent wrinkles on your face, or produces less frizz if you have curly hair, because there is not as much friction as you move around at night. I'm not making any claims here. All I know is that they feel luxurious. They would make a great Mother's Day or Father's Day gift. 

I make my pillowcases out of a silky, smooth fabric called "tricot".

What is tricot fabric made of? 

Tricot (pronounced tree-koh) is a knit fabric made of 100% nylon. 
It is frequently used for slips, lingerie, or lining for clothing. It comes in different weights that are defined by a 'denier' number. Denier refers to the weight of the threads the fabric is knit with. A fabric with 0-50 Denier will be sheer. The higher the number goes the more opaque the fabric will be. For the pillowcases I am making today I am using Denier 40 Tricot.

7 Things to know about about sewing with Tricot Fabric

7 things to know about sewing with Tricot fabric

1. Sewing with Tricot requires a special needle.

Because tricot is stretchy, a "universal" sewing machine needle will have a harder time sewing through this fabric. The stitches can skip more easily, which makes sewing frustrating. For best results you'll want to use a ball point needle labeled "Stretch" or "Knit". 

Ball point needles are not sharp like Universal needles. They separate the fabric fibers as they to through the fabric instead of piercing them.  Because this fabric is very thin, I recommend choosing a smaller gauge ballpoint needle if you have a choice of sizes.  

Try a few different needle options on a folded tricot fabric scrap to see how your machine handles it before starting your project. In my experience, some machines handle sewing knit fabric better than others. I've also had luck using a Microtex needle in a pinch.

 For this project I will be using a serger to sew the side seams and a twin knit needle to sew the hem.

2. Tricot is a little tricky to find.

In days past when there were more home sewists, you could find Tricot on the shelves of your local fabric store. Now you will most likely have to purchase it from a large online fabric store. I generally buy mine at They sell 2 weights, I used the 40 Denier Tricot in White for these Pillowcases

3. Tricot is slippery to sew

Don't fret when your edges don't line up perfectly as you feed it under the machine. Pinning helps but slipping is inevitable. Just choose a big enough seam allowance to account for the imperfection. I would use a 3/8- 1/2 inch seam allowance if you are sewing on a regular machine. If you are using a serger (preferred) just let it cut that extra wiggly edge off as you sew. 

4. Tricot is 108'' wide when cut from the bolt.

This makes it a little tricky to lay on your cutting mat to get an accurate cut. I have found the best way to cut large pieces of fabric is by laying it on the floor and using the lines in my tile to square up the fabric and cut along. If you don't have a tile floor you could use painters tape to make a line for reference.

5. Tricot will shrink a little.

This is true of all knits as well. You will want to prewash your fabric. Mine shrunk from 108'' to 104'' after washing. 

6. Tricot stretches farther in one direction than another. 

What ever you are making, you want to position the pattern so that the most stretch goes around the body. Or in our case with the Pillow case, you want the stretch to go around the width of the pillow so the pillow case stretches open as you put the pillow in. Sew with a stretch stitch, zig zag stitch, or a serger to allow the seam to stretch. 

7. Tricot has a "right" and "wrong" side.

The softest side is the right side of the fabric. It is a little to tell just by sight. The wrong side has small lines that catch the light and feel rough. 

How to Make a Silky Pillowcase out of Tricot

Because this fabric is slippery, I always make these pillowcases 4-5 inches longer than a standard sized pillow case so you can fold the extra under the pillow. It's similar to a king sized pillow case. The extra fabric helps your pillow not slide out as you are sleeping. The finished dimensions are about 19.5'' x 33.5''

You'll need

1-2 yards Tricot fabric - I ordered mine from - 1 yard will make 2 (and a half) pillowcases, 2 yards will make 5 (these make great gifts too!!)

Cutting Instructions for using 2 yards of fabric

1. Pre wash your fabric

2. Fold the fabric in half  creating a fold at about the 1 yard mark. The folded fabric should measure about 36'' x about 108''. Don't worry if it is wider than 36''. Stretch the fabric a little to ensure that the direction of the most stretch is parallel to the longest side. 

3. Slide a pair of scissors between the layers of fabric and cut along the fold line to make 2 equal long rectangles. Keep the pieces together. 

4. Measure 40 inches from a short end and draw a line across the fabric or use the tile lines on your floor as a guide to cut across the fabric at 40 inches. You should now have a TWO  40'' x about 36'' rectangles. don't worry about the side we haven't cut yet, we will get to cutting that side at a later time

5. Measure and cut another set of rectangles. 

6. The last piece will not be big enough for a full rectangle so measure and cut at 20 inches to make TWO 2rectangles 

Sew the Silky Pillowcases

1. Separate the 4 large rectangle pieces and fold them in half with right sides together to make 4 folded rectangles 20''x about 36''

2. Sew along the long edge and the cut short edge of each of the 4 folded rectangles using a serger or a stretch stitch on your sewing machine. 

3. For the last narrow rectangle, make sure the right sides are together, and sew along the 2 long sides and the cut short side. 

4. You'll notice that the raw edges of the tricot fabric are rolled. Take each pillow case to the ironing board and press raw edges of the opening flat with a medium warm iron. 

5. Trim the raw edges so that they are even and squared up with the side seams as best as you can.

6. Press the raw edge 1/2'' toward the wrong side of the fabric. Fold the pressed edge over 2 inches  and pin in place.

7. Attach the twin stretch needle to the sewing machine. You'll need an extra spool of thread. Sew along the hem from the right side of the fabric. (Yes the pins are underneath but you can easily grab them) 

You will get a nice row of double stitching on the top and a zig zag stitch on the inside which will allow the fabric to stretch without breaking the thread. Tip: This is a good time to use wooly nylon thread in the bobbin if you have any on hand. 

8. Turn the pillow cases right side out and give them a final press, and you are done!

Hope this post was helpful. Please let me know in the comments if I missed anything. If you make a set of Silky Pillowcases I'd love to hear about how they turn out. Connect with me on Facebook, or Instagram @bluesusanmakes

Happy Sewing! 

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