Soft Knit Basket Weave Pillow Case // National Serger Month


Hey everyone, here I am on the rooftop of my blog (what a pretty view!), and I’m shouting into my Mad Mim Megaphone (MMM) that APRIL OF 2013 IS THE VERY FIRST NATIONAL SERGER MONTH EVER! NATIONAL SERGER MONTH EVERYONE! THIS APRIL! FIRST YEAR EVER! SO COOL! Ok, I think I’ll put down my MMM, people are starting to stare. SERGER’S ROCK! Sorry just had to squeeze that in with one last fist pump.

Seriously though, sergers are wonderful machines.  They make sewing so professional, fast, durable, functional, and really just a delight.  I love mine like I love my right hand, which despite my stubby fingers and thick knuckles, is a lot.   And since you know my love affair with knits, you know that I use my serger just about as much as I use old Righty.

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One of the basic serger techniques that really changed my life forever was learning that sergers can gather fabric by simply adjusting the differential feed.  Gathering can be a tedious and frustrating process, but doing it on a serger is quick and so easy to distribute the gathers neatly and evenly.  Today I get to kick off National Serger Month (which I’m honored to participate in!, and I chose to do a project that shows off this wonderful serging technique– without a serger these pillows would sort of be a nightmare, but WITH a serger, it’s  fun, easy, and so pretty. Head over to the NSM website for my project and other serger DIYS, ways that you can participate, serger basics, sweepstakes and other promotions. It’s going to be a serger sensation!

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Materials for textured  basket weave pillow case:

  • 1 1/3 yd soft jersey knit for front gathers, and
  • 1 yd knit (or soft cotton) for pillow body and back (can use the same knit as pillow front).
  • Wonder Tape
  • quilters tape 
  • measuring tool
  • rotary cutter and mat (or scissors of course)
  • serger with matching thread
  • sewing machine with matching thread

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Cut your fabric for gathered front:

  • cut 3 rectangles measuring 10.25″ X 20″ for horizontal gathered squares
  • and 3 measuring 8.875″ (8 and 7/8’s) X 20″ for vertical gathered squares

Cut your fabric for body and back:

  • 1 rectangle measuring 26.5″ X 19″
  • 2 rectangles measuring 17.5″ X 19″

To gather with your serger: set your differential feed dial to its highest setting,  adjust your needle thread tensions to their highest number, and lastly, increase your stitch length to the longest possible.

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1.Gather the long edges of all your rectangles for gathered front.

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2. On each gathered edge, knot one end of serger tail, and then pull out center serger stitching line on opposite side so you can adjust the gathers to the right measurements:

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2b. For horizontal gathered squares (10.25 X 20 rectangles), cut a length of Wonder Tape 8 and 7/8’s” and press one end to the left edge and the other edge to the right edge. Pull center serger thread to adjust gathers to fit length of tape. Press tape down, matching gathered edge to tape edge. Repeat for opposite gathered edge of fabric.

Repeat whole process for vertical gathered squares ( 8.875″ X 20″ rectangles), except cut lengths of Wonder Tape to be 10.25″.

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4. Serge three squares together to form top row (horizontal,vertical, horizontal) right sides together, pressing the Wonder Tape that’s already applied to secure edges (no pinning  needed!) before stitching.  Repeat for bottom row (vertical, horizontal, vertical) and then serge top row to bottom. *Note: all squares should end up 8 7/8″ by 10 1/4″ after gathering.

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Attach gathered front to pillow body by pinning around all sides, and then along all seam lines, taking care to straighten and pin seams as you go.  Serge or baste along outside edges, and then stitch squares to body by sewing in the ditch of all seams.

mad mim_gathering with a serger_basket pillow_10To add the additional stitching lines, apply quilter’s tape to center of each gathered square (gathering fabric evenly as you tape) and then stitch over tape.  Remove tape by ripping off either side of tape underneath stitching.

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Hem one 19″ edge of both back panels by turning under 1/2″ twice and stitching close to folded edge.  Layer front of pillow RST to layered back panels (hemmed edges towards center), pin, and then serge along all edges.

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At this point the pillow can be finished, or optionally for a bordered edge, flip right sides out, and then pin a 1/2″ strip of knit down about and inch in and stitch down (feel free to piece/overlap the strip if needed to achieve necessary length!)  Allow the strip to tuck and fold, it adds to the texture!mad mim_gathering with a serger_basket pillow_06

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Insert pillow, breathe a sigh of satisfaction, and feel free to try this beauty out!

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Teresa Ayerra Ballesteros

I envy to go to the perfect tee class. I am living in Spain and is a bit far away from there. Hope you have had a good class.


I wish we lived closer too!it’s always so fun to see reader’s from all over the world, that’s awesome you’re from Spain! Best of luck with your sewing endeavors!


Love all your projects. WOW-JUST WOW ! I’m just realizing art forms to pursue. Like block print, reupholstering, & sewing—will definitely try the projects here. Please keep my email posted w/ your new projects….


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