Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Legacy in Satin

Being a child of the fifties and sixties, I well remember my mother going every week to the 'beauty shop' to get her hair done.  This involved shampooing, rolling, sitting under the hairdryer, having her hair 'combed out' and teased (or back-combed) and then the obligatory clouds of lacquer hairspray.  The most difficult part in this whole process was keeping her hair beauty-shop-fresh until the next week.  A hairbrush did not touch her hair for that week.  She didn't even scratch her head except with the end of a rat tail comb!  Then there was the sleeping to keep her hair from getting mussed while she slept.  There were bobby pins to be placed at strategic spots in the 'do' to keep the curls from uncurling, and for a long time she would wrap toilet tissue around her head to keep her hair in place.
Carrie Mae, 1965

Then, one glorious day, she heard about sleeping on a satin pillowcase!  It seemed that the slickness of the satin would keep ones hair from static, thus preserving the do.  This was a big deal!  The answer was here and she wanted that satin pillowcase, but where to find one?  None could be found on the shiny pages of the Sears and Roebuck or JC Penney catalogs.  She made the trip to downtown Knoxville and to the Shopping Center in Oak Ridge but found no satin pillowcases.  Not to be defeated in her quest for the perfect coif, she set out to find the fabric and make them herself, and with true "Little Red Hen" determination, she did.

Using flannel-backed satin, she made herself beautiful pillowcases.  She slept on one every night for the rest of her life, even taking her pillow with her when she had to be in the hospital.  That hair could not survive without it!  She made one for my daughter, Sarah Grace (yes, another double name) who still uses it even though it's getting threadbare and worn.  The pillowcase torch has been passed down and I gladly take it in hand.  So, here are the instructions for making Carrie Mae's Satin Pillowcases.  Happy sleeping and may you never have a hair out of place.
After measuring an existing flat pillowcase and remembering that a pillowcase is all one piece of fabric, folded in half, transfer your measurements to your satin.  (I bought one yard of flannel-backed satin that is 45" wide.  You can get at least 2 cases out of this amount.)  Add 3-4 inches to the top so that it can be folded down for the opening.  Add 1/2 inch to the sides and bottom for a seam allowance.

Continue by turning top of case down 3-4 inches and pin in place.
Carefully sew in place as this seam will show on the outside of your pillowcase.  Sew 1/2 inch seam allowances on long side and bottom.  You may want to serge or use pinking shears on the raw edges.  I used an old fashioned zig-zag.
Turn your pillowcase right-side-out and press on appropriate setting for satin.   There your have your own satin pillow case.

If you do not want to make your own cases, visit my Etsy shop at


Honey said...

Another great post! Thanks for showing instructions...

MyAffiliateNicheStores said...

Love it! You are as creative in your story telling as you are sewing.