Friday, January 10, 2014

How to Make a Pillowcase Dress

This is my first attempt in writing sewing instructions. If you have simple sewing experience this is super simple. I am a self-taught seamstress. My husband actually taught me how to sew in our early marriage. He had taken Home Economics in high school. I was not very domestic at that time.
I have collected several pillowcases through the years, picking them up at thrift stores. I prefer 100% cotton, but most are cotton/poly blends. Of course, it goes without saying that you don't want them to be faded or worn and pretty ginghams or pastel patterns work best for little girls.

I found this pretty yellow pillowcase at Goodwill. Someone
has lovingly cross-stitched the trim. This is perfect for a sewing project and
literally only costs pennies to make.

Some people prefer to use a pattern, especially if you are making a brand new dress. If you use a
pillowcase a pattern is not necessary. This pattern uses wide single-fold bias tape
for the arms and casing, but you can also make your own if you have enough fabric.
You can use 5/8 ribbons for the ties (approximately 2 1/2 yards) or make your own ties
from the same or contrasting fabric.

After deciding the length of your dress
fold over the top part of the pillowcase and
cut straight across.

Fold the pillowcase and cut out the arm holes, leaving room
at the top for the casing.

With the leftover fabric fold on the diagonal
and cut your bias strips. I am an impatient seamstress;
I don't like to pin or measure if I don't have to.
Afterall, this is not a formal dress.

Cut tiny notches in the curved arm holes to make
it easier to sew on the bias strips.

Fold down the top part of the dress 1/2 inch and press
and then fold over again approximately 1 1/4 inch to form
the casing. Cut your ribbons 1 yard each or shorter for a
smaller garment.

You can use a safety pin to pull the ribbon through the casing.
Adjust on both sides and tie into bows.

In less than an hour you will have a pretty little
dress to give away to a favorite little girl or donate
to a charity.


Janet, said...

That is easy, Anita. The hardest part would be making the bias strips, and you could use the store bought bias strips for that if you wanted to. I'm going to have to take the time to try this. Thanks for the tutorial!

Janet, said...

Okay, me again. On the fourth picture down in your blog post. About how far down do you cut the opening for the arm hole? It looks like you cut in about an inch or so.

Anita said...

Janet, you're right. To make the arm hole go in about an inch and cut on the curve; a little more for a larger size, etc.

Janet, said...

Thanks, Anita.