March 13, 2013

Girl's Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

Sewing projects for Emily are just so quick and easy.  No fitting around curves and messing with yards of fabric to get a satisfactory result. Just an old pillowcase, but my, what a lovely pillowcase it is.  Now Emily has  a dress made out of bedsheets too! ;-)

Supplies: One pillowcase (or sham, if you prefer), and one package of seam binding.  You can also make your own bias tape.

Why do people not make bedding like this anymore?

1) Cut off the seam at the end of the pillowcase //  2) Get a shirt that fits your little girl (cute, right? :-)

3) Measure from neck to underarm // measure from side to edge of front

*Ok, this might get confusing.  Go the finished project and get a good look at it, then look at step 5 and imagine how it is going to become the dress.  Worst case, read the whole thing and then come back here. :-)*

In the above left, the two red pins at 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 represent where I want the dress neckline (4 1/2) and how much fabric I actually need (3 1/2) because of the casing we are going to make.

Also in the above left, the line of pins at 7 inches represents the underarm line.

On the right we have where I want the dress "bodice" edge to come to; the edge of the front.

4) Move measurements to pillow
Now all these numbers will be different on your girls shirt.  Make sure you're using a shirt that fits!

Above we have a picture of how we are using all the numbers.  First of all, I messed up.  That green pin at 3 1/2 inches?  That should be at 4 1/2.  Imagine it is at 4 1/2.  (Yes!  I do have three different tape measures.  Stay focused people, you only need one.)

Okie dokie.  The top horizontal measure is 3 inches, that is our side to edge of front measurement from the right picture.  The edge we are pinning is the same one we cut at the very beginning of the tutorial, the closed (now open) edge opposite the wide hem. Because now we don't have to hem it!  Yippee!)

The pink vertical measure represents the left picture.  Why doesn't it start at the top?  Because we had those two pink pins.  The top of our pillowcase needs to start at the top pink pin.  So we take the underarm measurement (7" in my case) and subtract the amount from the top pink pin to the top of the shirt (in my case it is still 3 1/2 inches because 7 divides evenly like that).  What is left, (3 1/2) is what you measure from the top of your pillowcase.

5) Fold pillowcase in half lengthwise so that you can cut both corners off at the same time.

6) Cut in an arc.  Cut from one pin to the other so that the line left behind is concave, not straight.

7) Sweet!  Nice job.  Open up the pillowcase to reveal your lovely semicircles.  Bind them with your...binding.

8) On both the front and back  top edges, create a casing by folding it down an 1/8 inch, and then another 3/4 or so.  Just enough to comfortably fit your binding through. Sew them down very close to the edge forming your casing.

It looks so pretty!

9) Sew two 2 ft section of binding to create your ties and pull one through each casing.  And you're done!

It will make pretty gathers that should accommodate your little girl for quite a while.

To make the ties into straps you just tie the front to the back at each end.

Front // Back

If you look closely at the front (above) you'll see that I also added a little pocket.  Little, because I made it with those scraps we cut out for the armholes.  Yup.  "Waste no, want not," they say!

(The pocket isn't on in the pictures where she is trying it on.  I used my extra binding and made a sash for a little waist definition and I LOVE it.

Front // Back

I'll update with pictures after she wears it this summer.  Somehow I don't believe I could convince her to wear it outside in front of our igloo. 


  1. How cute! I like how you used the extra binding like a belt. Super clever. :)

  2. Wunderbar! thanks for sharing the idea....recycling a pillowcase so simple & pretty ~ : )