Thursday, May 6, 2010

Super Cute Pillow Case Dress

Day 4 and my family is not cooperating! Brielle went down for her nap on schedule but Everlee wanted to have more mommy time than usual. She fell asleep and I got to work. I decided to make a dress out of an old pillow case from Handmade Home. I told you I love that book!!
I started pulling out the sewing machine (unfortunately, I still have to sew at the kitchen table) and realized I was going to have to do some organizing STAT!! By the time I got everything put in it's new home and sat down with my pattern and pillow case, Brielle woke up.
So, its 7:30 and I just finished my project for the day. Everlee decided today was the day to be super needy!! Brielle decided she was in no mood to follow my instructions with modeling so I will try again tomorrow to get a better picture.
Let me just say, this is the first piece of clothing I have ever sewn. It was super easy, but never the less it's a dress.

As always, here are the directions...
Pillowcase Dress
Handmade Home

Intermediate, half day project. (It only took about 1.5 hours of actual work time)
Finished size 12-18 months (2T-3T, 4-5 years)

1 Pillow case
Doube fold bias tape: one package (you'll use approx 100")

1. Prepare Materials
Gather all materials. Begin by laying the pillowcase flat with the hemmed side (open edge) facing down. Measuring from the hem up 17" (18", 21") mark and cut the pillowcase. (Michelle brought up a good point. This looks a little short, so you could change this cut to work with what you want) You will be working with the bottom piece; toss the top piece in your scrap bag for a future project.

2. Shape dress top
Fold the pillowcase in half widthwise, (this was the hardest thing for me to understand - leave the opening facing you and fold half right to left, not top to bottom.) Keeping the pillow case folded , use a piece of chalk or pencil to mark 12" (13", 17") up from the bottom hem on both sides. Next, mark the top center with a pin. Draw a gradual curve from each pencil point to the top pin. Using the curved lines and the 3 points as your guide, cut thru all 4 layers of the folded pillowcase to create a point the the center top.
3. Pleat the dress top
Open the folded pillowcase. Working with the center U shape on the front of the pillowcase only (the dress center, top, front) place one pin in at bottom of U, another evently between this pin and the point, and a second at the same place on the other sdie of the U. Repeat process on the back.
Create an inverted box pleat at each pin. Starting 1/4" from the pin, fold the fabric over on itself toward the pin. Fold the fabric over on itself toward the pin. The fold will be 1/4". Press. Repeat the fold on the other side of the pin, bringing fabric toward the pin once again. Press and pin both pleats in place. This completes one box pleat. Repeat the process at each pin for a total of 6 box pleats.
Stitch the top of the pleats 1/4" from the edge to hold them in place. Remove the pins as you go. For sizes 12 months and 2T-3T, place one more additional box pleat at each underarm seam.

4. Create Bias binding
Pin the bias tape to the front center (where the pleats were just applied), fold the bias over the edge of the fabric , and then use a zigzag stitch to hold the bias in place. This process will enclose the raw edge of the fabric in the binding. Repeat the same process for the back center and the underarm binding. Set the dress aside.

5. Finish the dress
To create the shoulder ties, cut 4 lengths of bias tape to 12" and sew the binding closed using a zigzag stitch. (I used bias that was too wide but it worked) Attach one shoulder tie to the dress at each point on the front side, placing the ties 1/4" below the point. Secure the ties with a zig zag stitch. Place the remaining two ties on the back points following the same procedure.
On tying end of the tie, make a simple knot.


  1. You could probably make them longer if you used King pillow cases right?? Hmm this might be an idea for my girls who like their dresses super long. If I get a free minute (day, year blah blah) maybe I'll give it a go...

    Brielle looks so cute despite the cranky face ;)

  2. Michelle, the easiest fix on the length would be to cut the pillow case longer. There was plenty of left over.