DIY Pillowcase Dress
This past weekend my sweet baby niece turned one and I wanted to give her something extra special to celebrate the occasion by making her a DIY-pillowcase dress.
I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making a pillowcase dress. For years, I’ve seen them around made by other crafters and sewers.
But I really cannot sew
I am really and I mean really basic when it comes to using a sewing machine. I shared last week about how I learned to sew in a post about being crafty. But, and that’s the honest truth, and extent of my sewing education. I cannot use patterns.
One time, I tried to make myself a pair of shorts, and one leg was super tight, while the other was extremely loose. Needless to say, I ditched the shorts, they never ended up being finished at the top, and there for there was no zipper or way to properly put them on – I still have really figure out sewing a zipper. Baby steps.
My point is that if I was going to make this dress, I knew it had to be super easy.
Several you tube videos later; I was confident enough to give it a whirl.
Here is my very brief and easy tutorial on sewing a pillowcase dress. Because let’s face it, it has to be easy. And if it is easy enough that I am confident do it, then just about anyone can do it too.
First up, pick out some fabric you love. The best place, in my opinion, is online at fabric.com or here because it is super fast! They are quick and have a huge selection to choose from. My niece’s middle name is the same as my daughter’s middle name, Rose. They are both named after my late grandmother. We loved her so much! She was even crafty like me!
For a few years now, I have had the pretty gray dot and pink rose fabric. So, it was as good a time as any to choose it. I also picked out a pink and white dot fabric to contrast the rose fabric as the dress hem.
The idea of the dress is that you could cut a pillowcase, add some fabric ties, and wah-lah – it’s a dress for a tot.
If you do not have a pretty pillow case already ready to go – then you have to sort of make it. Seems easy enough being that it is two piece of rectangle fabric.
Which is true – that is all it is. Remember, I am not a girl who really understand using a pattern, so I just eyeballed my two pieces of fabric. My daughter is a size 2T, and I wanted to make my niece a dress that would fit at about a size of 18 months. I really did not have a guide for this except to use a dress from my own daughter’s closet to see about length.
Which is exactly what I did.
I cut my fabric to about the size I needed taking into consideration the piece I wanted to use the pink dot fabric for the bottom trim.
The two pieces of fabric together make up the entire length I desired for the dress.
Then, I folded the fabric in half long ways and cut the two upper corners for armholes.
You can probably skip this part. But, most of the you-tube videos showed this step, and it made sense to me to make the dress more comfortable when worn.
Essentially, you end up with it looking like a halter.
Next, I basically hemmed, or trimmed the edges, by folding over about ½ inch of fabric and sew straight lines on all the edges except the sides.
Then I sewed the top neckline areas. You can tell, I’m not an expert sewer by my non-fancy sewing talk.
I just folded over about 1 inch worth of fabric to allow my fabric ribbon to be threaded through it.
Once that was complete. I then put the two-right side facing together and sewed up the sides.
Now, I had my trimmed pillowcase aka dress.
Make your ribbon sash
The last thing I did was cut about a 4-inch-wide piece of fabric about 30-36 inches long.
This was to be the ribbon for the dress. Originally I tried to use a regular piece of ribbon to tie the top, but I didn’t like how the ribbon frayed after 1 tie use. So, I decided to make my own ribbon fabric.
I fold the 4-inch-wide piece in half – right sides together, and sewed up the side all the way to the end. I left a piece open, and then turned it back right side out.
Lastly, I stitched up the open edge and ironed the ribbon flat. Now my ribbon was a fabric ribbon about 2 inches wide.
I then used a safety pin on the end of the fabric ribbon and fished it through my neck hemlines so that it would gather at the neck and then left a little bit to be shown on the shoulder sides. Then I tied it in the back.
Note: on the back part of the dress, I decided to cut a piece out of the middle in the back neckline so that the tie could be tied in the back, versus the side where most pillowcase dressmakers do it. I thought this would be easier for the child to wear. Just my spin on it.
Also, I didn’t use any of that trimming tape. Some you-tubers show using this. But like I mentioned above, I just folded my fabric ½ inch over and sewed it right along the edges. I’m sure a tape trim would have finished the dress off nicer. But, being my first one, I was pretty pleased how this one turned out.
Since I do embroidery, once I showed off my proud little piece to my husband, he mentioned stitching her name on the bottom front trim of the dress. So, I took his suggestion, and went to my embroidery machine and stitched out her name in a corresponding color and I just LOVE it!
What do you think? Did I do an okay job? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts, and if you think I could do something better. Have you ever made a pillowcase dress before?
Comments & Reviews
Hello! I am so glad to have found your site. Your explantion is easy to understand, clear. Your dress is so cute, I love the colors! Her name on the bottom is cute touch. I have a sewer most my life. Recently I bought patterns that were more complicated than expexted. Drove me nuts the way they described putting together.
I have looked at pillowcase dresses for years. Just could not get it wrappin my head. Thank you.
You did a really good job it was very cute
Nancy Freeman says
I made one from a vintage pillowcase.. its beautiful!
Awesome Nancy! These are fun to make.
Barbara Harris says
Thank you for sharing your very sweet pillowcase dress tutorial. I love your fabric! I’d like to make two Christmas pillowcase for great nephews, and include your poem. May I include your poem?
Thank you, Barbara. Please just include my blog link.
Nancy Rachar says
Hi, To use a nice ribbon for ties and for trim on your pillowcase dresses just burn the ends with a lighter. You will see the ribbon just start to melt and it is done. It won’t fray after that. I use lots of ribbon this way and have never had any fray even after many washes. I hope you try this!
Hi Nancy! I have done that before since making this post. It does work great! Thanks for sharing this tip!