Friday, May 21, 2010

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

I have a challenge for us all. Let's each make at least one little Pillowcase dress to send to Africa! When you finish yours, you can either mail it to me and I will send it on to Africa (my church is doing this) or you can mail it through If you want to mail it to me, I need to have it before July 1.

It is so fast and easy! And this one dress will be the prized possession for a little girl in Africa.

You can find lots of instructions out there for how to make this dress. I followed instructions given to me that were printed from  Here are my instructions complete with photos.

  • 5/8-1 1/8 yard of fabric, depending on size of dress. You could also use a pillowcase for the material.
  • 2.5 yards double fold bias tape
  • 12"-16" elastic that is 1/4" wide, depending on size of dress
  • Thread
  • Instructions
  • Pins
  • Cutting mat (optional)
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
3: Cut to 22"x42"
4: Cut to 25"x42"
5: Cut to 27"x42"
6: Cut to 29"x42"
7: Cut to 31"x42"
8: Cut to 33"x42"
9: Cut to 35"x42"
10: Cut to 37"x42"
11: Cut to 39"x42"
12: Cut to 41"x42"


1-Cut a fabric rectangle to the appropriate size. You could also use a pillowcase instead.

2-Fold fabric in half, meeting selvage edge with right sides together. Stitch or serge seam. Press seam. This seam is the center back of the dress. I then serged along the top edge.

3-Cut armhole on upper side edge. Repeat for other side. You will need to go to this link and print out the page to get the pattern for the armhole.

4-Fold under top edge to form casing. You can fold under 1/4", press, then fold under 1/2", press and stitch close to pressed edge. You can also serge raw edge (as I did above), fold under 1/2", press, and stitch in place.


Here is a photo of edge stitching the casing in place:


5-Cut two pieces of elastic. For sizes 3-5, cut it to 6". For sizes 7-9, cut to 7". For sizes 10-12, cut to 8".


I then put a safety pin on one end of the elastic.


6-Insert the elastic into the casing and thread it through.In this picture, my thumb is holding the safety pin.


7-Stitch ends of elastic to outer edge of the casing so they won't pull out. Now, insert other elastic into the other casing you have made.


8-Cut two 38" lengths of double fold bias tape. Open tape out and turn under 1/4" on each end. Refold tape.


9-You will now encase the arm hole using the bias tape. Center tape on arm hole so that equal amounts of tape to come of each end so it can be tied at the shoulders.


I like to pin mine in place. Then edge stitch open edge of tape closed.


10-Hem lower edge of dress by turning under 1/4" and then 2", press, and edge stitch. You can also serge edge, then fold under 2", press, and edge stitch.

Now it is done! So cute!


Trim Ideas:
If you want to fancy it up, you could add pockets, add a band of contrasting fabric, add lace or other trims, add an applique, add machine embroidery, or whatever else you can come up with. Don't feel like you have to go any fancier. It is cute how it is!


Kristin said...

That is such a good idea! I love the dress. Perfect for the heat of summer.

Melanie said...

Great idea. I am sure I have some I could send off to you. Sounds like fun!

Lauralee said...

Cute idea! Im sure I could whip up a couple. Love ya

Melissa said...

This is soo cute! Thanks for the tutorial!


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