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Welcome to my Pillowcase Dress Tutorial


This will be one of the easiest dresses you ever make.


A pillowcase dress can be made from any size pillowcase.  There are three different sizes shown here:  Full (standard), Queen and King.


Now, it's time to make the dress.  For this tutorial, a full (standard) size pillowcase is used.











Step 1:


Lay the pillowcase on a flat surface.  Cut off 1/4" along the top of the pillowcase (sewn side).  This will become the top of the dress.



Step 2:

Lay the pillowcase flat and mark the armholes at the top corners.  These are the measurements I use according to the pillowcase size:

Full 4"x 4"            Queen 4"x5"                King 4"x5 1/2"

(All these measurements can be adjusted)





To measure easily, begin by placing a mark at the top (newly cut) and side of the pillowcase.  Then, take a lid (from kitchen bowls) and align it with the markings.  Trace the curvature of the lid.







Step 3:


Cut along the trace lines.











Step 4:


To make sure both armholes are the same, place the newly cutout piece on the other side and trace around it.  Then cut it out.












This is what it should look like so far.  Easy huh?  You're doing great!













The front and back of the dress will be gathered with elastic.  The next steps will show you how to do this.



Step 5:


Turn under the top edges.  First iron under a 1/4" seam.











Then fold again and press another 1/2" seam.  This will create a casing to hold your elastic pieces.


Repeat Step 5 for the other side.




Step 6:


Sew along the edge of your casing.


Step 7:


Cut two pieces of 1/4" or 1/2" elastic 7 inches long.




Step 8:


Push a safety pin through the elastic and begin to thread it through the casing.





Push the elastic through the casing until the end of the elastic is flush with the opening.  Sew the elastic to the casing so it doesn't move.





Push the elastic the rest of the way through the casing until it comes out the other side.  Now sew this end of the elastic to finish the gather.


Repeat this step for the other side.



At this point, the dress should look like this.  The front and back will look the same.


Now it's time to add the shoulder straps.  There are several ways to make the straps.  This tutorial uses bias tape.  To learn an easy way to make your own bias tape, follow this link:

I recommend using 3/4" bias tape.  You'll want to cut the bias tape different lengths according to the different pillowcase sizes.

Full (Standard) 34 - 36"             Queen 37 - 39"             King 40 - 42"

(All these measurements can be adjusted)

Step 9:

Cut two strips of bias tap according to the measurements above.





Step 10:

Turn the dress to the side so the armholes are open into a 'U' shape.







Fold the bias tape in half.  Beginning in the middle of the U shape with the middle of the bias tape, pin the tape to the dress.  It should look like this before you begin to sew.







Before you begin to sew along the edges of the bias tape, the ends of the tape must be finished. 

Unfold the tape at the ends and iron down 1/4" (as shown on the left). 

Then fold the tape back and iron again to hold it in place (shown on the right).  Do this to both ends.












Step 11:


Sew close to the outside of the bias tape first.  This will close the bias tape.  Then sew along the inside edge to finish the look of the bias tape.















It will look like this when you are finished sewing both sides of the tape.


Repeat steps 10 & 11 for the other side of the dress.





Guess what?  You are finished!! 

 Now you can add embellishments (i.e. buttons, ribbons, pockets, etc.) if you'd like.  I added lace at the bottom of this one.




I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial.

My goal for 2011, with the help of friends and loved ones, is to have 150 dresses made for Operation Christmas Child.  If you'd like to help me reach this goal, please email me and I'll give you more details.  Please help me bring a smile to a young lady's face this year.

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Comment by michelle De Gale on May 2, 2012 at 12:24pm
You know what these pillowcases dresses you can get enough of the and this one says fun fun fun in the sun
Comment by ItsVic on March 28, 2011 at 6:21pm
I have been wanting to make a sweet little pillow case dress for sooo long and just can't get to it.  Your tutorial is amazing!   Your is adorable!
Comment by Angee Barbe on March 17, 2011 at 10:06am
Wow, that's a lot of dresses.  I can't wait to see them.  You are a blessing Kay!
Comment by Kay on March 17, 2011 at 8:42am
Thanks for motivating me to make dresses for OCC.  I just finished 16 dresses and I am trying to embellish them all with trims.  I'm so excited b/c I have learned to make ribbon roses and they just add so much.
Comment by JoAnn Scott on March 1, 2011 at 8:43am
Thank you so much for sharing this dress.  My granddaughter will have many "Pillowcase Dresses" for the summer. 
Comment by Angella Burt on February 8, 2011 at 10:10pm
Comment by Angee Barbe on February 8, 2011 at 4:02pm
Great question Gracie!  All boxes go to a Regional Sorting Station.  Ours here in the Eastern Panhandle of WV go to Boone, NC.  At this center, all the boxes are opened to inspect content and sorted for distribution.  If a box is being sent to a cold region, the dress will be taken out and re-distriubted into another box that's going to a warmer climate region.  No matter what, the dresses will reach a little girl.  I'm making all my dresses out of standard, queen and king size cases.  I have ladies at church who are making smaller dresses out of quilt scraps and such.  When someone fills a box, they know the approximate age of that child.  The ones I'm making will be for ages 8-16.  Thank you so much for asking and I hope I've answered your questions.  If I have not or you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
Comment by Gracie on February 8, 2011 at 3:47pm
Angee, I've been filling boxes for OCC for several years but never included clothing because I don't know what sizes to include. Are you just sending the dresses to Samaritan's Purse and letting them include them or are you planning to put them into individaul boxes? How do you know what size to put into what boxes?
Comment by Angella Burt on January 24, 2011 at 5:56pm
i love this and i would like to present this to the ladies at my church to see if we can help you with your goal of 150 dresses. i have been stagnant in my sewing and this would be a great project to jump start me into the passion for sewing again
Comment by Patricia on January 19, 2011 at 2:30pm
You sure did, looks so easy, now if I only had a little girl to make this for. Cute it be

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