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Monday, May 7, 2012

Cute as a Hoot Pillowcase Dress

I love pillowcase dresses; they are so easy and fun to make.  While I have never actually made one from a pillowcase, Matt's aunt Sarah showed me how to make them with fabric. 

When I found this owl fabric at Walmart the other day, I decided I needed to make it into a pillowcase dress.

I found a coordinating fabric at a local quilt shop to use for a border and for bias tape  I bought 5/8 of a yard to make a 4 1/2 inch border and bias tape.  You could also purchase bias tape, but I always have trouble finding one that matches well.  I bought 5/8 inch ribbon to use for the tie on top.

First, measure your little girl to see how long you want the dress to be.  If you are not using a border, simply add 2 3/4 inches (This measurement is for the seam allowances I used. If you do your casing/hem differently, you will need to adjust).  Line up your selvage edges of the fabric on your cutting mat, and cut this length of fabric.  I then turn my fabric and cut off the selvage edge.  Example:  I want a 22 inch dress.  I cut 24 3/4 inches of fabric.

If you are adding a border, subract 2 3/4 inches from the length that you want the dress to be.  (Again, this will be different is you use different seam/hem allowances than I do.)  Cut this length from your main fabric.  The border will make up for the additional length needed.  Then cut 6 inches of border fabric.  For my 22 inch dress, I cut 19 1/4 inches of main fabric and then cut my border fabric.

It was at this point that I noticed if I used the owl fabric in this orientation, the owls would be sideways.  Luckily, because my length and width of the dress was about equal, I was able to cut the fabric (at the fold) into two squares and turn it so that the owls would be upright.  You will notice that I have a seam on both sides instead of just one in my examples.

Turn your fabric and cut off the selvage edges. If you are using a border, pin it to the main fabric, wrong sides together. Sew it on with a 1/4 inch seam. Then sew a zig-zag, overlock, or serge stitch on the edge of the fabric. Press the seam toward the border.

For a smaller girl--up to two years old, you may want to taper the dress toward the top so there won't be so much fabric gathered there.  See my example here on the shirred dress tutorial for instructions on how to do this.

Then fold the dress, right sides together, and sew up the side with a 1/4 inch seam.  Finish the edges and press.  For mine, I lined up front and back and sewed both sides.  Make sure to line up your border.

Now you are ready to cut the armholes.  Turn the dress right-side out and fold so that your side edges are lined up.  Using a disappearing ink marker, make a mark 2 inches in.  Then make a mark however long you want your armholes to be plus the seam allowance for the casing at the top (in my case, the seam allowance is 1 1/2 inches).  I typically measure 6 inches for smaller girls and 8 inches for bigger girls. 

Draw a curved line from top mark to side mark.  Pin your fabric together and cut along this line.

This is what you end up with.  Now you either need to make your bias tape or get out the tape you purchased to finish the armholes.  See here again on my shirred dress tutorial for how to make bias tape.  I found three strips of fabric gave me more than enough for both armholes for this dress.

Now to put on the bias tape.  Open up the tape, place it underneath the dress fabric, and line up the fold with the edge of the armhole.  Place in your machine and stitch close to the edge, making sure you are getting the bias tape underneath with your stitching.

Now fold the tape over on top of the dress fabric and top stitch close to the edge of the bias tape.

To make the casing for the top, fold the edge over 1/4 inch and iron.  Then fold 1 1/4 inch again and iron.  Top stitch close to your bottom edge.  Do this on front and back.

For your bottom hem, fold the edge ove 1/4 inch and iron.  Fold again 1 inch and iron.  Top stitch.

Ta-da!  Almost done.  Now it's time to put ribbon through the casing.  I used 5/8 inch ribbon for this.  You could use a bigger or smaller ribbon--just make sure your casing is the correct size to fit it through. 

If you want the ribbon to tie on both sides, cut two 1 yard pieces.  If you are only going to tie it on one side, cut one 1 1/2 yard piece.

Attach a safety pin to the ribbon and guide it through your casing.  Try it on your little girl and adjust ribbon length if needed.  Apply fray check to the ends of your ribbon, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

For more dress ideas, see these posts:

Guess Whoo? Pillowcase Dress

Little Cowgirl Dress

Ruffle-trimmed Shirred Dress with Matching Bolero

Bandana Dress or Skirt


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