Friday, April 16, 2010

Cutest Pillowcase dress Tutorial

Well I said awhile ago I was going to post a tutorial for the pillowcase dresses, but in true procrastinator form I waited until I actually Told someone it was here so I didn't have to go through the whole explanation, so that was yesterday...and here's hoping they haven't looked yet!. And even more hopefully I hope it makes any amount of sense..I'm running on very little sleep at the moment.

So here goes. What you will need
Measuring board/tape
Two fabrics..preferably ones that compliment each other..(dress sizing chart is at the bottom of this post, so you can get you right amount when you go to the store :))
Bias tape (for those who don't want to make it)
Iron and board
2 meters of ribbon in color of your choice.
And of course if it wasn't obvious enough, scissors/roller cutter and a sewingmachine.

Step one : Get two contrasting fabrics and take each one and fold it in half, from fold to edges cut it 21 inches wide (standard width of a pillowcase), Everyone you make will be the same width, even the baby ones, its even cuter on little dresses cause they are so puffy and twirly :)

Step 2: Cut the length, (I will include a standard girls dress measurement list at the bottom of the post) I am doing a 12 month sized one, 15.5 inches, so I cut my main fabric 12.5 inches and my contrasting fabric 6 inches (it will be folded in half to 3 inches) in length. (also 6 inches is just for under size 2 dresses, for all bigger sizes cut your contrast fabric 8 be folded to 4...or whatever your own creative mind tells you will look cute)

Step 3: Either buy bias tape, or cut one long strip from your left over contrasting fabric, about 1 1/2 inches wide, and fold both edges over and iron in place, put it aside for now.

You should have something like this..
Step 4: Take your main fabric (for me it is the polka dots) and fold in half again (should be already folded from first cut) from side fold to raw edges, then measure two inches in from side edges ( at the top of the dress) to center , mark, and then 3 1/2 inches down from top to bottom, mark (for the top to bottom measurement 3 1/2 inches is only for dress sizes under 24 months, the rest of the time it is 5 inches..also Make SURE you are cutting on the fold/edges that are either end of the dress, you don't want to end up with arm holes in the chest!)
..can you see the pins I put for markers?..on the top right and side..

Step 5: Cut from top marker to side marker in a J...picture is side of j is top of dress.

open, you should now have an arm J on both sides of the dress, one on the folded edge and one on the raw.
Step 6: Now take your contrasting Fabric,open the whole length of it, and fold it in half (from 6 inches to 3) and Iron (Ironing isn't a Must, it just keeps the fabric in place for you and makes the lines look crisper)

Step 7: Open your main fabric all the way up and pin your contrasting fabric along the bottom, make sure your main fabric is good side Up, and your contrasting fabric is pinned along its raw edges and not the fold. Then sew and serge/zig zag together, then flip the contrast fabric down and Iron the seam.

Step 8: Fold your dress back together, but this time inside out, sew Up the raw edges to bottom of arm J.

Step 9: take your bias tape and fold it over the arm J's, pin, and sew around both.
Step 10: Serge or zigzag over top edges, then fold down about 1 inch and iron and sew in place...again photo is sideways, sorry.
Step 11: Feed each 1 meter strip of ribbon through one of the sections each in the front or back of neck ( the part you just sewed as shown in above photo) gather fabric along the ribbon and tie together over each shoulder.
You can also add little extras to personalize it alittle, like ribbon along to the bottom, or a pocket, which I did to make my dress (because of the polka dots) seem alittle less minnie-mouse-ish.

Final step:..find the cutest girl around in that size and put it on her!
Then get her to be still and not pull faces (both being done in above photo) for a picture..ok so that is sometimes easier said than done...but it's worth it when it happens. And once you get used to making these (basically its a no brainer after the first one) it takes about 45 minutes to an hour from start to finish, I just LOVE projects that have such a quick pay off! Enjoy!


Note: For the pillow case dresses, always remember that you need to subtract the length of your contrast fabric from the length of your main fabric when you are cutting, so for example, a size 2 is 19.5 inches from neck to knee, cut your main fabric 15.5 inches and your contrast fabric (will be FOLDED in half remember) 8 inches (to be folded to 4). ....does that make any sense?
ALSO: add an extra inch in your main fabric for the fold at the top.
~Standard dress lengths~
6-9 Mos: 14 Inches
12 Mos: 15.5 Inches
18 Mos: 17.5 Inches
2T: 19.5 Inches
3T: 21 Inches
4T: 22 inches
5/6T: 24 Inches
7/8T 26 Inches


  1. Thank you so much for the helpful tutorial! I'm about to go make my daughter one now :)

  2. No problem! Thanks for the comment :) I hope it turns out awesome.

  3. Beautiful! I love your story as well:)

  4. Cute. I was planning on putting a raffle on bottom; so it won't 'plain'. But I saw a pocket
    on one dress (that's darling) so now I'll put
    pockets (I need to make three). They will get a treat in the pockets. Thanks.

  5. If I missed the answer to this question, please forgive me. What is the width of the fabric cuts?

  6. No Problem. It's 21 inches wide, thats for every dress, the standard width of a pillow case :)

  7. I am a begginer and just made this for my daugther in a size 2! Love the measurements you provided- going to make 2 more in an 8 and 12mth! :) Wish I could post a picture for you!

  8. I am making a 6-9 months size pillowcase dress. 1 meter equals approx. 3 feet here in the States. It seems to be an awful long piece of ribbon for baby's dress. Would you recommend shortening it any? Say to a length of 2 feet (2/3 meter). Thanks for your answer! PS- have to publish as 'Anonymous'. don't have any of the accounts required to give my name, etc.

  9. Hey! Yes I am sure 2 feet would be totally fine, The one meter is mostly just a generalization for all the dresses so you can have Large bows or extra ribbon trailing down, but will look just as cute at any preferred length. I have to admit in order to do it myself I've only ever cut them down after having the meter lengths ON the dress already, just eyeballing it, so I don't have a specific ribbon length per dress size to give you. But any length will be cute :) Good luck!