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How to Make a Pillowcase Dress

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101I did a little sewing this weekend, something I haven’t done in a very long time.  It was cathartic in so many ways, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.

I bought some fabric a few weeks ago to make a table runner.  Maggie saw it & asked if I was going to use it to make her a pretty dress.  I told her there wasn’t enough but that I would take her to the fabric store and let her pick out her own fabric to make a dress.

Now I have a confession.  At the time, I had absolutely no intention of making Maggie a dress.  It was one of those things I just said to appease her, assuming she would forget all about it in a matter of minutes.

Well guess what?

She didn’t forget.  She asked at least 5 times a day for almost two weeks when we were going to go pick out fabric for her pretty dress.  She wore me down and finally I succumbed.

I am by no means an expert sewer.  At one point I may have been an intermediate sewer, but for the most part, I don’t have the patience to mess around with complicated projects or patterns that take more than a few hours.

But I think it turned out pretty cute.  At least this little munchkin liked it:

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

And it was super easy to make, even making it up as I went along!

To make this dress, you will need about a yard of fabric (or less for a smaller dress) and about 1/4 yard of a coordinating fabric.  You will also need about a yard of coordinating ribbon.  And there are no complicated techniques–if you can sew a straight line, you can make this dress!

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 1: Cut out the dress out of 2 identical pieces of fabric so it looks like this.  The easiest way to figure out the size is to take a dress that fits and use it to measure the length, then make it a little wider.  When cutting, fold it in half lengthwise so that your armholes are uniform.  To make the armholes, cut a “J” shape about 6″ long and 3 inches wide.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 2: Cut 2 identical pieces of contrasting fabric about six inches long and match the width to the bottom of the dress.  Fold the two trim pieces in half lengthwise, then iron flat.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 3: Place folded trim piece on “right” side of fabric with raw edges matched up.  Sew together, then fold down and stitch once more.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 3: Once you have added the trim piece to both dress pieces, match the dress pieces together, “right” sides together.  Stitch the sides together.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 4: Fold over the armholes, iron flat, then pin to hold and stitch.  This is the hardest part of the whole dress! (And it’s not hard!)

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 5: Fold over the top of the dress, then fold again so that the raw edge is hidden.  Iron flat and stitch closed, leaving about an inch between the seam and the edge.  (This is where the ribbon will go).  Repeat for other side.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Step 6: Cut ribbon in two pieces.  String one ribbon through front and one through back, then tie together on each side.  Voila, you’re done!  How easy was that?

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

If you are a good or very meticulous sewer, these directions will probably not satisfy you.  There are some raw edges (I used pinking shears to prevent fraying) and I didn’t really measure anything.  The dress I made for Trouble ended up being too wide, so I simply re-stitched the sides and then trimmed the excess.  Not exactly master tailoring!

But who cares, right?

In just over 2 hours I had two cute dresses for two happy girls.

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

DIY Pillowcase Dress | Handmade Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | Easy Pillowcase Dress | Pillowcase Dress Patterns | Sewing 101

Sometimes perfection is overrated.

31 Comments

  1. Dawn
    February 22 at 08:23PM

    These are adorable, Ruth! It makes me want to pull out my sewing machine….

  2. Tonya
    February 22 at 08:56PM

    Great Job Ruth! These are adorable 🙂

  3. RuthAnn
    February 23 at 02:14AM

    Thanks for sending some blog love my way!! 🙂

  4. February 23 at 12:44PM

    love it! May actually try this one 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness, these are adorable! I think you did a fantastic job, and I can’t help but feel inspired to (maybe) try it myself! 🙂 tfs

  6. March 16 at 04:25PM

    I love your pillowcase dress. Do you have the arm size for all ages. If so could I have them. Thanks you so much for your time.

  7. yasmin
    May 11 at 06:14PM

    Hello Friend.

    This dress is very cute.. I have just bought a sewing maching but dont know how to sew at all….. however i have some pillowcases from the charity shop and im going to have a go…. it has taken me a good few hours to learn how to sew in a straight line, but practice makes perfect.. thanks for putting this up for all of us beginners.
    yasmin xx

  8. meghan
    May 18 at 01:55PM

    thanks! i can’t wait to get started!

  9. May 30 at 03:21PM

    Your site came up in my search engine results & I am so glad I clicked on it! Love your site & love this entry. I’m new to sewing & just bought my first machine yesterday. Thanks for the dress tips! Can’t wait to try it out. 🙂

  10. Ashley B
    July 5 at 01:02AM

    Just wanted to let you know, I made my 3 year old daughter a pillowcase dress following your directions, and it turned out so cute! There are 100s (maybe 1000s) of how-to directions out there, but yours was perfect for the kind of person I am: crafty, but not perfect! I am so happy to have found a simple yet satisfactory method in making my daughter this style dress…she’ll have one for every occasion! Thanks for sharing your idea. Sincerely, Ashley B.

  11. Kim
    August 25 at 03:16PM

    Would you be able to show a video of how you made the dress. Im not that good at looking at pictures when it comes to this kind of stuff. Would love to make these for my little girl 🙂

  12. Mindy Rogers
    August 30 at 04:46AM

    Wow! I had some leftover fabric that my daughter had picked out and used it to make this today. I found your instructions today (I prefer pics to video) and made this in an afternoon. I had the front and back with the trim at the bottom sewn on in an hour. (It takes me a while before I cut the fabric and I have to chase a 2 yo all over the place!!)
    Thank you so much! It turned out great and I know she is going to love it. The next time I make this, I know I can knock the whole thing out within the hour. Amazing! I love easy projects!!
    🙂

  13. Shelly
    March 6 at 02:06PM

    Thank you for the easy tutorial…I looked at your blog so many times. For non professional sewers I like that you made it so simple…so many other sites seem so complicated for a beginner. Thank you!!

  14. Misti
    May 3 at 11:45AM

    How much fabric for an adult size dress??? Yes I will make one for myself and wear it proudly? I’m 5′ and medium build…

  15. jessica
    May 19 at 12:35PM

    I love these dresses i am definitaly going to try this

  16. mel
    May 29 at 04:11PM

    what are the stats for making a larger size dress for plus size? i would love to have a go at this for one of my friends

  17. petey
    July 13 at 12:36AM

    alert(‘wow’)

  18. Jess
    March 17 at 07:08PM

    Absolutely adorable! I’ve got some leftover fabric and a few yards of fabric that my awesome Mother in law gave me and I’m definitely trying this!!! Thanks!

  19. May 15 at 02:13AM

    Great tutorial! I had a cute polka-dot fitted sheet rip at the corner and was about to put it in the “donate” pile, then realized I probably had just enough fabric to make one of these! Excited to try it out.

  20. October 27 at 11:05AM

    Fantastic web site. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to several buddies ans also
    sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you to your effort!

  21. October 6 at 07:34AM

    I think this is onne of the most vital information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But wan to remark on some general things, The website syyle is ideal, the articles is
    really great : D. Good job, cheers

  22. Katlin
    July 8 at 09:05PM

    That’s my kind of sewing project! Now, if they made something this simple for boys… If you find something let me know!

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