A Pillowcase Dress

I made this dress this week. It is my first attempt at a dress and I think it turned out pretty well. The pillowcase dress is an excellent beginner project. The biggest problem that I had was that my son attacked the dress with a pair of scissors that I had left within reach when I left the room to put the kettle on. I had planned to do the bottom ruffle in the vintage pillowcase fabric from the start. But, I had expected to do the rest of the dress with the California Dreamin' fabric by Jenean Morrison from Fabricworm. When my son cut the fabric, I improvised by adding more of the vintage fabric at the top of the dress and I think it looks quite nice.

If you would like to make this dress, here are some tips for beginners...

There are all kinds of tutorials on the internet for this type of dress. Just Google 'pillowcase dress' and a number of them will come up with detailed instructions. I used the instructions on this link and on this link.

Adding a ruffle to the bottom of your dress is really easy!
  • Cut two pieces of fabric 1 1/2 - 2 times as wide as it should be (here my dress was 20 1/2 inches wide - based on the size of a pillowcase - so the frill was cut about 31 inches - the longer you make it, the more it will gather) and 2 times as long as you want it to hang (plus 1/2 inch for a seam allowance - I think mine was 10 1/2 inches so that it hangs about 5 inches on the finished dress). 
  • Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing, lengthwise. 
  • Press open the small seam and then fold and press the now very wide piece in half width-wise, right sides facing out. 
  • Then sew it width-wise with no tension and a very long stitch length and width so that your sewing is very loose. Do not zig-zag at the beginning and end as you normally would to secure your stitching.
  • Once complete, just tug gently on either your top or bottom thread. 
  • Continue to pull whichever thread pulls easily so that the ruffle gathers. 
  • Lay out your ruffle and ensure that it is the same width as your dress. 
  • Starting at one of the side seams, pin the center of the ruffle to your dress all the way around right sides facing (I made sure that my ruffle seams and my dress seams matched exactly)
  • Then sew your ruffle on with a half inch seam allowance (because the ruffle is lumpy, it is a bit awkward to sew but most imperfections will be hidden by the gathers)
If you want some pictures and better ruffle-making instructions, you can find a great ruffle pdf here on Sandi Henderson's website. There are a bunch of gorgeous fabric and kids clothes patterns on this site by the way.

The little girl for whom this dress was made has a favorite doll, so, I'm off to make a matching dress for the doll. I'll share the finished doll's dress soon.

♥ Andrea ♥

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