Nostalgic Pillowcase Dress

Nostalgic Pillowcase Dress
Charming embroidered pillowcases from the past or those with beautiful prints or cut-work or pretty scalloped edges can be made quite easily into a little girl’s summer dress. Vintage textiles can be used as well to create a delightful heirloom-quality keepsake dress. In times past, many a frugal grandmother or mother would sew pillowcase dresses for their little ones. The pillowcase dress is truly a nostalgic tribute to days gone by.

To begin, measure how long you want the sleeveless dress to be and cut across the sewn pillowcase end, opposite from the pillowcase opening, leaving an additional one to two inches in length.

With the cut pillowcase laid flat, cut two curved arm scythes from either side of the pillowcase top edge. These will become the armholes. The armhole cut is approximately 2-inches measured in from each side, and 3 to 4-inches long as it curves down in a "J" like shape on one side and reversed on the other. You can also use any child-sized pattern that contains a top or shirt to use just the armhole shape for a template. Encase the armhole edges in purchased bias tape if you'd like to secure the armhole edges from fraying or sew a running stitch on the armhole edges 3/8-inch from the edge, clip into curves up to the stitching line every few inches, turn in on the stitched edged and top-stitch to secure the turned edge.

Turn down the top edges, front and back, one or two inches, press, then turn the raw edge under again 1/4-inch to form a clean edge, press again then stitch across the pressed edges separately to form a front casing and a back casing. Thread approximately one yard or less of wide satin or grosgrain ribbon through the front and back casing to create each shoulder tie. Gently adjust gathers on the front and back of the pillowcase dress by tying the ribbon ends in a floppy bow over each shoulder area.

If you choose not to use a pillowcase, but have some beautiful fabric instead, about 45-inches wide, then just cut the fabric length the measure for the finished dress plus add a little more for the hem edge and the casing edges. Sew the selvages together right sides facing each other to form a back center seam, press seam open flat, turn right sides out and adjust so the center back seam lies at the back, and then continue as above. Add an eyelet flounce to the straight hem or some lace at the top or bottom edges to add some vintage whimsy to the dress. Of course fabric a scalloped edge placed at the hemline needs no additional embellishment!

Pillowcase dresses for children essentially are one size fits most with the length of the finished dress to determine what will look best.

Sew happy, sew inspired.

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2022 by Cheryl Ellex. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.