Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pillowcase Dress

I fell in love with these dresses when I saw an adorable little 1 year-old wearing one at church. As of now, I don't have a daughter, but I'm pregnant and due in December (and crossing my fingers for a girl). I have a 1 son, but crafts and sewing projects tend to center around girls. So for now, I've had to settle for making things for my sister's girls.

**You can actually use a pillowcase and just alter the neckline and arm holes if you want, but I made mine from scratch.

1. Measure your child from the shoulder to where you want the hem to rest (and then add 3 inches to allow for seams) to get your total length. Or you can use these generic lengths as well.
  • 6 month - 14.5" long
  • 12 months - 16.5" long
  • 18 months - 17.5" long
  • 2T - 18 .5" long
  • 3T - 19.5" long
  • 4T - 20.5" long
  • 5 - 21.5" long
  • 6 - 22.5" long
2. Cut your fabrich to the desired length and width (below are approximate widths with your fabric folded in half width wise). The total width would be doubled if you don't fold the fabric in half.
  • 6-18 months - 15" wide
  • 2T-4T - 16-20" wide
  • 5-6 - 21-24" wide

3. Sew the side seam and then iron the seam open.

4. Cut armholes. By folding the dress in half, you can line up both arm corners so you can cut them at the same time, making them identical. You'll want to cut a "J" shape out of the corner. Below is a picture of the piece I cut out. For reference, you can use these approx. measurements:

  • 6 month - 2T - cut down 3" from the top and in 1.5" from the side
  • 3T-4T - cut down 4" from the top and in 2" from the side
  • 4 and 5 - cut down 5 or 6" from the top and in 2" from the side
  • 6 - cut down 7 or 8" from the top and in 2" from the side

5. You have 2 options for finishing the edges around the arm holes:

  • sew bias tape around the edge
  • fold in 1/4"and iron flat and then fold another 1/4" in and iron then sew (i used thise option - folding in twice makes it so that you don't have any raw edges)

6. Fold the top (neckline) in approx. 1" and sew.

7. Cut ribbon into 2 pieces of equal length (1 yard each) and thread it through the neck line. Your ribbon may be too long on the smaller sizes after you tie it on their shoulders, but I would wait to cut it until you try it on your child to know where you want the length to be. I also used Fray-Check on the edges of the ribbon so they won't fray in the wash or by wearing it.

8. Fold the bottom in 3" and hem. You can add ribbon or ric-rac to the seam line like I did if you want some embelishment. I also added some contrasting fabric at the bottom too.


  1. That is so cute! This has always been on my list to make. Thanks for the measurements! I need to make a gift for a newborn and her sister so I'll just make the 6 month size! This will be my project today! I'll link back to your instructions ;)

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! So cute!

  3. I'm the editorial director of the Utah Baby Guide- It is a totally free magazine for new parents. I would REALLY like to feature this tutorial in the July issue, and my deadline is tomorrow- June 23rd. I will link back to you, you would be in the by line, and I can include a bio about you, too, if you would like. Please let me know-
    Jessica Taufer

  4. Thanks so much for all the measurements! The dresses turned out great....I made 2! Here is the link....

  5. To "Just the Write Thing" . . . I actually don't remember how I found your website. I did a bunch of blog stalking and I think you may have been linked by someone else, so it was a long chain to find you. But I love your site! And, I don't personally know Kim Clayton - just another result of blog stalking :)

  6. I love that picture!

  7. Hi I don't know how I found your blog...just bouncing around but I love this. Thanks I plan on making one soon. I will link to you when I do.

  8. Thanks for the tutorial including measurements for little girls...My 1 month old looks so cute in hers!

  9. Thanks for the tutorial. I made 3 recently. Here is my blog post about it.

  10. LOVE this!! Thanx for the tutorial! I've been looking for one with pictures, and yours is perfect. I can't wait to try this for my daughter!


  11. Thank you for this tutorial! I just made a dress for my daughter using it. It turned out really cute.

  12. I love when little girls wear dresses they look so cute but now is so difficult to find a girl that likes to wear dresses. My husband said that dresses catch the attention of men so it was how I made to convince my husband that he had to visit Viagra Online Generic Viagra Buy Viagra

  13. im gonna be the dummy and ask...on the measurements for that finished length or ebfore sewing and folding length?

  14. Thank you so much for posting these instructions! They were easy for me - a sewing novice (at best!) to follow. Thanks, especially, for posting the average measurements for different ages. I'm making 4 dresses & needed 3 different sizes. I just finished my first dress last night & it looks great! Thanks, again!

  15. Thanks for the measurements and instructions. I plan on making these for my granddaughters with matching ones for their American Girl dolls.

  16. Thank you for your tutorial. I just finished my first one and am cutting fabric for many more. I will be taking these with me to Haiti when I go in October.

  17. Thank you for posting this! I use to make these dresses for my daughter 20 years ago, and now that she is pregnant I am looking forward to making them again for my grand daughter!

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  19. Any chance you could show a picture of how you tied the ribbon at the top or how you did the ribbon at all. Thanks so much!

  20. Adorable! Every little girl needs a pretty dress. So glad you shared this with us! Thanks!

    Gretta Hewson
    Why not see Olympia Landscaping website

    1. Thank you so much for such a great detailed pattern with all the different sizes! I have been wanting to make some nice simple little dresses for my granddaughter. Can’t wait to get started. Again thanks a bunch!

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