One day last week, the kids and I were in a rush to get out the door. I was trying to get myself ready along with everyone else, so I sent my 6 year old son upstairs and told him to pick out a pretty dress for his sister to wear.
I have to say, the kid did a great job. He came down with one of my favorite dresses. It was a pretty little tiered pillowcase-style dress that I had made this past Spring. I have always loved the fabric combination used in it, pinks, greens and browns. The dress had been hung up in her closet and she had not worn it all summer.
I have a great stash of summery fabrics, so I decided I should make just one more. And why not create a tutorial while I am sewing it up? So without further ado, here is a tutorial on how to make a Tiered Pillowcase-Style Dress. (**update**I have actually made an additional tiered dress, yo can see how that one came out here.)
1/4 yard for bodice
1/2 yard for the 2nd tier
5/8 yard for the 3rd tier
1/8 yard for the tie
+/-28 inches of coordinating single fold bias tape
*** Update 7/7/13*** I have made the pattern even better and uploaded it for printing here: Pillowcase dress bodice pattern. Be sure and turn off all scaling when you print.
*** Important pattern printing tip*** When printing the patterns, do not print directly from Google docs. Download the pattern to your computer and open it in your adobe acrobat reader. Choose actual size and the landscape option. (I just printed a pattern directly off Google docs and notice it printed slightly smaller.)
The pattern now comes in two sizes 2 to 5 and 6 to 8.
Step 1: Print bodice pattern and cut pattern pieces.
Print, cut out and assemble the pattern.
Fold bodice fabric in half, put the long side on the fabric fold and cut 2 pieces for the bodice.
Cut the two tiers:
Fold middle tier fabric in half fabric in half. The middle tier measurement is:
2/3: 13.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches tall. Cut 2, and when you open it, your fabric pieces will be 27 inches wide.
4/5: 13.5 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall.
6: 13.5 inches wide by 9.5 inches tall.
7/8: 13.5 wide by 10.5 tall
For the bottom tier, fold the fabric in half and cut 2 pieces:
2/3: 21 1/4 inches wide and 91/4 tall. (you will have 2 pieces 42.5 wide)
4/5: 21 1/4 inches wide and 10 1/4 tall.
6: 21 1/4 inches wide and 11 1/4 tall.
7/8: 21 1/4 inches wide and 12 1/4 tall.
Fabric ties: Cut fabric pieces to 3.5 inches tall by 62 inches wide. Depending on your fabric width, you will probably have to sew 2 pieces together. (I had to piece together scraps for mine, so I sewed together 4 pieces to get the length I needed.)
Here is what you will have. (ties not shown)
Step 2: Assembling bodice and finishing armholes:
Lets start sewing… Right sides together, sew up the side seams of the bodice. All seam allowances are 3/8 of an inch. Finish the seams with your preferred method. (Pinking shears, serger, or zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.) Press the seams flat.
I like to finish my armholes with single fold bias tape, so I am going to show you how to use it.
Cut 2 pieces of single fold bias tape 13 1/2 inches long each. Turn fabric right side out and open bias tape up. Align the edge of the bias tape up with the edge of the armhole like this:
Sew along the crease removing pins as you go. Do the same for the second armhole.
Fold bias tape over to the inside of the bodice, iron down and sew.
Step 3: Create casing.
Trim away any uneven bias tape. Fold the top edge over 1/4 inch and press. Fold over one more inch and press again. Sew as close to the folded edge as you can, creating about a 1 inch casing. This is where the tie will go.
Step 4: Assemble and add tiers.
Sew the short sides of the 2nd tier together to make a circle and finish the seam edges. Do this for the 3rd tier as well. Press the seams.
Time to gather the tiers. Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length. (Mine goes to 7.) Sew a straight stitch all the way around, 1/4 inch from the edge. Leave the ends loose, no backstitching. Do this on both tiers. Go ahead and move the stitch length back to the normal length.
To gather the tier pull on the top thread while holding the fabric, you should see the fabric start to gather up.
Gather the 2nd tier to approximately 16 inches. (That is how wide the bottom of the bodice is.) And Gather the 3rd tier to about 23 inches.
Hold the 2nd tier to the bottom of the bodice and make any adjustments in the width of the gather.
Then, right sides of the fabric together, match up the side seams and pin the gathered part of the 2nd tier to the bottom of the bodice. When you are done it will look like this. You can lift up the 2nd tier to see how it will look…
Place the gathered edge under your sewing foot and sew just to the left of the gathering stitch. When I sew gathers, I usually leave my pins in, but you are risking broken needles and pins…
Remove the pins and finish the seams. Repeat for the third tier, lining up the bottom of the 2nd tier to the gathered edge of the 3rd tier. This takes a while… sorry!
Step 5: Create tie.
Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and iron.
Then open up and fold both edges to the middle crease and iron,
Then fold in half and iron again.
Sew along all the edges.
Now, the only thing left is to hem the bottom. Fold the bottom edge over 1/4 inch and press, then fold over another 1/4 inch and press again. Pin if needed and sew along the edge.
Using a safety pin, pull the tie through the bodice casing.
Now sit back and admire your work!
It is even more satisfying to find a sweet little princess to model your outfit…
I hope you are inspired to make something pretty! If you do create something based on this tutorial, I would love for you to share it on my facebook page or tag me on instagram!Don't miss any more posts! You can follow along on Feedly, Bloglovin', your favorite feed reader, or by signing up via email. Just click on one of the icons below: