A Pillowcase Dress is a perfect beginner sewing project! Learn how to sew a Pillowcase Dress with this free pattern & tutorial. The printable pdf pattern fits girl’s size 2 to 16.
What is a Pillowcase Dress?
When it comes to sewing, I really like projects that are quick, simple and cute. A Pillowcase Dress is an excellent example of a “quick and cute” type sewing project.
Pillowcase dresses are designed to be kind of a “one size fits all” type dress for little girls. The way the dresses are made (loose-fitting and gathered around the neckline), the dress will “grow” with the girl, eventually becoming more of a top than a dress.
This style of “dress” has actually been around for years and years. These little dresses are fast and simple to make and originally were a great way to recycle a set of pretty pillowcases when one of the sets was lost. You can easily make this dress with an old pillowcase, but the trend now is to make the pillowcase style dresses with bright pretty fabrics.
If you do use a pillowcase, the instructions are basically the same except the sides and bottom hem are already done! (You would just use the included bodice pattern to cut the armholes.)
A basic, one fabric, no-frills pillowcase dress, made with store-bought bias tape should take a beginning sewer no longer than a couple of hours to make.
I often refer to my style of sewing as “instant gratification sewing.” To me, there’s nothing better than spending no more than an hour or two at the sewing machine and creating something my little girl will love (and look super cute in, lol.)
I will say, I’ve learned (the hard way) to listen to her opinions and sew with fabrics she likes– nothing more disappointing that her refusing to wear something I made!
When I first got back into sewing, I remember being nervous about sewing without a pattern or having to make my own pattern. So, if you’re new to sewing or just picking it back up after many years, I know exactly how you feel!
Learn How to Make a Pillowcase Dress:
The good news is, for this tutorial, I’ve included a printable pillowcase dress pattern that you can download and print. This post includes step by step instructions on how to sew the pillowcase dress, with photos for you to follow.
Since Pillowcase dresses are designed to grow with the girl, the patterns tend to be “one-size-fits-all.” I wanted my pillowcase dress to fit a bit better, so I created three different pattern sizes: 2t to 5, 6 to 10 and 12 to 16.
Variations of this Pillowcase Dress Pattern
In this pillowcase dress tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a basic pillowcase dress with a ruffle bottom. At the end of the tutorial, I have included 5 simple options to “dress up” your pillowcase dress, including the contrasting top (which is what I did for these photos), a solid dress, solid with banded bottom and a different tie/strap option.
Fabric requirements (found in a chart on the tutorial page) will vary based on the style you choose and size. For a bigger girl, (dress size 6 and up,) you might wish to add width to your pillowcase dress, which will double the amount of fabric needed.
Notice how our size 6 dress is kind of narrow in width? I opted not to use extra fabric and could only make the skirt as wide as the fabric, which was about 42 inches. Don’t worry though, I’ve included a little chart along with the tutorial to help you determine how much fabric is needed.)
Products used and recommended in this pillowcase dress tutorial:
- My favorite shops fabric are Fabric.com, girl charlie and Stylish Fabrics. (My fave for knits is Funkalicious Fabrics.)
- My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist 600-Stitch Machine with Extension Table, Bonus Accessories and Hard Cover
- My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger my coverstitch: Janome Cover Pro 1000cpx
- Pinking Shears
- Rotary Cutter
- I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start of with a smaller Cutting set
- Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen
- Fray Check
- Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!
Materials Needed to Sew a Pillowcase Dress with a Ruffle:
- Fabric (see chart below)
- Free Pillowcase Dress/Bodice Pattern
- 1 package of single fold bias tape that coordinates with your main fabric
- Scissors, ruler, iron and other basic sewing supplies
Fabric Chart for Pillowcase Dress Pattern
Size Chart for the Pillowcase Dress Pattern
Size Height Weight2t: 34 inches 283t: 36 inches 324: 39 inches 365: 42 inches 426: 47 inches 487: 51 inches 608: 53 inches 6610: 55 inches 7412: 57.5 inches 8414: 60 inches 9616: 62 inches 110
- *** Important pattern printing tip*** When printing the pattern, do not print directly from Google docs. Download the pattern to your computer and open it in the free adobe reader program. Choose auto/portrait landscape and select “print actual size.” (If you use any other pdf printing program, I can’t guarantee your pattern will print to the correct size.)
- Seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.
- The fabric chart includes 1/4 yard for fabric ties. For Faster assembly, you could use store-bought bias tape. (You need about 66 inches.)