Polished Pillowcase Dress Sewing instructions
Learn how to make a Pillowcase Dress w/ this free Pillowcase Dress pattern and tutorial.
- Fabric requirements 1 to 2 yards (see chart here)
- 36 inches of single fold bias tape that coordinates with your main fabric
- Scissors, ruler, iron and other basic sewing supplies
- 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!
Pattern info: *** Important pattern printing tip***
- *** 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.” (I just printed a pattern directly off Google docs and noticed it printed slightly smaller.)
- Seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.
Polished Pillowcase Dress Sewing Instructions
Step 1: Cutting out the pattern pieces.
Main dress pieces: Measure your child from armpit to how long you want your dress to be. Add 1/2 inch to this number, then subtract 4. Write this final number down. (It is the length of the dress minus the ruffle. If you don’t have a child to measure you can use the approximate measurements provided in the fabric chart here. The fabric amounts are based on these numbers.)
Fold the selvages over the to the middle of the fabric.
Line up the bodice pattern so edge that says “fold” is on the fold of the fabric.
To draw out the dress pattern, place your measuring tape or ruler at the lower corner of the armhole and measure down to your measurement to the edge of the fabric. Use a fabric marker to mark along this line. Then with a ruler, make a straight line back over to the fold. Cut out the pattern piece,
Use the 1st pattern piece as a guide to to cut out the second piece.
Ruffle: Cut two strips of fabric, selvage to selvage 8.5 inches tall. (These strips will be about 42 by 8.5.)
Fabric tie: Cut one strip of fabric 4 inches tall by the width of the fabric, cut a 2nd piece 4 inches tall by 23 inches wide.
Step 2: Assembling the dress and finishing armholes.
Line up the front and back piece, right sides together and sew along the sides. You will need to finish these seams with pinking shears, zig zag stitch on your sewing machine or with a serger.
When it comes to sleeveless tops, I have trouble folding fabric on a curve and making it look good, so I like to use single fold bias tape to make perfect armholes. For this method cut 2 pieces of single fold bias tape to about 16 inches each. Turn dress right side out and open bias tape up. Align the edge of the bias tape up with the edge of the armhole as shown below, pin in place.
Keep going until you have pinned the bias tape around the entire armhole.
Sew along the fold of the bias tape (about 1/4 inch in.)
Fold the bias tape back up and over to the other side.
Pin in place and sew right along the edge of the bias tape. Repeat for the other armhole.
Press the side seams and armholes flat.
Step 3: Creating the casing.
Fold the top edge of the dress over 1/4 and press.
Fold over another inch and press again. Sew along the bottom edge of the fold. Repeat on the other side of the dress.
Step 4: Create and add the ruffle.
Place the two fabric strips right sides together and cut off the selvage edges. Sew the strips together end to end so you have a very large circle. Iron these seams open. (I used my serger and could only iron them to the side..)
Fold the fabric circle in half, wrong sides together, and iron flat. (Wow, I obviously need to replace my ironing board cover… We have very hard water and I use steam quite a bit.)
To create the ruffle, change your stitch length setting to the highest setting. Sew a straight stitch along the open edge of the fabric circle. Do not back stitch.
To ruffle the fabric, pull on the bobbin string in one direction while pushing the fabric in the other direction. The father will start to gather up. Keep pulling/pushing the fabric and thread, making sure to distribute the gathers evenly.
The flash makes it difficult to see what is going on, here is a photo from a different tutorial. You can see a little better how the ruffle is gathering up.:
Keep gathering the ruffle until the ruffle is the same width as the bottom of the skirt.
line up the edge of the ruffle with the bottom edge of the dress as shown below and pin in place.
Make sure you have switched the stitch length back to normal and sew the ruffle to the skirt by sewing along the bottom edge about 1/4 inch from the edge.
Finish this seam with pinking shears, zig zag stitch on sewing machine or with a serger.
Flip dress to the front and iron the finished seam, pointed up. Top stitch the ruffle along the bottom of the dress as shown in the photo below.
Step 5: Creating the tie:
Sew the 2 fabric strips together so you have about a 62 to 65 inch long strip of fabric. Cut of the selvage ends.
Fold and iron the strip as shown in the photos below:
Tuck in the ends and sew along the edge.
Thread the tie through the casing, and you are done! Now go find a sweet little princess to try on your creation and take some pictures!!!
Are you ready for a couple more options for the pillowcase dress?
Option 1: Solid color. Just measure from the armpit to where you want the dress to end and add .75 inches. Follow all thee steps above, but instead of adding a ruffle, you will create a narrow hem on the bottom of the dress by folding the bottom edge over 1/4 inch, ironing. Folding over another 1/4 inch, ironing again and sewing along the fold.
Option 2: Contrasting band. Cut a strip of fabric 8.5 inches tall, selvage to selvage. Iron the fabric strip in half (like the ruffle fabric strip in the tutorial above.
Lay your main skirt fabric out right side up, line up raw edges of border fabric and raw edges main fabric. Pin and sew.
Finish this seam with your preferred method. Iron flat with finished seam pointing up and top stitch along the edge.
Option 3: Contrasting top:
Cut a 4 inch strip, selvage to selvage, from your contrasting fabric. Line up the strip with your main fabric (be sure to even up the edge of the main fabric) and sew the two together. Finish this seam with your preferred method and press.
Look at the bodice pattern, you’ll see a line marked “contrasting fabric line.” Line up this line on the seam of the two fabrics and cut out the pattern pieces as directed above.
Option 4: Fuller skirt for big girls:
Instead of cutting the front and back pieces from one width of 44 inch fabric, you will need to double the amount of fabric needed for the main skirt. (and contrasting band or ruffle fabric.)
Fold the fabric in half and place bodice pattern on fold. measure down from the armhole and mark the desired length, then measure 16.25 inches from the fold for the width of the skirt. Use these marks to cut out a fuller skirt. (If you are working with a 60 inch wide knit fabric, I would just go with 60 inches.)
If you are adding a contrasting band, the width needs to be 65 inches. If you are adding a ruffle, the ruffle strip needs to be 113.75 inches wide before ruffling.
Option 5: Double bows and contrasting bias tape armholes.
Additional materials needed: About 105 inches of 1/2 double folded bias tape. (store bought or homemade)
Instead of finishing the armholes with single fold bias tape, open the double fold bias tape and “sandwich” the armholes with the double fold bias tape.
Pin the bias tape in place and sew along the edge. Create the casing as shown in the tutorial above.
Sew along the edge of the remainder of the bias tape. Fold it in half and cut it into 2 pieces.
Thread the bias tape through the casings and tie knots in the end. That’s it you are done!
Now have your model try on the dress and get some pictures!
If you make a pillowcase dress with my pattern, be sure to come back and share your finished dress on my facebook page or tag me on instagram with #scatteredmompatterns!