Pillowcase Dresses: How to Make Them

    by Katharine Godbey

    About the Author

    Katharine Godbey began freelance writing for blogs and websites in 2007 with a background in curriculum writing and teaching. She studied business at Colorado Technical University. Godbey enjoys writing about many topics including small business, crafts and florals, decorating and health.


    Pillowcase dresses are sundresses made with new or re-purposed pillowcases for an upcycled, creative new fashion staple. Since pillowcases are commonly made with cotton, their soft fabric is comfortable for children and easy to launder. From plain solid colors decorated with trims and appliques to fancy prints, the possible styles are endless. These adorable, easy-to-sew fashions are sure to be a hit for little girls and can be worn as a dress or top with pants.

    Things You'll Need

    • Pillowcase
    • Measuring tape
    • Washable marking pen
    • Scissors
    • 1 package bias tape
    • Pins
    • Sewing machine
    • Iron
    • 1/4-inch-wide ribbon (3 yards)
    • Safety pin

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    Preparing the Pillowcase

    Wash, dry and press the pillowcase to remove fabric sizing and wrinkles. It helps to preshrink the fabric to prevent puckered seams after washing.

    Measure, mark and cut horizontally across the closed end of the pillowcase. The amount to cut varies on the desired finished size; make the pillowcase 14 1/2 inches long for a 6-month-old; 16 1/4 inches for a 12-month-old; 17 1/4 inches for an 18-month-old; 18 1/4 inches for a 2-year-old; 19 1/4 inches for a 3-year-old and 20 1/4 inches for a 4-year-old. Add 1 1/2 inches to the measurement.

    Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise. Make a mark 1-inch down from the raw edge along the fold line. Make a second mark 2 inches from the raw edge on the side opposite to the fold. Make a third mark 6 to 8 inches from the raw edge and at the edge of side opposite the fold. 6-inch measurement works well for the smaller sizes; gradually increase for the larger sizes.

    Make the arm holes by cutting in a gradual curved line from the second mark to the third mark through the four layers of fabric. Cut a gradual curve from the first mark to the second mark for the neckline. The dress will now be open at both sides.

    Sewing the Pillowcase

    Place and pin the bias tape over the raw edge on each arm hole. Sew the bias tape in place with a top stitch close to the tape edge.

    Turn the pillowcase inside out and fold over 3/4-inch along the front and back of the neckline.

    Pin the fold in place and sew along the front and then the back of the neckline as close to the rough edge as possible to create a casing for the dress straps, and leaving a 3/4-inch gap at the left and right sides.

    Finishing the Dress

    Cut the ribbon length in half. Attach a safety pin to one end of each piece.

    Push one safety pin through the casing along the neckline until it comes out of the opposite side. Repeat with the second safety pin through the other casing.

    Remove the safety pins and cut the ribbon ends at an angle. Gather the dress fabric up slightly along the neckline. Tie a front and a back ribbon together into a bow for shoulder straps.

    • Add ric rac trim, appliques, buttons or bows to the dress for additional embellishments.
    • Use fabric instead of a pillowcase. Fold a 1-yard length piece in half (right sides together) sew 1/4-inch seam along the edge.