12 Weeks of Homemade Christmas – The Pillowcase Dress

Written by Andrea

Each and every year, when the holidays start to get closer, I have the same conversation with Cilla. We discuss homemade Christmas items. We toss around ideas that we have seen done, things that we would like to do, and things that we are actually going to do. And, then, time slips away and I don’t do them. She does. I don’t. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I have spent searching and reading through blogs about the perfect this or that… and then I have spent exactly ZERO hours making said item.

We have 12 weeks until Christmas. And, my searching has begun.

But, this time, I refuse to not actually make some of these items. I’m just going to do it. And, while I’m at it, we are going to share with you some of our ideas, some of the things we have done, will do, or have just ran across online. And, then, we hope that you will share some ideas with us, too!

When I started sewing pillowcase dresses, I did it for summer. There is nothing easier than pulling out a summer dress and some flip flops for your little girl, no matter where you are going. Quickly, I realized that I was selling myself and my daughter short. We could pair these dresses with leggings, tights, long-sleeved t-shirts, boots, etc. and she could wear them year-round.

A perfect gift for a little girl… of just about any age.

Pull out the pattern that I just know you made last week… your pillowcase pattern (can be found at: http://www.ourcupsrunnethover.com/blog/index.php/2011/09/26/how-to-make-pattern/).

And, let’s get started with the tutorial.

First things first… what you need:

About 1 and a half yards of fabric

Coordinating ribbon (probably about a yard and a half)

Sewing machine

Thread, scissors, pins, and a measuring tape

1. First, pin your pattern to your fabric and cut out your pieces. You will cut out two of the fabric… both on the fold. For those of you who are new to sewing, that means that you pin the pattern to the fabric, with the “fold line” along the fabric, where it is folded. You will not cut the fold line. Basically, when the piece is cut out, you will open it up and it will be a symmetrical piece of fabric, twice the size of your pattern. If that makes zero sense to you, e-mail me and I’ll see if I can help explain it more clearly.:)

2. Once you have your pieces ready to go, heat up your iron. You’ll want it ready when you get ready to press out your seams. A good iron is key to making sewing easier. Here is the iron that I fell in love with.:)

3.  Next, you are going to pin your two pieces, right sides together (that means the outside of your dress, or the pretty side of your fabric). You are going to pin the pieces along the sides, leaving the neck, bottom hem, and underarm areas completely alone.

4. Then, stitch the sides together. Once you have stitched both the right and left sides, turn your dress right-side out.

5.  Now, your iron should be good and hot and we can start working on the underarm of the dress. Spread the dress out on your ironing board like so (right side down):

6. Now, using your measuring tape (or just by eye-balling it), begin folding down the edge of the underarm by about 1/2 inch. Press it down with your super hot iron.

7. Then, fold it over another 1/2 inch or so. And, press it again.

8. Sew your underarm area down… being sure to get close enough to catch all layers of the fabric (I usually use a pretty slow speed when doing this to make sure I don’t have to go back). Remember that the seam will be able to be seen on the outside, so you might want to use a thread color that matches closely with the dress fabric.  Repeat on the other underarm.

9. Next, back to the ironing board to finish up the strap casing, or neckline. Fold down edge of the neckline/casing area by about 1/2 inch. Press. You will need to do this on the front and the back. I like to put mine together to make sure I’m pressing them evenly.

10. Then, fold it down again, about 1 inch, and press again. If your ribbon or straps are wider than an inch, you will want to adjust the width of the casing here. For instance, if your ribbon or strap is 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon, you probably need to make this about 1 3/4 inch wide.

11. Check and make sure that your ribbon or your strap will fit through the casing.

12. Assuming that your ribbon will fit, sew along the bottom edge of the casing, making sure to catch all layers.

13. Next, get your ribbon or straps ready to run through the casing. I use a large safety pin to make it easier to run it through the opening. I don’t cut the ribbon until I’ve run it through the dress. Then, I trim it up to make sure I have enough and that I’m not going too short or too long.

14. Tie your ribbon or strap to finish the neckline! We are almost done!

15. The last step… the hem! Much like we did on the other seams, iron down your hem about a 1/2 inch and press. Then, fold it over again and press it. Stitch it close to the edge, catching all layers of fabric.

16. And… enjoy!

P.S. A little tip… when washing the dress, remove the ribbon. It makes it easier to wash and not worry about fraying, and it’s easier to iron out when you pull it out of the dryer! Just my two cents!

P.P.S. I hate the lighting in my pictures. Camera phones suck. Please send me a new camera if you have one laying around.:)

Andrea - October 3, 2011 - 11:38 am

Thank you! I hope it works out nicely ladies!!! I just LOVE them!

Jess Toews - October 3, 2011 - 10:47 am

I am getting a sewing machine this week. This looks like an easy project for a beginner. I’m definitely making one or more :) Thanks!!!

Stacey Woods - October 3, 2011 - 10:26 am

Guess what Lila is getting for Christmas?? A pretty new pillowcase dress! Thanks so much, Andrea. Great tutorial.

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