Tuesday, August 7, 2007

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Pillowcase Dresses

I have been collecting pillowcases ever since I heard about pillowcase dresses. I finally got the inspiration to MAKE them!! :) My girls were SO EXCITED to have something made by Mommy. It really was so cute to see how excited they were.

First Attempt: AA 7yr Rebecca's Pillow Case Dress tutorial King Sized Pillowcase

This tutorial really was pretty easy to follow. BIG mistakes here I made (and it is because I am so new to sewing I did not know any better). After cutting off the top of the case for the "sleeves", I folded over both together and made that the hem rather than folding each INSIDE the cut off pillow case top so that it would hide the ribbon and prevent scratching (which this ribbon hem does). The "sleeves" are also WAY shorter than she needs. I sewed them to the bottom and top of the casing, but next time will only sew to the top of the casing.

Second: MM 4yr Rebecca's Pillow Case Dress tutorial Queen Sized Pillowcase

As you can tell I really liked this pattern. I took things I learned from the first one and applied it to the second. The open edge of this pillowcase already had the darling ribbon and lace. Since I would not be able to match this for the sleeves, I decided to make my own "ribbon" for the sleeves. I cut off the 1 1/2 inched from the top of the pillowcase for the sleeves. Then I cut off another four inches (giving me an open band). I cut that in half and opened to give me one long strip. I have a foot for my sewing machine, that turns the edge of the fabric under making a nice finished edge. I did this on the outer edge of the ribbon. Then I sewed the basting stitch along the other edge to pull to gather them up a little bit. I also folded the open part of the cut top of the pillowcase INWARDS so that I could fit the made fabric ribbon INSIDE the sleeve to hide it as well as prevent it from itching my daughter. I also only sewed the sleeves to the TOP of the casing (instead of top and bottom). This is my FAVORITE of the dresses so far.

Third: EE 5yr Pillow Case Dress. Standard I believe.

I LOVED the ties on this! VERY cute! But I am not a good enough sewer to understand all the directions on the tutorial as written. Especially the whole arm hole thing. I KNOW those are not done correctly. And this came out WAY shorter than I had really wanted for her.I will prolly give this to my niece who is about to turn two. :) BUT I will try to do the ribbon ties again. It just turned out WAY TOO CUTE!!!

Fourth: AA 7yr Rebecca's Pillow Case Dress tutorial King Sized Pillowcase

Because the ribbon on the sleeves were really itching her (that is why she looks that way in the second picture), I decided to turn the other dress into a pillowcase skirt, and begin again.

I loved the matching fabric sleeves from the second attempt, but felt they were too big (as in wide over her shoulder, they are about four inches wide, and as you can see in this dress, there are about 2 - 2 1/2 inches, a much nicer width). So I did that again, only smaller this time. And I really wanted it to have move ruffle, so I made a longer strip so I would be able to have more ruffles on the sleeve. Everything else is basically the same as the second. I absolutely LOVE Rebecca's tutorial and HIGHLY recommend it (and highly recommend she do more tutorials! LOL!! and more pictures for those who are illiterate like me). :)

SO for this one: (clicking on the picture MAY make it bigger)

Cut off the top of the pillowcase 1 1/2 inches for the 1 inch sleeve per Rebecca's Instructions. Cut two three inch strips, cut off the pillowcase hem on the one side and open the strips. These will be your two strips of ruffles (one strip for each sleeve). Take your 1 1/2 inch strip and cut in half NOW (as opposed to after sewing on the ribbon).

Sew ruffles and attach to sleeve pieces. Easiest way I found to do this:
sew basting along one side of three inch strip. Sew rolled hem along opposite side. Pull basting to make ruffles. Keep pulling to make strip fit into the sleeve part. After you have pulled enough to make fit, sewing the edges into a rolled hem will help keep you from ruffling more than you need to. :) Carefully open the small strip for the sleeve and fit the ruffles in, closing up the sleeve and pinning as you go. Then sew (the basting part of the ruffles will be INSIDE the strip of sleeve). THOSE ARE MY FIRST EVER!!! I am so proud of myself! So I will post another pic of the sleeves just because YEAH! They came out correct! :)

Things I learned:
It is easier to work with the pillowcase turned INSIDE OUT! That allows you to iron it better because you do not have the bulk of the seam in the way. It just gives it a little bit more professional look (although all of mine totally look handmade because I am so bad at this! LOL!!).

If you have an older child (like my 7yr), those sleeves really do come out tiny. You can see how far up this dress is on her. What I **MIGHT** do next time is cut off the hem from the top of the pillowcase, then cut TWO 1 1/2 inch strips for the sleeves and measure how long I want those to be, then cut those to length (leaving room for hem) and then go from there.

Q&A on the dresses


Rebecca said...

wow. I am shocked. I am SPEECHLESS! When I came over I expected ONE dress. Not FOUR! You have been a sewing MACHINE lately! ALL of these dresses turned out DARLING. REally and truly! You did a FABULOUS job!

Now. I have a few comments to make, so here goes. The last dress (where you said you thought the sleeves were too large, can I presume that is because the front was too low on your daughters chest? If so, I figured out a remedy to that in order to prolong the use of the dress (so that it would take longer for the armholes to be too small). Simply sew lace in between the two front arms. That way, you have a bit more coverage in front, the back and the front is distinguished, and the arm holes can still be used big! Try it sometime!

Second-my favorite is the dress you made for Blondie. Dear me is she PRECIOUS in it! I LOVE the ruffle and lace on the bottom. May just have to add that sometime...

Third, you said you had been saving pillowcases up since you heard about them. Where did you find them? At yardsales and such?

Fourthly~I am VERY curious about how you made arrows and type INSIDE your photos. Would you mind sharing how, perty please?!?!

Fifth (and lastly...I think) I promise to do more tutorials when we get high speed internet-which is currently in the works! Praise God!

Anyway. GREAT job, your girls look LOVELY and are proud of you, I am sure, for all your hard work!

Lisa said...

Beginner at sewing or not, your pillow case dresses turned out so great! You must be so pleased. You put alot of work into them and it looks like your girls are happy with them too.

Have a great weekend!

Mrs.T said...

These are very, very cute! You did such a nice job on them.