Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

I made this pillowcase dress a year or more ago and was instantly a fan - simple to make, and very cute. Mia wore it in summer with a Tshirt under and in cooler months (it never really gets that cold here in Brisbane) with leggings and long sleeves underneath. Now that she's grown a lot in height, she could probably wear it as a little summer top.

Anyway, I've had this beautiful Japanese style butterfly print sitting in the cupboard for a while and thought it perfect for another of these little dresses, just in time for winter. Here's how I made it...

1. Measure the length needed. I measured from the neckline down to just below the knee. Allow an extra 5cm for seam allowances and casing. So if your measurement is 45cm, you would want a length of 50cm.

2. Measure the length around the chest and halve this measurement. Add 12cm. So if your measurement is 50cm, you would need a width of 37cm.

3. Cut two rectangles of the main fabric to fit these measurements. In my case, I cut two rectangles 50cm x 37cm.

4. Cut a small rounded piece out from all top corners. For mine, I made a snip with the scissors 8cm in and 15cm down, then cut a rounded piece out between the two snips. Either fold the fabric over, or use the cutout piece to make sure all arm holes are the same size.

5. Place the two pieces with right sides together. Sew down both sides, allowing a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seams open.

6. Use the main fabric or a contrasting fabric to cut bias binding. Here's a good video showing how to make your own bias binding.

7. Bind the armholes of your dress. Open the binding and place the right side of the binding on the wrong side of the dress, lining up the edges of both. Sew around the armhole, close to the first fold. Fold the binding back up so that it sandwiches the main dress fabric. Turn over to the right side and sew around 1-2mm from the edge of the binding.

8. Make the casing. For both front and back, turn over 1.5cm and press. Then fold over again and press again. Sew along the bottom of the casing, 1-2mm from the edge.

9. Get ready to hem the dress! Turn inside out and fold the hemline over 1cm, then press. Fold over again 1cm and press again. Sew 1-2mm from the edge. Or you could use a blind hemming stitch to make an invisible hem .

10. Thread ribbon (I used 1m of 4cm wide ribbon, but this will depend on the child's size and your preference) through the casing.

There are a lot of variations to experiment with here. You could use binding in place of ribbon, tie on one or both shoulders, bind along the hemline, add a contrast fabric to the bottom of the dress......and so on.

Happy sewing!

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