Monday, 3 February 2014

Pillowcase Dress

This weekend was a weekend of sewing Pillowcase dresses. Partly because I've been saving several pillow cases to turn into dresses, and they've been sitting there waiting to be done for ages. Partly because another blog I love to follow - No Big Dill - is doing an A-Z of sewing clothes for children, and P has to be for Pillowcase dress in my book. And mainly because I gave Venetia a pillowcase in her mini fabric stash for her birthday, right back at the end of November, and she's been nagging me incessantly politely asking me on a regular basis ever since to help her turn it into a dress.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I'm not usually a big fan of sewing clothes for my children. It always seems to take me so long, and then they grow out of them in a flash. But a Pillowcase dress is my kind of thing to sew - they're quick and easy to make, reasonably adjustable so they'll last longer and I think they're very cute. I've made several in the past for the girls, here's one of Venetia's favourites:

Having just said how good it is that they're adjustable - this one isn't, and it's now a bit on the tight side!
And here's Maria's favourite - a different variation on the theme, and she was very happy to 'pose' for pictures for me!

I made this one almost 2 years ago now, it is very adjustable and just about still fits her.

The pink top is the pillowcase part and then there are squares/triangles/oblongs of embroidered handkerchiefs and linens, lace doilies and fabric sewn on all around, with a strip of wide lace to cover the joins.

But I've been saving pillowcases recently, not to make my 2 any more dresses, but to try and make some for the charity 'Dress a girl around the world'. This is an international charity which asks people who can sew to make simple pillowcase dresses to then distribute to girls living in poverty around the world. The charity believes every girl should own at least one pretty dress. When I look at how many pretty dresses just Venetia has in her wardrobe (almost all thrifted or hand me downs, but stilll...), this really doesn't seem like much to ask. So my weekend making was destined to be sent to the wonderful lady who is the UK coordinator of the charity, and who also writes the lovely blog Sew Scrumptious. There's more information on the blog about the charity and there are also links to Pillowcase dress tutorials, so please have a look. If you're reading this outside the UK and are interested in finding out more then here's another link to try: Dress a girl around the world.

So here's how our weekend sewing went. I started with these...

My pillowcase collection.
  And they became these...


This last one was slightly more fiddly - partly because of the flounce I added to the bottom (this had been a flounce all the way around the pillowcase) and partly because the fabric was very thin, and would have been see through, so I had to line it.

Here's Venetia working on hers:

And then proudly modelling the end result.

I've still got a couple more pillowcases, so she's hoping to be able to help me convert those into dresses for the charity too. When we do, we might make them slightly differently, since I've now realised that my version of a Pillowcase dress isn't exactly the same as the official tutorial on Sew Scrumptious. I tend to thread ribbon through the neck to tie on the shoulders, with buttons to secure the ribbon either side. Whereas the tutorial uses elastic in the neck and then has bias binding around the armholes which continues up to tie over the shoulders - if you look at the tutorial hopefully that will make better sense. Anyway, I'm hoping my interpretation will be acceptable, if not it won't be too tricky to convert them.

That's it for today, as well as taking a look at Sew Scrumptious, don't forget Katy at No Big Dill with the sewing A-Z. Her 'P' project is sewing an amazing dress out of paper. Yes, 'P' for paper, now you've got to go and look! But her blog is always full of beautiful images and ideas, go and see. And I'll be back again tomorrow,



  1. these dresses are so pretty! my favorite is the white one with the blue & green design - love the blue ribbon & green buttons. they were definitely worth the wait.

    1. Thank you! That one was my favourite too, it's such a pretty design on the pillowcase.

  2. They look fantastic and such a great cause too. I'm currently bereft of my machine - Its gone off for a service. I'm missing sewing! That dress on Maria with the hanky/doily/fabric bottom is brilliant. I might have to try something like that.
    Venetia's dress looks great too - I just love her look of concentration as she's sewing. Hopefully one day my girl will join me sewing too.

  3. Oh, my goodness...those pillowcase dresses are darling! I LOVE the one with the hankies and doilies! Your daughter's are beautiful models.
    I'm drooling over the antique sewing machine...


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