November 14, 2012
I know I’ve been MIA lately and I have 2 really HUGE reasons for that. I’ll share them soon, I promise, but until I’m ready to divulge my surprises, I wanted to get this tutorial posted. We talked about it on my Facebook page late last week and I was finally able to get all this together!
I’ve received many notes, emails, and messages from you amazing readers over the past 18 months about using my pillowcase dress tutorial to make dresses for little girls all over the world. It’s always moved me that so many of you are so giving and caring and take the time to not only sew for others, but to share your stories with me. I posted the latest email I got last week and it sparked a conversation about how more of you would like to get involved and sew these amazingly simple dresses to donate to girls in need. I know of one drive currently taking place so I wanted to share the info with everyone who was interested. If you know of any others and would like to drum up more donations for them as well, please feel free to shoot me an email with details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE APRIL 2013: I have created an all-encompassing post on the pillowcase dress, full of size charts and multiple places to donate dresses if interested. Click on that link in the right sidebar for the “Ultimate Pillowcase Dress” post. ————>
Interested in participating? Great! You can either use my original Pillowcase Dress Tutorial
Or check out the new one I’ve worked up for those of you with a serger.
From my first post many have asked me about how big to cut fabric for different size dresses, so I’ve created a little chart for you all to use.
IF YOU’RE USING MY ORIGINAL TUTORIAL USE THIS CHART:
IF YOU’RE USING MY NEW TUTORIAL WITH A SERGER USE THIS CHART:
*For all sizes that are 22″ wide, that means you should use the width of the fabric. Fabric comes in 2 widths, 45″ and 60″. Nearly all cotton fabrics are 45″ wide, then are folded in half and wound around the bolt. So when you buy a yard, you’re buying a piece of fabric 36″ long by 45″ wide. To use the width of the fabric, keep it folded in half, but make sure you line your edges up evenly, and cut it in half. Each half is now approximately 22″ wide. After you cut off the printed selvages your piece will be more like 21.25″ wide, but that’s okay. There’s plenty of room in these dresses.
**To make a dress bigger than a size 8, continue following the formula for each size increase.
Since I discovered the wonder of serger sewing, I’ve been making my pillowcase dress with even greater ease. I can whip one up in about 30 minutes now and they’re so simple to create for special occasions or to give as gifts.
And the new way has a simple arm hole that provides less bulk for the wearer.
I made this dress in a size 6 to give to a friend as a birthday gift. So I cut 2 pieces 22″ wide by 27″ long.
To begin, serge the top and bottom edges of each piece.
Cut the tails off and serge down the side edges on both pieces.
Now all four sides of each dress piece will be serged.
Tie off the serger threads and clip them short. Now measure for the armhole. For most size dresses, I use 6″ as it’s a roomy amount without showing too much side. I need to add 1″ for my top casing so I measured down 7″ and pinned the front and back together with right sides facing.
Sew from the pin to the bottom of the dress using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat for the other side.
Open the dress and press the side seams open, continuing past the stitching and ironing the armhole sides down as well.
Starting at the top of one side, using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew the arm hole sides down. Stitch down one side until you’re about 1/4″ past the bottom of the opening,
leaving the needle in the down position, raise your foot and turn the dress 45 degrees to sew along the bottom of the opening.
Then making sure you’re lined back up at 3/8″, sew up the other side to the top.
Repeat for the other side of the dress.
Now fold down the casing. I generally use 7/8″ size ribbon, so I like to measure down 1 1/8″ and iron. If you’re using a smaller ribbon, 1″ will be fine. Repeat for both sides.
Stitch down the casings. I generally just sew along the edge where the serger stitching ends, in this case it’s just under 1″.
Then fold up your hem 1″ and stitch it in place.
I double the width of each side for my pieces of ribbon. So for this dress, I used 2 ribbon pieces 44″ in length. Thread each one through the casings on each side of the dress and stitch them in place in the middle of the casing to prevent them from coming out.
Tie off your ribbons and you’re done!