Easiest Pillowcase Dress Ever

May 10, 2011

There’s something about warm weather that brings out the pillowcase dresses in droves. And I’m no exception!! A few years ago I stumbled across the easiest tutorial I’ve ever seen for these popular dresses and since I can’t find the source again (if anyone knows who it belongs to, please let me know!), I’m making my own tutorial. I’ve been asked several times lately how I make them, so I figured it was time to share!

                          

Since originally posting this tutorial, I’ve come up with a cutting and sizing chart to make it easier to figure out fabric for different sizes.

I’ve also posted an updated tutorial on making this simple version of a pillowcase dress using a serger:

The measurements for this dress are a 2T/3T, but it’s really easy to measure for any size. Determine the finished length you want, for me it was 20″, then add 4″ to it for seam allowances. The width of the fabric is the width we’re using. So lay out your fabric and cut to your desired length.

Make sure your selvages match up,

then cut the fabric in half up the side.

Take both pieces to the ironing board and fold the side over 1/3″-ish. I don’t measure, I just fold. Iron it down.

Then fold it over again and iron.

Repeat for the other side, and both sides on the other piece.

Then sew all 4 sides at 1/4″ seam allowance.

Next, make the casing for your ribbon. The size of the casing will depend on the width of the ribbon you use. My ribbon is 5/8″ so I’m making a 1″ casing. I like to have extra room around the ribbon, and a little extra room for my seam.

So fold the fabric down 1″ and iron.

Fold down again and iron.

Repeat for the other side.

Stitch them both down along the bottom of the casing.

Now put right sides together, and measure down from the top of the casing 6″. If you’re making a bigger dress, you’ll want to measure down further. This is your arm hole. If you’re unsure how big to make it, measure a tshirt in their current size. Don’t use a fitted knit shirt, but a tshirt, to allow for wiggle room.

I pin the pieces together at my 6″ mark for reference.

                          

Then starting at the pin, sew just inside the previous seam (for me this is 3/8″), to the bottom of the dress. Repeat on both sides.

Open the seam and iron it flat on each side.

Now to hem the dress. Fold up from the bottom 1″ and iron.

Fold up another inch and iron again.

Sew the hem down.

For the ribbon, I use a piece on each side and I make it twice as long as the dress is wide.

Attach a safety pin to the end and feed the ribbon through the casing.

I fold the dress in half and make sure the ribbon sticks out equally on each side.

Then I pinch it in the middle to make a little crease.

And use that as a guide to sew a little seam in the middle of the casing to hold the ribbon in place.

Repeat on the other side and you’re done!! Heat seal the ends of the ribbon to prevent fraying. To do this, hold the ribbon near, but not in, a flame. It’ll melt the end and seal it off.

Sofie adores pillowcase dresses in the summer.

                          

They’re light and airy, and completely adorable! I love that they’re quick to make, and grow with my girls. When it becomes too short for a dress, couple with shorts for a darling summer top. And if you can’t bear to pack it away, toss a long sleeve shirt on underneath for year-round wear!

                          

Now she’s the perfect combo of style and sass!

                          

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194 Responses to “Easiest Pillowcase Dress Ever”

  1. Julianna said:

    Thank you for this tutorial! Excited to try it out. What would be the length and width measurements of a size 4T?

  2. Melissa said:

    It depends on the size of the child. The width should be fine, just adjust the length. Find the final length you want to use, and add 4″ when cutting your fabric. 2″ will be in the casing at the top, and 2″ will be in the hem at the bottom. Good luck!

  3. cindy said:

    For some foggy reason, I’m not understanding what the width of the fabric is. Your title says it is a pillowcase dress, but you aren’t using a pillowcase… so I guess that is just the cute name. When you say “the wideth of the fabric is the width we are using” do you actually mean… the width is the same as the length? In this case… 20″? Thanks…. I want to attempt to make one of these cute dresses for my niece.

    “The measurements for this dress are a 2T/3T, but it’s really easy to measure for any size. Determine the finished length you want, for me it was 20″, then add 4″ to it for seam allowances. The width of the fabric is the width we’re using. So lay out your fabric and cut to your desired length.”

  4. Melissa said:

    Hi Cindy, thanks for the questions.

    First, while pillowcase dresses are traditionally made from pillowcases, most these days are not. There are a lot more fabric options than pillowcase options, so there are a variety of tutorials around for how to make them out of fabric. This is the easiest way I’ve seen it done.

    In sewing, fabric comes in 2 widths, 45 inches and 60 inches, measured from selvage to selvage, then folded in half and wound around the bolt. For example, when you get 1 yard of fabric, it’s 36″ long by either 45 or 60 inches wide. Most cotton fabric like the one I used is 45″ wide. So the fabric is 45″ wide, then I cut it in half to get 2 equal pieces for the front and back, making each piece approximately 22″ wide. Since I wanted a finished length of 20 inches long, I needed to add 4″ for my casing at the top and hem at the bottom, so my pieces are 24″ long by 22″ wide. Does that make sense? For most kids, 22″ wide will be plenty wide enough for a dress, it’s just the length you need to adjust.

    I hope that answers your questions! Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need help with something else!

  5. Rachel said:

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! You have a wonderful site and I will be sure to try and learn how to do some of them :)

  6. karin marie smith said:

    First off I want to say I love your blog! You make some awesomely cute things! & I have 2 young daughters myself &due with my third girl in Sept. And you deff inspire me! I love this tute! You are so right after you do this once I can make these with my eyes closed (I wouldn’t tho that would cause some mistakes & bleeding prolly too lol) But you know they are easy! Thank you for this! I can’t wait to make more!

    Karin Marie :)

  7. We moo, do you?? | Sew Like My Mom said:

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  8. Lori said:

    I bought a pillowcase dress made by my friend’s wife and it was very cute and very expensive. Then I saw this. I had extra fabric lying around so figured I’d try. First, I’d like to agree.. EASIEST DRESS EVER!!! And your instructions are perfect! I struggled with the width thing too at first like Cindy, but more so because I was using an already cut scrap and not a fresh piece of fabric. The dress came out awesome and I can see many more of these in my kiddo’s future since they are so easy to make! Thanks!

  9. Sasha said:

    This was my first sewing project that I finished! It turned out super cute. I worked on it all evening, and I can’t wait for the morning to try it on my 1 year old! How would I share a picture of it?

    Thanks!
    Sasha

  10. Sasha said:

    Sorry, one question! I have threads hanging out everywhere from all of my seams–do I need to tie those or can I just cut them off (and how close can I cut them, without the seam unraveling)? In your pictures I don’t see any extra thread hanging out!

    Thanks,
    Sasha

  11. Melissa said:

    Hi Sasha! I’d love if you shared pictures in my Flickr group. The link is over on my right sidebar.

    As for the threads, when I start and stop each seam, I backstitch a few stitches to “lock in” the seam. If you did that, just clip the threads. If you didn’t, tie them off and clip them with little tails. If you don’t do anything to to them, they’ll come out when you wash it and your project will fall apart. I hope it fits her and you share some pictures! :)

    Melissa

  12. Casey said:

    I just started sewing about 3 weeks ago, and I came across your tutorial….the BEST thing I’ve ever read!! Thanks soooo much for this super, duper easy way to make these dresses!! I’ve made about 7 in the past few days.
    Thanks again!

  13. Trudie said:

    Love this! I {heart} your blog! Just whipped up 3 of these precious little dresses, thank you so much for your lovely tutorial.

  14. A-M said:

    Tried your tutorial for my first ever adventure in pillowcase dress making. THANK YOU for providing a SIMPLE dress with an easy to follow tutorial. I am brand new to sewing and this took me 2 hours to make. I have to think with some experience, I will be whipping these out in no time! I botched a few things but the tutorial is structured so well that I was able to compensate. And the pillowcase dress itself is a very forgiving style. Thanks again – can’t wait to try some more of these!!!!!!

  15. Katy said:

    I am making these for my 3 grandaughters for Christmas. They are ages 4, 2 and 3 mos. I can’t wait to try this. It looks so easy. My daughters like the 2 different fabrics tho so I will have to figure out the measurements for the lengths of both of them.

  16. Amanda said:

    I have just got back into sewing after years of only doing repairs. It’s my friends daughters 5th birthday soon so I have just made her a spotty bright dress. Your instructions are awesome, I can’t believe how easy it was. Thanks!

  17. Jenny said:

    Yay!! I’ve been searching for a very easy (both to sew and to understand) pillowcase dress tut. This is it!! Thank you for not using bias tape or having any curves on the arm holes. I should be able to whip these out easy peasy. I found you off of Pintrest, by the way. Have a wonderful day!!

  18. Melissa said:

    This is the exact way I make all my pillowcase dresses! I just stumbled across your blog from pinterest and I am loving it!

  19. Sue said:

    I am making these dresses for “Dress a Girl Around the World”

  20. Chris said:

    I have made 30 of these dresses in different sizes, (even adult size) for a charity call “Little Dresses for Africa”. Now I am going to make some for my great niece for this summer. She is three years old. They are so easy and turn out so cute. I even put pockets on some.
    Chris

  21. Crystal said:

    Wondering what width you used?

    Thanks

  22. Hänni said:

    I just want to say thank you for this tutorial. It’s so much easier than cutting curves and applying bias tape! I am working on my third dress (in two weeks!) and have modified your instructions only to include a fabric tie (instead of pre-made ribbon) and a ruffled bottom.

  23. chris said:

    so sweet!

  24. Danielle DeGraffenreid said:

    This is sew cute!! I’m going to make this for my niece for her birthday in a few weeks. It would even be cute in a little heavier fabric paired with leggings and a long sleeved solid under it for fall.

  25. lynne said:

    Wonderful tutorial!! The best that I have seen for a pillowcase dress. Any idea what measurements I should use for a baby 6-9 months old? I have found some measurements for older children but not for babies. I tried to make one dress from a pattern and it did not come out well at all. I’m so excited about trying your suggestions and following your tutorial to make sure that I get it right.
    Thank you again for the great tutorial.

  26. Ksenia said:

    Thank you! I’m a total newbie, and was able to make this dress in just a few hours. Awesome tutorial!

  27. Floral Madness {Pillowcase Dress} « a2202 said:

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  28. Kristy B said:

    OMG this is EXACTLY the way I do mine! I tried the store patterns and I just could not get them just right. I also didn’t like the gapping under the arms showing the personal stuff. So I made what I thought was my very own version! Guess we had the same idea!

  29. Sarah said:

    Thanks so much for this pattern!
    I’m excited to start making dresses for my soon-to-be baby girl, and my nieces.

  30. Raina said:

    Thanks so much for this pattern! I made my little girl an Elmo dress today, and she’s thrilled. Now she can quit wearing her elmo pj top outside. :)

  31. Tins said:

    Hi,

    I’m not understanding the seam in the middle of the casing to hold the ribbon?

  32. AmberO said:

    Tins, I think I can answer that one. I made a pillowcase dress for my niece without the seam in the middle for the ribbon, and within five seconds, she had given the ribbon a yank and it was on the floor. This will keep you from having to re-string it all the time. And you won’t be able to see it when the dress is on because of the gathering that occurs.

  33. J-Money said:

    I don’t have any kids and have never made a pillowcase dress. That being said, wouldn’t it be cute to make it into a skirt when they out-grow it? Everyone seems to use them as just tops but a skirt would be cute. You could just use a seam ripper where the ribbon has been secured. Remove the ribbon and then thread in a fairly wide elastic and secure it in place. I have little cousins that have some they have our-grown and am thinking of stealing their old ones and trying this. Do you think it will work? Any advice?

  34. Judy said:

    Can this be printed for personal use? I tried to print out for family member and nothing happened. Any info appreciated. Thanks for wonderful pattern and info for us first timers and new granny.

  35. Mary said:

    Just used this tutorial to re-create a dress given to my daughter from Hanna Andersson! Thank you!

  36. Deb said:

    Hi, this looks great, I’m a real beginner so I may sound daft but I’m confused at the point where you put the bottom hem in – as far as I can see at this point you have already sewn both sides up but the next picture shows a flat piece of material with the side seam having been ironed flat (i.e only sewn on one side?) and then you say sew the hem in but if you’ve already sewn up both sides how can you then sew the hem in as you are folding up a circular piece of material? As I say i really am a beginner and I learn by doing so I’m struggling with the pictures – can any one help a hopeless beginner please :-)

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  39. Mary Beth said:

    @deb–I had the exact same question! Do we need to sew one side together, hem, then sew the other side? I’m a bit confused on this step. I can’t wait to make for my 2 yr old!!!!

  40. Melissa said:

    Yes, you sew both sides together then sew up the hem.

  41. April said:

    When you say, “Make sure your selvages line up,” that threw me off. Your fold is parallel to the selvage, isn’t it? So, the selvage and the cut would need to line up. Am I correct?

  42. Audie said:

    I made my little girl 5 of these dresses in one day yesterday. She LOVES them! They are cute enough to wear just about anywhere. I have seen this same type of dress for sale at craft shows, usually the dress is in some sort of football team fabric, for $35 each. I have no more than $10 in each dress I made, and made one for our favorite football team too. Now I have friends wanting me to make the dress for their little girls. LOVE this pattern. Thanks for sharing it.

  43. Valerie said:

    I’m a real beginner and am wondering how much fabric to buy for one 2T dress. Thanks for your help, especially if I missed that detail somewhere!!

  44. An said:

    I so want to try this!!!

  45. Vanessa said:

    I have a question. What type of fabric works best? I want to make about 6 of these dresses but would like them to look really nice using designer fabrics.

    Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial.

  46. Laurie said:

    I wanted to make an easy dress for my 5yr old stepdaughter…this was my first sewing project and the tutorial was great!!! I made a dress in ~2 hours…and it looks fantastic. I can’t wait to show it to her tonight!!! thanks so much…

  47. Kids Clothes Challenge Week – Day #3 « motleymothering said:

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  48. Carina said:

    Thank you for this great tutorial. I just made this dress! It is my first ever sewing project (I am a total beginner) and I made this in about 2 hours!!! Yaaaay!! I now need lots more pretty fabric, to make lots more pretty dresses!!! ;-)

  49. Jen said:

    I made this dress this morning for my 4yr old. It took me just under 2 hours. It was so easy. Unfortunately she tried it on and said she didn’t like it :( She said it was too bunched up at the top. I hope she changes her mind cause it came out really cute.

  50. Angela said:

    Wow, so easy! I made this with some leftover fabric (just to be sure that I could do it, so that I wouldn’t spend money on fabric and ruin it) and the dress is adorable and it only took me an hour. Thank you for the tutorial, I can’t wait to make more dresses for my daughters!

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  52. Ali said:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! This is my second time sowing (first by myself) and I used this your tutorial to make this dress for my daughter. Very good instructions (even for a beginnger sewer like me!). My daughters dress turned out AWESOME! Thank you!

  53. Kathleen said:

    I am a beginner sewer and I would love to make one of these dresses for my niece whether it is a shirt or a dress. She is 12 though and I am not sure how to measure the length and am a little confused on how much material would be needed. I am very excited to try this pattern. Thank you for any help.

  54. Katie @ Quality Cheap Home said:

    Great tutorial! I am not a very good sewer so lots of pictures and simple steps are always a good thing for me. My one daughter wears a dress everyday so this will come in handy. I’d love too for you to link up to my Piece of Cake Party @:
    http://qualitycheaphome.blogspot.com/2012/05/piece-of-cake-linky-party-6.html

    Hope to see you there!

  55. Amy said:

    I love this and am going to try it with ladybug looking fabric so as to make a ladybug costume. Anyway, I’m a real beginner, but most of this looks very doable even by a true beginner. The pictures are wonderful and so helpful. However, I think you are missing the one step where you sew the 2 sides together. I see where you sew them once and then hem, but you go straight from that to putting in the ribbon and nothing about sewing the dress up. Could you add that in? I know, a complete no-brainer step, but remember I have done nothing like this before. Hopefully once I do it it will all make sense from what I’ve done at that point. Thanks so much for putting this out there!

  56. Melissa said:

    Hi Amy!

    In the directions I state: Then starting at the pin, sew just inside the previous seam (for me this is 3/8″), to the bottom of the dress. Repeat on both sides.

    The direction after that says: Open the seam and iron it flat on each side.

    So it says in the directions how to sew the 2 sides together, there just aren’t lots of pictures to illustrate it. I’m sorry this confused you!

  57. Lori said:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! This was my first sewing project and it turned out great! Your directions are so easy to follow! I was inspired by this dress (and the amount of material left over) and made a matching pillowcase dress for my daughter’s American Girl doll! It turned out super cute and she will be able to dress the doll unlike some of the clothes that are fitted through the arms.

  58. Lori S. said:

    Your blog has inspired me to dust off my old sewing machine. I work full time so it’s challenging to find time to sew, but I made the pillowcase dress for my 4 yr old girl and it turned out so cute! I thought your instructions were very easy to follow and I can’t wait to try something else!

  59. noelani said:

    I have been making tons of pillowcase dresses, a few for my grandaughter and the rest for a charity. I have used three variations, including yours, mostly to keep it from being quite so monotonous. I think yours turns out the prettiest, though! I haven’t seen any other patterns or tutorials that cut the fabric in half, like yours does. They all cut out sections under the arms that then have to be finished with bias tape or strips of fabric. Some just run the ties all the way through the casings and some use elastic through the center. I think your variation looks the most girly, and dressy though. I have recommended it to others!

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  61. Jen W. said:

    Hi Melissa! I absolutely love this tutorial! I am pretty new to sewing and have been trolling the web for ideas and this is by far the easiest pillowcase tutorial I have found. I am going to be making them for my three nieces. Just a question- the measurement for the armhole is probably just right for my two-year old niece. Do you maybe have a suggestionfor the armhole measurement for a five-year old and a 4-month old? I don’t have access right now to any of their clothes to measure. Please let me know what you think! Thanks so much! Jen

  62. Jaime said:

    What is that adorable fabric (the one with the birds.) So cute!!!

  63. Katie said:

    I just made one today as a trial run using an old bedsheet that had ripped. I did pretty well for the most part, but glad I didn’t use expensive fabric to start with. I’m not really much of a sewer, so the family was impressive I even completed it! I had more trouble with my sewing machine that hasn’t been used in YEARS! Frustrating.

  64. Brittney said:

    Such a great idea! I will be trying this next week. Just a quick question…what type of fabric did you use and where did you get such a cute print? Thanks!Can

  65. Melissa said:

    Hi Brittney! I replied to your email but wanted to reply here, too, in case others have the same question. I use quilting cotton for most of my projects. I get it from local quilt stores or online retailers like etsy stores. Cotton is the easiest to work with and suits most of my projects the best!

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  67. خياطة وتفصيل said:

    It looks beautiful! thank you so much :)

  68. Donna said:

    Your tutorial was fantastic. So glad I found you. Also went crazy for the infinty dress. All my little girls are going to get a pillow case dress and the older ones will ge the infinty. Thank you so much for being so clear on instructions.

  69. maranda said:

    how do you know how much to use for different sizes

  70. VALERIE said:

    I WOULD LIKE TOO KNOW WHAT KIND OF FABRIC IS GOOD TO MAKE THIS DRESS?! THANKS!

  71. Melissa said:

    I use cotton fabric, but you could make it out of just about anything.

  72. Carole C said:

    What at terrific pattern, just what I needed for Little Dresses for Africa. Thanks so much.

  73. Melissa said:

    I get people using this pattern for this reason frequently. I’m so glad it’s going to help dress so many little girls all over the world!

  74. Amanda said:

    So for the dress you made. Exactly how long did you make the ribbon. (im horrible at math :/ )

  75. Melissa said:

    About 40″ on each side. I just double the length of each finished side.

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  77. Chevonne said:

    Thanks for this step-by-step! I made my first two today and my girls are running around playing in them now!

  78. Jenny said:

    HI Melissa,

    Thanks for this tutorial. Although I have been sewing for a while (blankets and burp clothes are my forte) I had never ventured enough to make a dress. My best friend called and begged me to make one for her little girl. I was very worried that my seams would be all over the place. But it came out close to perfect. Even my seams looked good. Thanks again. :)

  79. Andria said:

    Wonderful tutorial! So glad I came across this on Pinterest! I made my 2 YO daughter one today and came out near perfect! Your instructions and pictures were easy to follow and made it so easy! I’m am so happy! Thank you so much!

  80. Jessica said:

    what was the width of your fabric?

  81. Melissa said:

    Hi Jessica. Someone else asked this and I gave her a long explanation at the top of the comments. My reply is #4.

  82. Debbie said:

    I’m going to try this with University of Georgia Bulldog material for a friends toddler. I’ve sewn just a little but this looks easy enough for even me. My Momma used to make all my clothes as a child. She could see something in a store & go to the fabric store, but the material and make it without a pattern. Even prettier than the readymade item. She was phenomenal! I hope my version turns out as cute as the one shown! Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it goes ;D

  83. Melissa said:

    Good luck…and GO DAWGS!

  84. tegan bullock said:

    im just starting to sew and have been searching the internet for weeks for an easy pillowcase dress and this is FABULOUS. cant wait to make loads for my little miss. your options are endless add a trim or a fabric embellishment. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  85. Marcia said:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial – I can’t wait to get started; neither can my little girl who asked if I can make her a dress! May I ask though – the ribbon.Do you mean that for the length of ribbon, you use approx double the width for each ‘side’ (front and back) i.e., not allowing for seams, if you used 45″ width fabric you would use 90″ for each, so X 2 = 180″ approx?!Many thanks.

  86. Melissa said:

    No, just twice the width of each side, so approx 40ish inches per side, or 80″ total for the dress. The whole width of the fabric is 45″, but we cut that in half for each side, so about 22″ each. Then we took in seam allowances hemming the sides and left about 20″ for each the front and back. It’s about a yard of ribbon per side. You want to have enough to tie on both sides and leave cute lengthy tails.

  87. Jessica said:

    Beginner here. I just read through all the comments and found the one where someone was confused as to how to sew the two pieces together. I see that you say open seam. Which seam are you talking about? Does that mean I use my stitch remover. And then how do you put them together to close? Am I opening the seam from the arm hole down?? Hoping to get a response tonight as I am in the middle of following your pattern right now :)

    thanks

  88. Jessica said:

    one more question. is there any other way to attach the dress halves together? I researched what opening a seam was and I sewed too close to the edge to have anything to open…

  89. Melissa said:

    It just means to press it open. You don’t have to do it if you didn’t allow enough seam allowance to have anything to press open. But no, there’s no way to attach the 2 sides other than sewing them together. Please don’t hesitate to email me with more questions if you have them! sewlikemymom@gmail.com

    Melissa

  90. Chasity said:

    Thank you so much for this post! I was able to make both my girls adorable dresses using this tutorial and I am a beginner. They turned out lovely!

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  93. Ashley said:

    Hi Melissa! I am going to try and make these fantastic dresses! I want to add a trim of ribbon (the same I am using for the ties) instead of a contrasting fabric. What would be the best way to do that? Should I hem the bottom like normal and then add the ribbon? I am a beginner so any help/advice would be great!! Thanks!

  94. Helen said:

    I have just found your tutorial and its bloody brillant!!!!! (sorry for swear word). Thanks so muchfor sharing this. I LOVE the lack of bias binding on the armholes in particular.

  95. Melissa said:

    Hi Ashley! You want to do ribbon at the bottom like an extension of the dress? Or just as decoration that runs around about an inch before the bottom?

  96. Ashley said:

    Hi Melissa! I think I want it to be more of a decoration. It is an inch and a half wide and is the same ribbon I am using to tie the shoulders with! If u think it should be an extension just let me know! You are the expert!! :)) thanks!

  97. Ashley said:

    I take that back, I would like it to be an extension. I want it to be the bottom, not have ribbon and then dress underneath that….

  98. Melissa said:

    If you have a serger to finish off the bottom of the dress, I would just sew them together. If you don’t, I would hem it then add the ribbon. You don’t want the fabric to fray away with washings where it’s attached to the ribbon. Does that make sense? So I think yes, hem it and finish it off, then add the ribbon. You can either add it to the inside where it will hang out like it’s an under layer, but you’ll lose a little to the seam allowance, or you can sew it to the outside so you get the full 1.5″ of the ribbon, but it will have the seam showing on it. Sounds cute, email me pictures when you’re done! :)

  99. Ashley said:

    Ok!!! Great thank you, and I will!!!!

  100. Tiffany said:

    Just wondering what adult sizes would be?

  101. Melissa said:

    I have no idea, I don’t generally do adult sizes for clothes since it can vary so much from size to size. You’ll have to play around with it and see what will fit you.

  102. Elizabeth said:

    I am brand new to sewing. After you cut your two pieces (mine is 17 wide and 20 long), do I fold and iron the short side or the long side?

  103. Melissa said:

    The long side. You’re doing the sides first, then the top and bottom.

  104. Lorna said:

    Okay, so maybe I’m a little dense tonight, but I’m confused. You start off with the measurements for the pieces by size, and then later you say to cut in half. Am I cutting two pieces in the size you show, or one? Two would make sense, as cutting that size in half would be too small, but why are you saying to cut it in half?

  105. Angela said:

    I love your technique! I made two in about an hour! Thank you for your blog!!

  106. Meagan said:

    Can you tell me how long to measure all the armholes for all the sizes?

  107. Melissa said:

    It will depend on the sizes. The best thing to do is measure the arm hole of a tshirt in the size you need to make sure it’ll fit. For sizes 2-4 I make it 6″ and go from there.

  108. Meagan said:

    Can you make this dress have a tie on only one side?

  109. Melissa said:

    Absolutely! Just make the ribbon 4 times the width of the dress (like you would for the 2 pieces) and feed it around both sides.

  110. Cayden is 2 | Ashley, a work in progress said:

    [...] http://sewlikemymom.com/easiest-pillowcase-dress-ever/# [...]

  111. LESLEY HOPKINS said:

    My friend is going to make my daughter one of these pillowcase dresses. How much fabric would I need for her? She wears a size 16 in girls, but I want to make it flowy so I would probably need a size 18 in girls.

    thanks

  112. carmen said:

    Hi this sure was a blast from the past, when I was young my mom would buy very large bags of flour to make our family tortilla daily then the flour came in a cloth bags that had little blue or pink flowers on it she would save these bags and re purpose them by making these little dresses for me and my sisters, I am sure all Hispanic households did the same thing in those days, I just recall being so prude of my new dress and how much I loved them thanks for sharing think I will make one for my grand daughter

  113. Linda said:

    Just made 3 of these dresses for my granddaughters, sizes 12M, 3, and 7. On the 12M and 3 sizes I used a small ribbon (b/c that was all I had on hand) so I made the casing 1/2″. My daughter says it doesn’t cinch up enough on the size 3 could it be b/c of the smaller casing or smaller ribbon? She is sending me fabric to make more so I need to figure out why this would be. On the size 7 I used bigger ribbon and I can cinch that up very small so what do you think? Thanks!!

  114. Tina said:

    What kind of fabric did you use for the dress? Is it a nursery print? I have a Joann’s up the road, and just want to know where to start looking. TIA!

  115. Melissa said:

    I use cotton for almost everything I sew. I prefer quilting cotton, it’s a heavier, nicer fabric. But if you’re starting out with sewing, save some money and go for the big box store cottons. Like at JoAnn’s they call them calicos. They have “quilting” cotton there, too. I do most of my shopping at quilt stores or online.

  116. Pillowcase Dress Drive..We Need YOU! « Project Yesu said:

    [...] Do you sew?  If so, you probably already know that a pillowcase dress is one of the simplest sewing projects that exists.  If you’ve never made one, you can find a tutorial here at Sew Like My Mom. [...]

  117. Dana said:

    I’m excited to try out your tutorial! I’ve read many of your comments, but I not all so forgive me if you’ve already answered this. Do you wash (and dry) your fabric before making the dress? If I don’t wash first should I allow for shrinkage? Thanks!

  118. Melissa said:

    Hi Dana. I do prewash fabric if it’s cheaper quality, like from Walmart or JoAnn’s. Hobby Lobby fabric doesn’t shrink much and quilting fabric will stay perfect and doesn’t need to be prewashed. Hope that helps!

  119. Libby said:

    I love the size chart. I do have a question. I get the 6m thru 24m, but the sizes 2 thru 8, are they toddler sizes? I know toddler sizes go 2t thru 5t. How does your chart work?

  120. Melissa said:

    For 2 through 8 the width of the dress is the width of the fabric as it comes off the bolt. So the only difference is how long you make them and the size of the arm hole you make (though it won’t differ too much). So for a size 2 the fabric will be really roomy on the wearer and as it gets bigger it’ll be less baggy. Still plenty of room, though, but I wouldn’t make it much bigger than an 8.

  121. Jan said:

    Hey I’m new at sewing so I tried this tutorial and everything was fine until I got to the armhole part …when I sewed both sides down like you said I wasn’t able to fold to do the hem…what am I missing ..thanks

  122. Melissa said:

    I’m not sure, you hem it around the bottom so as long as you didn’t sew the bottom of the dress closed, you should be able to hem it.

  123. I wish I thought of that! | Threads and Paint said:

    [...] http://sewlikemymom.com/easiest-pillowcase-dress-ever/ [...]

  124. The Ultimate Pillowcase Dress post | Sew Like My Mom said:

    [...] I have 2 pillowcase dress tutorials. The first is a very basic, wonderful for beginners, tutorial. It can be found here. [...]

  125. AMBER ROSE said:

    HEY HUN DO YOU HAVE A TEMPLET? I AM NEW TO THIS AND I WOULD LOVE TO MAKE MY DAUGHTER ONE. I JUST GOT MY SEWING MACHINE FOR MY BDAY :) THANK YOU

  126. Melissa said:

    A template? As in pattern pieces? No, they’re just square pieces of fabric. Follow the fabric measurements in the chart in the tutorial for the size you’re wanting to make!

  127. Melissa said:

    You have measurements listed, but I’m wondering what the ‘finished length’ is? Is it while they are wearing it from the top of their shoulders or is it the actual length of the fabric once hemmed? Thanks!

  128. Pillowcase Dress Tutorial | 500 dresses said:

    [...] found a detailed pillowcase dress tutorial  at Sew Like My Mom. Several people have made these dresses and sent them to me. If you are looking for an easy dress [...]

  129. Kim Harms said:

    Great tutorial! I wanted to let you know that I posted a link to this on my 500 Dresses website. We make and send dresses and shorts to Haiti. Several people have sent me this style, and I thought it’d be nice to have some good instructions available to others who want to try it.

  130. maize said:

    I just want to say, this is a really great tutorial-one of the best I’ve seen so far. I started a pillowcase dress for my little one yesterday(& finished it!), and everything goes well until I get to sewing the armholes. I tried bias tape-which was a no-go as I couldn’t get it sewn evenly, so I seam ripped it off & just folded down 1/4″, pressed, cut a few small slits around, pressed, & folded down again, pinned & sewed. That worked out GOOD not GREAT because I can’t keep a straight line around the armhole. NOW, I am a beginner & this is only my second dress I’ve ever made. Question is, will the armhole sewing get easier W/practice? Other than those pesky curves, I can sew a straight line. The dress turned out beautiful. But I would really appreciate feedback from anyone on these armholes & bias tape, as I would love to jumpstart her spring/summer wardrobe. Thanks!

  131. Barbara said:

    Thanks for this tutorial. It was so easy to follow and giving the measurements for cutting and sizes was very helpful. The dresses came out “oh so cute”!!!

  132. Melissa said:

    Maize, have you tried sewing it the way I lay out in this tutorial? There is no bias tape, it’s all made with straight lines. Give it a try and you should be able to make her lots and lots of super easy, really beautiful dresses!

  133. Jhena said:

    I just want to stress how important the small seam to “hold the ribbon in place” is… it is also for safety so the ribbon can not get caught on anything and cause a child to be strangled with the ribbon… I love these dresses & tops and have made a few but I actually sew a straight seem on the left side of the dress/ribbon on front & back.. really easy to remove and refit when you need to!

  134. Tricia said:

    New to sewing. This is a great tutorial that helped me a lot. I just made my first pillowcase dress a week or so ago and it came out great. But I have been asked to make a dress in size 0-3 months an can’t find measurements anywhere. Would anyone know where to find some measurements or could give me a measurement for that size?

  135. Melissa said:

    Tricia, click on the “Ultimate Pillowcase Dress” post in the right sidebar —-> I put size charts in there!

  136. Cyndi said:

    If I want to add pockets – about where do I place them on the dress and about how large do I make the pockets?

    Love your instructions – this is a perfect way to use up some of the fabric I have laying around from other projects. I alos will use some of the shorter pieces to make Tops for little girls!

  137. Melissa said:

    It depends on what size and shape you want and where you want them. You could do big square pockets on the sides or little rounded pockets on the front or anything in between. The sky’s the limit! Google pictures and copy a style that speaks to you.

  138. Danielle said:

    Question about the sizes. Is the width in your size chart the finished width or the width you cut the fabric (and the cut that in half?) thanks!

  139. Melissa said:

    The width you cut the fabric, then cut in half to make into a front and back.

  140. Danielle said:

    Thank you! I wasn’t sure if the bigger sizes were supposed to end up 11 inches across. I don’t have any little kids around to measure against so I just wanted to double check.
    Thanks so much!

  141. Jei @ Cutey Patuty said:

    I want to try sewing. Maybe this is an easy project for me I hope I can make one foe my daughter.

    http://jeicrochet.blogspot.com/

  142. A Spring of Dresses | The Piglet & A Monkey said:

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  143. High Five for Friday | Nap Tales said:

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  144. Dress A Girl Around The World | Miss Wiggle Made – an offshoot of Wiggle and More Timer said:

    [...] The pattern I used is this http://sewlikemymom.com/easiest-pillowcase-dress-ever/ [...]

  145. Erin said:

    I’ve been sewing for several years now, made cute things, but never one of these. I could never find instructions that were clear until a friend sent me your link. I started it at 7:30 Saturday night & finished it in about 2 hrs. I’m ready to get my serger back to do it the other way! So cute can’t wait for my 7 ur old to wear it!

  146. Rilla Theresa said:

    Thanks for posting this lovely and infinitely simple little dress. I normally create vintage-style baby clothes and was chatting with a lady at work about starting up my sewing hobby again when she mentioned that she had seen a little girl in this style of dress and thought it would make a great house dress for our hot, arid central Texas summers but added that she didn’t know how to sew. I knew it would be easy enough to create on my own and offered to make up an adult sized dress for her. But first I wanted to see someone else’s instructions. Now I have and I figure it will take me all of an hour to make for her. So my thanks is from the both of us.

  147. Dresses for Uganda | BeBetsy said:

    [...] If you want to give it a try the best simple tutorial is at Sew Like My Mom. [...]

  148. melissa said:

    Just a suggestion for these dresses for baby girls……….I like to sew a little V slit in the back and run the ribbon out the back and tie the bow in the back instead of on the shoulders. Had a young momma ask me to do this b/c her little one kept trying to untie and chew on the ribbons if they are on the shoulders. Turned out super cute!!

  149. Vintage Sheet Love | Back Around Vintage said:

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  150. Sesame Street Birthday Party - Happy House of 5 said:

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  151. Faith Rucker said:

    This was great!! Thank you sooooooo much. I actually made matching dresses for my daughter and all of her friends! Bonus, we made matching dresses for their dolls too! Wonderful. Thanks again.
    Faith

  152. 2 jours à la maison … | La Fée sans Baguette said:

    [...] Pinterest où j’ai trouvé pas mal de tutos de Pillowcase dress, et je me suis inspiré de celui-ci, du blog Sew like my [...]

  153. Anne del Rosario said:

    Very nice! Thank you for sharing. I want to use this pattern as an outreach ministry project in our church to help flood victims with kids who have nothing to wear. This is easy and quick to make. Would be even faster if we gather old pillow cases and just chop off the closed seam and fold in for the ribbon casing, no? Thank you again!
    Anne

  154. BonnieLu said:

    Hola, Ive searched everywhere to find just a simple pattern and found yours and thank you so much ! Ive made 3 so far for my little one.. but Im running into a problem, somewhat confused… when you are talking about your arm holes (the measuring and sewing down from the end of your arm hole) and your saying to do it on both sides, but when I do that and go to do them hem as you say, the dress is sewn together and I cant figure out the hem. Maybe you can explain a little better if you have time. Thanks again :)

  155. Judy said:

    I would like more information on tying in the back. I’m not sure how to make the v slit. Thanks.

  156. Dawn said:

    THANK YOU!!! I’m just learning to sew and your patterns were super simple to follow and so far my little girl now has 2 new dresses today. :) can wait to try a few more patterns.

  157. Granna said:

    Just made a 18mo/2yr for my 3yo granddaughter as she is tiny. Anxious to see how it fits next weekend. Your tutorial was excellent and I had no problems at all in the construction. But I have been sewing for almost 60 years so have it down pretty well! Hope to make her a few more and also use this tut for donation dresses for charity. Simple and I have scads of fabric I can use. Just will have to buy ribbon. Thanks so much. I was directed here from Sew ‘n Hope, an organization to cloth underprivileged children.

  158. Amanda said:

    I have a question… are you cutting two squares out? Or just one square? I just cut out my fabric to the size for the 2t and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be wide enough. I measured her and everything. So I was wondering if I needed more than one square of fabric or if you cut that single square in half?

  159. Melissa said:

    Two squares. You need 2 pieces that are the width by the length, you then sew them together. I was cutting the fabric in half as a whole piece off the bolt to make it 2 pieces.

  160. Kathleen said:

    I made one yesterday out of a lovely green and red apple print for my new granddaughter. So cute. This morning I just made one out of red velveteen as a Holiday Dress for her and one out of a ladybug print that I am planning on trimming with red rick rack. I think I’m addicted!

  161. Malisha said:

    Thank you for this tutorial. This is the first dress I’ve made for my daughter. I’ve posted pictures on my blog (linking back to you). I did some of my own changes but am very thankful for your pattern.

  162. Minion dress attempt | My Makes and Mistakes said:

    […] girl. I decided to modify a pillowcase dress, so first off I needed a tutorial for that! I use this one for Sew like my mum. Also, I wanted to make a little bit girly so instead of plain blue for the […]

  163. gayle reece said:

    Just a couple comments. I have been sewing for 50+ years and was taught in dressmaking as well as quilting that you NEVER use the selvages or anything. They are woven tighter than the fabric and should always be cut or torn off. Always.
    I made one of these dresses and it came out ok, I am not happy with the bulky seam in the hem part and will rework that. I am making them as donations to some third world country and have no children to use as sample sizes. It would be nice if you would include the depth for the armholes along side the sizes and fabric dimensions.

  164. Melissa said:

    Hi Gayle! I’m sorry you didn’t like your dress.

    First let me say that while I’ve only been sewing about 10 years, and I realize that’s a fraction of the time you have been, I ALWAYS use my selvages when I can. I’ve made hundreds of clothing items and have NEVER had issues with selvages being a part of the garment.

    Secondly, I do have a chart with armhole measurements available, as well as a link to the tutorial I have for this dress using a serger, eliminating a lot of the bulk in the seams. I did the first one that way to prevent raw edges as most new sewists fear fray from fabric.

    http://sewlikemymom.com/the-ultimate-pillowcase-dress-post/

    If you’re unhappy with the way I’ve chosen to construct my pillowcase dress, I encourage you to try a different tutorial or maybe purchase a PDF pattern. I appreciate that you’re doing this for charity and want to keep your out of pocket cost as low as possible, but maybe you’d be happier with what you produce that way. Thank you for your feedback.

  165. Kathy said:

    Melissa, thanks for the tutorial. I have read through all of the comments and did not see what type of ribbon you used. I did see it was 3/4 inch wide. I figure grosgrain was the strongest, but I wondered what you used. I am teaching a group of women at a shelter how to sew. We are going to sew these for the Dresses for Africa group. Glad we do not have to bother with bias tape. I will just cut off the selvages. I like the double hem…..sturdy. Good job!

  166. Melissa said:

    Thanks! Yes, I do grosgrain most of the time. If I’m making a fancier dress I’ll do a satin. Just make sure you heat seal the ends!

  167. April said:

    Hello Melissa,
    Just love this dress. I want to make my daughter one (afraid cuz I don’t sew) but she is wearing 6-9 months weighs about 17 pnds. How many yards of fabric do I get? And is there a pattern or something I go by? Sorry if these questions were asked before

  168. Bo said:

    How do I figure out how much ribbon to use. I am making 3 dresses. A size 2, 6 and 7.

  169. Melissa said:

    I use twice the width of each side, so approx 44″ on each side.

  170. Melisa Henley said:

    I’m 33 years old and I just purchased my own sewing machine. Not knowing how to use it, thread it, or anything for that matter, I had one thing in mind. I want to make a gazillion pillowcase dresses for my little girl, Eden, who just turned two. So after two hours of trying to put a bobbin in, I managed to make a simple pillowcase for my son. It was much too short, haha, but hey, he loved it. Bam! I was ready to make a dress! If it didn’t fit or fell apart, I was sure she would love it! I would just duct tape it if it started raveling and no one would ever see it! I came across your simple to follow instructions, and I DID IT!!!!! Thank you so much for the easy step by step instructions! I am so excited! My dress has survived the washer and dryer and two outings already! :) One down, a Gazillion more to go! :) Thank you again for helping me make my little girl look just darling!

  171. Make a Halloween Pillow Case Dress | Central Valley Moms said:

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  172. Jennifer said:

    Thanks for the tutorial! I made a Christmas chevron dress and blogged about it here http://livinginhisway.blogspot.ca/2013/11/back-at-it-i-think.html

  173. Ann said:

    So I cut the material for a size 8 just as the instructions say and it looks like my 1 year old could barely squeeze into it!! Did I do something wrong??

  174. Melissa said:

    I guess so, Ann! I’m not sure what, though, without seeing your dress and knowing how you cut it. I’m sorry something went wrong, though. :( If you’d like to email me for help I’d love to do whatever I can!

  175. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Birthday Party | Read It, Make It! said:

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  176. MasonsMom said:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I made my baby girl a beautiful dress and cant wait to make dozens more.

  177. Amanda said:

    Thank you! So easy to follow, this was my first sewing project.

  178. Trudy said:

    If the fabric is 45″ wide and you cut it in half, is that one piece being folded again for the front and back or is that not wide enough? I feel like 22″ wide is a lot for my 18 month old…?Can you email me? Thanks. Xnvrxagainxx@yahoo.com

  179. Littledove said:

    Always wondered how to keep the ribbon from coming out…now I know. Thanks for showing. NOW is there any way to keep the ribbons from coming untied and maybe, the dress fall off shoulder, without tying in a hard knot? Love the answers to all questions. They help so much. Thanks

  180. Fiona said:

    Yesterday I made a peasant top from your peasant dress tutorial and today I have run up one of these. Thank you for the inspiration.

  181. Melissa said:

    There’s a way to tie a “knot” without tying a double knot. My dance teacher taught my Mom to tie my tap shoes like this when I was in the 2nd grade. It’ll still come out if she pulls on the ribbon, but it won’t slip out by itself. I don’t know what this is called so I’m going to try to explain it. Begin to tie in a bow normally, you make two bunny ears and pass one around the tree and into the hole, the pull tight, right? Well instead of pulling tight, run the ear around the tree and back through the hole the same way again, then pull tight.

  182. Katie said:

    Just made this dress for my 2 year old! So easy it took me 15 mins to make :) I want to make one in a newborn size.. How wide & long should I make it?

  183. Melissa said:

    Honestly I have no idea! Are there any 18″ doll patterns for one? It would be about the same size.

  184. mary anne said:

    Had trouble sewing through all the layers of fabric when stitching down the casing on the edge of each piece. Suggestions? Should i just handstitch? Needle just wouldn’t go thru all the layers.

  185. Melissa said:

    I don’t hand stitch anything! Maybe use a stronger needle? Are you using a thick fabric? Because it shouldn’t have problems with a cotton woven.

  186. T said:

    Thank you so much!! I made a dress!!
    I had the same confusion as bonnielu so I just did the hem after both sides were sewn up-is that right? I’m also a bit worried about the arm hole areas-should I sew those down flat? This was pretty much my first time sewing so I imagine these questions are pretty ridiculous!
    Any way I love the dress and am so thankful for the tutorial! I read several and this one was definitely the easiest!

  187. Project Yesu: Pillowcase Dress Drive 2014! | One Artsy Mama said:

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  188. Sinew, machine à coudre et ours polaire | iniKunattuk said:

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  189. Trudy said:

    Can I use a serger on this!?!

  190. How to Make a Pillowcase Dress or Shirt - CheepMom said:

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  191. Jennifer said:

    I made this, just finished it a couple of hours ago, for my two year old granddaughter! Have to admit I haven’t sewn any sort of clothing in over 30 years, when I was in Home Ec.!
    But! .. It wasn’t hard to do at all .. I’ll admit I was dreading the arm hole measurements, but I followed your instructions and measured one of her t-shirts; My little dress came out a little big for her, but she’s got growing room for the summer – I know where I messed up, I bought a yard of material instead of using a pillowcase because I could not find a pretty spring one like I wanted and I didn’t measure the width – I just cut the material in half and kept on’a goin’!
    It looks cute on her, just a little big, but again that is ok!!
    Thank you for the great instructions, had your instructions not been so simple I would not had been brave enough to even try it!

  192. Easy Pillow Dress | MAKE it from love said:

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  193. Sarah said:

    So I just made two of these in 2.5 hours. And I even used 2 fabrics each! I have to admit I was getting tired and didn’t do french seams on the second one. They turned out so cute. I made them for 6yrs and 16mo sisters. They look a little small on the hanger to me, so I hope they fit! I’m going to put a photo on your Flickr! Advice- if you want the bow to hang nicely, use silk ribbon not grosgrain. My bows are a little stiff.

  194. Spring Fever Sewing Plans | Sew Much 2 Life said:

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