Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Dress Formerly Known as Pillowcase

What, a post about sewing? Surely you jest I hear you say. And quite rightly, because anyone who knows me knows that I do not sew, or rather, I don't do sewing machines. For some reason, they and I do not get on. Its not like I can't machine sew, I have a pair of floor to ceiling living room curtains, fully lined, that I made myself. BUT, and its a big but, that's because I had someone else there to make sure the machine stayed working properly. Because that's where it all falls apart. If its not perfect and therefore starts to not sew properly, left to my own devices, no matter what I do, I cannot fix it. Give me a spinning wheel, I am fine, sewing machine, not a hope.

That said, someone has suggested to me that perhaps I should keep an eye out for a working hand crank machine, plenty of these vintage beauties about and still sewing, because they have so much less to go wrong. And can be picked up cheap. Who knows, I may do yet. I haven't so far. However, I was watching the Great British Sewing Bee on the beeb and every time children's wear came up I would sigh and wish I could do that. Because I love my little miss in darling little cotton frocks. In fact I have bought rather a lot for her. Especially now she is toddling.

So one day I was having a discussion on twitter with a couple of friends, and saying I can hand sew but not machine sew, when Clare from Little Pink Teacup asked me if I had seen pillowcase dresses before. I said no and promptly did a Google search. Lo and behold I found instructions, and yes, this was within my capability to hand sew. So the idea was born. Its all her fault. So I hunted high and low for pillowcases in a fabric I liked, and came across a pair of these:

So following the instructions, I cut the closed top end off the to correct length for my miss (measured from one of her dresses), cut some arm scyes, and a couple of straps from the closed top end. The instructions were actually for tied bias binding straps, but I opted for proper straps, just personal choice. Then, as instructed, I created channels front and back for the elastic, opting for a back stitch for a strong seam, and installed said elastic. Leaving me with this:

Then it was a case of installing straps, adding bias binding round the armholes (unfortunately stretching them a little, but this is my first attempt so I will let myself off) and added a trim down the hem to catch the turned back opening for a pillow, so she can't get her feet stuck in it. And there we had it, a finished dress!

Despite the stretched armholes, its very wearable and she looks adorable in it (in my humble opinion!). I actually love how it hangs and billows around her, and its very comfy for the summer. Very pleased with my first foray into sewing! And I have another of the same pillowcase and enough trim to make her a bigger one when she grows out of it! And more experience too. Over all, I'm a happy mum, pleased to dress her in something I've made. And her dad loves it on her too! I am just not telling him it used to be a pillowcase!

Till next time!


  1. Yay! You did great. Love the print.
    You know.... you could cut the 2nd pillowcase in half to make a simple elastic waist skirt.

    I like the idea of finding an old vintage machine too. I would love an old one too.

    1. This is true, turn over a channel for the elastic, sew and install and job done! Definitely a thought! Thank you.

      We'll see what I can find near to me!