Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

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FB pillowcase dress

You don’t have to be an expert seamstress to make cute clothes. This adorable little girl’s pillowcase dress is the perfect example. If you can sew a pillow, you can sew this dress! And it comes together in a matter of minutes. Great as-is for summer, or use it over a shirt or under a cardigan for cooler months.

Here’s what you’ll need:

❤ Cute fabric (see first column of the size chart)
❤ Ruler or tape measure
❤ Scissors or rotary trimmer
❤ Iron
❤ Straight pins
❤ Sewing machine
❤ Thread to match your fabric
❤ Safety pin or bodkin
❤ Coordinating ribbon (you will need TWO pieces that are each TWICE as long as each fabric piece is wide)

Size: Fabric dimensions Finished dress length Sleeve hole
6 months 2 pieces each 15″ wide x 18″ long 14 inches 5 inches
12 months 2 pieces each 15″ wide x 19″ long 15 inches 5 inches
18 months 2 pieces each 18″ wide x 22″ long 16 inches 5.25 inches
24 months 2 pieces each 18″ wide x 22″ long 18 inches 5.5 inches
2T 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 24″ long 20 inches 5.75 inches
3T 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 25″ long 21 inches 6 inches
4T 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 26″ long 22 inches 6 inches
Child’s 5 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 28″ long 24 inches 6.25 inches
Child’s 6 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 29″ long 25 inches 6.25 inches
Child’s 7 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 30″ long 26 inches 6.5 inches
Child’s 8 2 pieces each 21″ wide x 31″ long 27 inches 6.5 inches


Here’s how to make it:

  1. Cut two pieces of fabric to the appropriate size as indicated by the first column of the size chart. If you want to make the dress longer than the finished dress length indicated in the second column, you can cut your pieces longer as desired. Here, we have used an Alice in Wonderland dress fabric, available from our Spoonflower shop, but you can use any fabric you like.1-measure
  2. Iron the two pieces of fabric.
  3. For each piece, fold over the left and right side between 1/4″ and 1/2″ (wrong sides in) and iron down.
  4. Fold the left and right sides over once more for both pieces and iron again. If the fabric doesn’t hold the crease well, you can pin the folds in place.4-iron-pin
  5. Sew down the left and right sides of each piece with 1/4″ seam allowance.
    1. NOTE: You are not yet sewing the front and back together at this point, you are just sewing your folds into place on each piece.


  6. For the ribbon casing, for ribbon up to 5/8″ wide, fold down the tops of each piece 1″ (wrong sides in) and iron down. (For wider ribbon, fold down at least 1.5 times the width of the ribbon. For example, for 1″ wide ribbon, fold down 1.5″ of fabric.)
    1. NOTE: If you make the ribbon casing larger, the overall length of the dress may be shorter, but can be somewhat compensated for later.
  7. Fold down the top of each piece once more and iron again. Pin folds in place if needed.7-pin-casing
  8. For each piece, sew down the casing just inside the bottom edge of the fold.8-sew-casing
  9. Lay the two pieces on top of one another, right sides together. Make sure tops and bottoms are aligned.9-align-front-back
  10. From the top (where the casing is) measure down the length and pin or lightly mark with pencil where the arm hole should be at the left. (See far right column of size chart). Repeat for the right side.
  11. Starting at the arm hole pin or mark, sew each side together, just inside the previous seam.
  12. Fold back the two sides of the side seams and iron to flatten.12-open-side-seams
  13. For the bottom hem, fold up 1″ (wrong sides in), iron, and fold up once more and iron again.
    1. NOTE: If you made the ribbon casing larger in step 6, you can fold up less fabric to compensate. Just make sure to fold up at least 1/4″.
  14. Sew down the bottom hem, just inside the fold.14-sew-bottom-hem
  15. Turn the dress right side out.
  16. Cut two pieces of ribbon, each twice as long as each dress piece is wide.
  17. Place a safety pin in the ribbon and use this to help string one of the pieces of ribbon through the casings on the front. Repeat with the other piece of ribbon for the back. Alternately, you can use a bodkin to thread the ribbon through.
  18. Make sure there ribbon is centered in each casing, with the same amount of extra ribbon sticking out at the right and the left sides.
  19. In the middle of the casing, for the front side and then for the back side, sew a few stitches to keep the ribbon in place. If you like, you can carefully use a candle or match to seal the ends of the ribbon to keep them from fraying.19-final-ribbon-step
  20. Gather/bunch the casing fabric so that it forms the narrower top neckline of the dress. Dress is worn by tying the ribbons to form the shoulder straps.20-how-to-wear


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