Friday, June 6, 2014

Pillowcase Dresses

I love to see little girls in dresses, especially in the summer.  I think dresses are cooler than shorts and tops and the girls look like girls! A few years ago I started noticing pillowcase dresses.  The original dresses are literally made from a pillowcase.  The band of the pillowcase becomes the self-made hem of the dress.  You make a casing on the top for ribbon or elastic, armholes and, voila!, you have a little dress in no time!  Or you can make the dress from fabric, mixing and matching, using different trims, hems, etc. They are very inexpensive to make.

The first dress I made was for my youngest granddaughter.  It is made from an embroidered pillowcase that my Grandma Fannie had made and given to me years ago. I knew I would never use the pillowcase on a bed.  Turning it into a dress made it more practical and we still have a family heirloom.
Most of the pillowcase dresses I make use scraps of fabric I have.  These two dresses, which I made this week, utilize leftover fabric from two quilts that I made my older granddaughters last Christmas. I got to spend a little creative time at my sewing machine, my granddaughter has some new dresses and I didn't spend any money!  How bad can that be?
The dresses are really quite plain and very easy to make. Their plainness makes them a blank canvas for decorative treatment. Here I used a ruffled grosgrain ribbon between the top and band of the dress.
I experimented with the ruffle attachment of my sewing machine with this dress.  I wanted a deeper pleat than I got so it's back to the drawing board to learn a little more about the attachment!
They can be appliqued. Instead of a plain band for the hem, rows of ruffles work, too!

Many tutorials exist on the web showing how to make these dresses.  The major pattern companies all make a pattern for the dresses, too. If you are a beginner sewer this is a great project to start on.  A few years ago I had a sewing session for my nieces. Next thing I know one of my nieces was whipping out little dresses left and right!
There is a charitable organization called Little Dresses for Africa. They accept pillowcase dresses and send them to Africa so the little girls have better clothing. If you have idle time on your hands it's a great cause!

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