Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pillowcase Dresses

Let me start by saying, where the hell did the last 2 months go! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, its been crazy here. Baby is mobile now so I am busy busy busy! And I discovered a community garden a few blocks from here so I spend a lot of time in there! Anyway, I hope to get back into the swing of things and keep up with this a little better. Hubby and I just decided that we aren't going to be moving so I have more time and all the projects that I had been putting off because "we are moving who cares!"

So yesterday at the thrift store I picked up this really cute patterned pillow case for 69 cents! Yup... almost half of a dollar! It is a jersey material but you can do these with any material pillowcase. You don't even need a pillowcase to make a dress like these but its easy because it's less sewing. My baby is 8 months (WOW!) and typical standard pillowcases are 21'' by 32'' so I was able to make 2 dresses from the same pillowcase... so 2 dresses 34 cents each! These will seriously only take about 5-10 minutes each. The best part about these is that if you have an unexpected thing you have to go to later that day (I swear my husband is the king of unexpected events so I am always throwing together new shirts and dresses for the baby and I) it takes no time at all and you already have everything you need to make one! Who doesn't have extra pillowcases and ribbon lying around?

OK, so what you need:
Pillowcase
Ribbon
10 minutes

I am going to start with the super easy one. It is adorable and so simple anyone can make it! First cut your pillowcase in half... unless you are making this for a little girl (which you totally can! a standard pillowcase should fit a 5/6 year old! or even be a shirt for an older girl!)
With the bottom portion (the part that has the hem for the opening for the pillow) cut small diagonals off the top (not hemmed part) That is for the sleeves. With the top portion of the pillow (for the other dress) I cut the same little diagonals for the arm holes but I also cut a circle for the neck hole because the top of this part has a seam already.

Now, very simple, working with the bottom part of the pillowcase, turn it inside out and around all the edges put about a 1/2 to 1 inch hem. This is just to finish that area. Then you are going to roll the top and sew another hem but leave the sides (by the diagonal cut) open. Do this for the front and back. Depending on how wide your ribbon is you may want to make this a little wider. Now you simply feed some ribbon from one side of the hem to the other. You can use an unbent wire hanger ("no more wire hangers!" sorry I had to say it, I know you were thinking it!) or a pencil or whatever you have... I used a chopstick today. Just take your ribbon, fold it over the end of whatever you are using and then push the chopstick, wire hanger, pencil, whatever... through the hole to the other side.
Do this to the front and back of the dress and then tie the two bits of ribbon together.


See how easy that was! You are done!! Because we used the bottom half of the pillowcase the bottom of the dress already has a hem. So this is it! How simple was this! A little trouble shooting: if you put this on your little one and you realize (like I did the first time) that the diagonal parts you cut for the arm holes are HUGE all you have to do is roll the top again and do your open ended hem to make it higher... this will make the dress a tad shorter but it will also make the arm holes not seem giant... and then the next time you make one of these you can adjust so you don't need to do the extra step!

Now on to the "complicated" dress... really you can make this one as simple or complicated as you want... you can even make the same exact dress as above if you want! I decided to use the fact that the top had a seam to an advantage so I made a tank dress.

OK so here's how we started... I just hemmed the bottom and around the neck and arm holes. Nothing fancy just a 1/4 in around the arm and neck area and a 1/2 around the bottom. I am not sure on those numbers... I didn't measure. I eyeball everything. ANYWHO, now here's where you get creative! This right here is pretty much done... its a dress, its wearable, everything you do from here on out is just design. So I decided to make the straps a little cuter by adding little strips of excess fabric.

I used the scraps to cut out 4 strips... I need four because I will be using 2 for each strap... you can do just one on each if you want! One at a time I take one of these strips and putting the right sides together (ugly side facing out) and I will sew them into a little circle around the strap. Be careful not to actually sew these to the strap... I like to be able to move them up and down to adjust how wide the sleeve is and if its sewed to the actual dress you wont be able to turn it right side out.


 After you sew each of these guys on there you will trim the excess off and turn them so the pretty side faces out.
See how cute that is! Now, Since this is super baggy and wide I wanted to add ribbon around the belly to give it some shape when my little one was wearing it. Since this is a jersey material and it doesn't fray I decided to be lazy about my belt loops... we will do real belt loops another day! So I just folded the dress in half and made small cuts 2 right next to each other right in line with the straps about 4 inches below the straps.
Then I threaded the ribbon through put the dress on the baby and tied it in a bow. Tada! Done...
Not bad for under 10 minutes (total) and under a dollar! Pillowcases are usually really cheap and plentiful at garage sales and thrift stores and these dresses are too easy and so cute not to make a million of them! I also bought the matching sheet with this pillowcase so in a couple days I will be making myself a shirt or dress or two... Hopefully I can get back into a routine where I can write more again. I have no clue where the last 2 months went but they sure did fly by!

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