Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sewing: Patriotic Pillowcase Dresses

 
 

I wanted to make some quick outfits for the girls to wear to Fourth of July celebrations this year. Last year I made some dresses from Portabello Pixie patterns, which turned out beautifully, but I was literally finishing them while the celebratory BBQ was beginning. This year I decided I would make some simple pillowcase dresses--less time intensive and more playful for the casual celebrations too. So I went on a fabric hunt and wasn't finding anything that seemed patriotic but not too cliche. Then I found this fabulous anchor scarf panel! It's Bar Harbor by Minick & Simpson for Moda Fabrics. I love this nautical pattern! I love the cadet blue and off white coloring. I thought it would be so perfect for a pillowcase dress with some red accents. And it is!

So here are Audrey and Scarlett in their Patriotic Pillowcase dresses:

 

I used a red cotton for the tie and added a ruffle to Audrey's dress. Not only do I think the ruffle is darling, but it adds some length to the dress--she is getting so tall! I left the ruffle off of Scarlett's dress as it was plenty long on her. I think the dress is so cute and fun with and without the ruffle--can't wait for them to wear these to our BBQs this weekend.


Here's the tutorial for making these dresses in a size 4 and a size 2, with and without ruffle (click to read more after the jump):



Supplies for one dress:


  • 1 package seam binding in off white or oyster

  • 1/2 yard red cotton fabric for ruffle and tie (54" wide or wider)

  • Off white/oyster thread and red thread

Start with a Bar Harbor Anchor Scarf panel (these measure 23" x 44"), which includes a set of two "scarves," which will be the front and the back of the dress. Trim the selvage so the pattern is centered on the fabric.


Then you'll need to cut out the arm holes. Do this by folding the panel (the two "scarves") in half lengthwise so you can cut perfectly symmetrical arm holes.  For size 4, you'll need to cut down 6 inches from the top of the fabric and two inches from the sides--round the corner as shown in the chalk markings below.  For size 2, cut down 4 inches from the top and two inches from the side, rounding the corner.

  

Then use french seams to join the front and the back "scarves" by first pinning and seaming with wrong sides together (I stitch this first seam with the fabric aligned with the edge of my sewing foot),  then pressing the seam to one side, turning the garment inside out and seaming right sides together. This second seam should be slightly wider than the first so you encase the first seam inside it. (You'll want to seam the folded edge of this panel just as you do the raw/cut edge to keep the dress symmetrical.)

I love french seams because they produce such a nicely finished garment--no need to zigzag or serge the seam allowances inside.


Now use the seam binding to finish the arm holes. Do this by opening out the fold and lining up the edge of the seam binding with the edge of the fabric, right sides together. Pin carefully, especially around the curve, to avoid puckering and pleating in the fabric. Stitch in the fold line of the seam binding. Trim seam and fold seam binding to the inside/wrong side of the dress. Pin carefully and top stitch on the right side of the arm hole being careful to catch both halves of the seam binding.

Next is the casing at the neck for the ties. Fold down 1/4" from the top of the front and the back sides of the dress and stitch a small hem. Then fold the tops down 1 and 1/2" and stitch in place to form the casing in the front and the back.

 
You can now hem the bottom of the dress by folding under the fabric 1/4" twice and top stitching. (I cut off about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom first before hemming for my two-year-old to make it a bit shorter.)


There it is: your finished pillow case dress. You could now use ribbon to cinch the neck and form the ties, but I love the look of a wider fabric tie.



To make the tie and ruffle, cut strips the width of your 54" cotton fabric: two six inch, for the ruffle, and one four inch for the tie. I cut mine with the fabric folded selvages together (just as it comes off the bolt).  (You may certainly use 45" wide fabric, the ruffle just won't be as full and you will need to measure your child--use a piece of ribbon in place of the tie perhaps--and see if you need to cut an extra strip to lengthen the tie.)

 

Hem the edges of the tie by folding under twice, as narrowly as possible--I'm always aiming for 1/4" or less. To save time, I fold under twice and stitch as I go, which is what my mom taught me, but you could certainly fold once, pin and stitch and then do it again. Finish the ends similarly. You can miter the corners if you would like. The tie is now ready to thread through the casing. I found using a large safety pin as a guide was helpful.

 

To make the ruffle, sew the two 6-inch strips of fabric right sides together on the short ends to form an ring. press and finish the seams with a zigzag stitch or serger.  Now hem the bottom edge by folding under 1/4" twice and top stitching (similar to the finishing of the tie).  Then finish the top edge with a zigzag stitch or serger. You're ready for the gathering.

I think the easiest way to gather a long piece of fabric such as this is to use the zigzag-dental floss method! Do this by laying the dental floss under the middle of your sewing foot and sewing over it with a wide, long zigzag as shown below:


This will allow you to pull the dental floss through the zigzag stitching to gather the fabric. It works really well, no risk of broken thread, and I find it gathers more evenly.

 

Because the dress is already hemmed, pin the right side of the ruffle to the wrong side of the bottom edge of the dress (so you are pinning the ruffle inside the dress as it will look when it's finished). Match side seams and centers of front and back and pull dental floss to gather evening around. Pin carefully. Top stitch along the top stitching on the right side of the hemmed edge of the dress and the ruffle is attached.

If you haven't already, thread the tie through the casing at the top of the dress. It's finished!

The Patriotic Pillowcase dress with, and without, contrasting ruffle:

 
 

51 comments:

lissa said...

What a great use of the fabric. Absolutely adorable. I wish it would work for adult size.

laurie said...

OMG!! I am sending this out to my niece and sending her the pillowcase fabric. Your dresses and your girls are adorable. Thanks so much.

Laurie Simpson
Minick and Simpson

Sandra Henderson said...

So adorable!!!! You are a clever mama~ with the cutest little models! :) Great job!

Mary Grace McNamara said...

Just darling! My little Gracie would be so happy to wear such a cute dress to the parade on July 4th!

Your little girls are just darling too!

MGM

*Stitches* said...

holy moly...this is the cutest ever!!! and i'm not talking just the dresses!!! I wish I had girls!!! ...maybe granddaughters some day!!

Terry said...

Cuities dresses as well. Liked the tutorial.
Enjoy the 4th.

Sharon said...

Tihs is the cutest! I love the idea of dental floss for gathering, I'll have to remember that trick next time I ruffle anything. Happy 4th and thanks for sharing!

The Cottage Mama said...

Adorable! I love sister dresses and these are just lovely - great job!!

PamKittyMorning said...

Super duper cute, and those girls are darling!

Heather said...

Wow! That is super sweet! I am thinking it may be time to make my DD a pillow case dress of her own!

Jacque. said...

Absolutely darling!

Tere said...

adorable! Link up at my party today/tomorrow...terelauritsen.blogspot.com

Library Gal Quilts said...

Those little gals look so cute in those dresses! I have two daughters (now 26 and 21) who I always made wear matching outfits. They still talk about how much they loved it...good memories and tradition! Have a wonderful holiday! Hope you are going to a parade! Pam in Chico

Joanne said...

Absolutely adorable! I'll be linking over the weekend for sure!

linda @ CraftaholicsAnonymous said...

What cute dresses! And your girls are dolls! I'm hoping this next baby is a girl so I can make cute dresses like those :)
Thanks for joining the Patriotic Parade.
have a safe and happy 4th!
Linda

Kari said...

Sooooo ADORABLE!!

Stephanie Cameron said...

These are so darling! Thanks for the reminder about French seams. I have learned about them, but never used them...so I forgot. I really need to incorporate them into my sewing! Great tutorial!

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

I forgot to say I am featuring them at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com. Grab my "featured" button.

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

My other comment didn't go through. I said I love pillowcase dresses! I especially love how you added a ruffle at the bottom!

Andrea said...

SO cute!! Absolutely adorable.
Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy.com

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh I adore this project. It is going in my style file for sure!

Happy 4th of July!

KJ said...

The dresses and photoshoot look like they are out of a magazine. This is such a wonderful use for the panels. I would have never thought of this. Gorgeous. Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

Jami said...

How adorable!!! The girls and the dresses...wish I had some!

Brenda said...

You have some beautiful little girls. The dreses are awesome.

Heather - Chickabug said...

These are gorgeous!! I just posted about them to my blog. : )

chickabugdesigns.blogspot.com

Tere said...

I absolutely love these adorable dresses and the girls are adorable also! I have to girls also....anywho, you are a fav. this week at It's Party Time Thursday #8 @PonyTails&FishScales! Thanks for linking up and grab an I ROCK button from my blog!

I also love the dental floss to gather tip...I shall try that...me and gathering go round and round! :o)

famr_4evr said...

So adorable. thanks for sharing and the great tutorial.

Tasha Horsley said...

i love them, i love them, i really do!! your girls are A-dorable!

Lori@momsbyheart.net said...

What a couple of cutie pies! Thanks for the post - linked to you: http://www.momsbyheart.net/2010/07/momspiration-mondays.html

Amber said...

Soooo adorable. Your girls are gorgeous in their beautiful dresses. This is great! Thanks for sharing. :) Your older daughter's hair is to die for!

pcarter said...

These are by far the cutest pillowcase dresses I've seen. I think it's the wider tie vs the ribbon and probably the ruffle. Can't wait to try it out on my 4 1/2 granddaughters. Love the idea for matching 4th of July dresses. H-m-m-m maybe if I start now . . . . .

Rebecca and Alex said...

I am IN LOVE with this dress...I also wanted to let you know I posted it on my blog, and linked you...just an FYI.

Hauber Family said...

these are the cutest dresses I;ve ever seen!! Where did you buy the fabric??? I cannot seem to find it!!!!

Anneliese said...

@Hauber Family: I found these fabric panels at my local quilting fabric store. You could check with some near you or try srearching for it online. Another idea would be to contact the fabric designers, Minick & Simpson via their blog: http://minickandsimpson.blogspot.com/

I hope you can find it. I love it!!

Anonymous said...

this is awesome! I made some recently for my sister's doll. :) So adorable and innocent! :)

Katie said...

I love this! And I am working on a size 4 right now. I didn't have the scarf panels, so I just decided to start with two 23"x44" rectangles to make the dress. But it looks huge....should I be starting with two 23"x22" rectangles? What was your approx. finished lenght of the size 4 dress? Thanks!

Lisa said...

Just discovered you via Pinterest. Saw these adorable dresses and had to meet the clever designer!
My mom used to make these dresses for me when i was a toddler and I made them for my daughter too. So easy and your tutorial is excellent!
Any ideas on using beautiful scarves to make some skirts for moi? Good looking skirts are so hard to find.
I'm so glad to have discovered your blog! I look forward to visiting often.
Lisa

Anneliese said...

@Katie: My finished dress measures 21" from the top to the hem and then 26" including the ruffle. The panel fabric measures 23"x44" but that includes two panels--the front and the back, so yes, you'd want to use half of that for each piece. So the front and back pieces are pretty close to square. I hope that helps! -A

Daily Craft said...

Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with almost 12,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: http://www.dailycraft.com/thank-you-for-crafting/. Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!

Robin said...

Ha!....When you said pillowcase dress, I thought they were literally made from pillowcases.
silly me...
They are so very cute.

The Cardboard Crafter said...

I LOVE your blog! You have inspired me. I wanted to know, that I linked to this post in two recent blog posts. If you want to check it out: http://cardboardcrafter.blogspot.com/2011/06/day-30-sew-easy-kid-capris.html and http://cardboardcrafter.blogspot.com/2011/07/topping-it-off-sewing-pink-top-for-my.html .

Sarah said...

I am currently working on this dress but I'm having trouble with the seam binding step on the arm holes. I keep reading the directions and I'm just really confused. (I'm kinda new still to sewing) It sounds like I kind of sandwhich the raw edge of the the arm hole into the seam binding... but in the pictures of the dress, the seam binding isn't visible. I only see the main fabric neatly folded and stitched. I'm just confused on how to achieve that look with the seam binding. Any help you can offer would be appreciated! Thank you!!!

Anneliese said...

@Sarah: Sorry the tutorial isn't more detailed at this point. Rather than "sandwiching" the material in the binding, you open out the center fold of the double fold binding, line up one of the remaining folded edges to the raw edge of the fabric, right sides together, stitch down the center fold, then refold the binding along the center fold (it is on the outside/right side of the fabric)and fold it over again towards the wrong side/inside of the dress along stitching line. Stitch down. Now the raw edge of hte armhole will be encased in the seam binding on the inside of the dress. Now that I think about it however, you could also sandwich the fabric, stitch close to the folded edge of the seam binding and then turn it to the inside/wrong side enough that the binding doesn't show and stitch down. Hopefully one of those methods make sense! Good luck!

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for explaining it for me!! Just finished the dress and it looks wonderful!! Can't wait to for my daughter to wear it tomorrow for 4th of July festivities and next week for a lobster bake party. :)

Mommy Moxie said...

I too found you through Pinterest and had to see the tutorial for these adorable dresses-thank you! LOVE your site!

Mayve said...

Thank you for a great tutorial! I "tweaked" it a bit and cheated a bit more, but in the end, my 7yo has two lovely tops made very similarly to these! :)

Suzanne said...

I sew for Dress A Girl Around the World and this is a very helpful tutorial. thanks!! http://sewdelightful.blogspot.com/

Anilegra said...

ME ENCANTÓ ,TAN BONITO Y TAN BIEN EXPLICADO

Anonymous said...

I made this dress last night for my daughter who was in a parade thus morning. I was able to get the fabric you used so I just bought navy bandanas from Hobby Lobby. My little Hannah received many compliments on it! Thanks for the tutorial!

-Amy C.
Theworldrace.org

lotusbomb said...

Awesome dress! Your dress was one of two that inspired the one I made for my 30 Day Pinterest Craft Challenge :)
http://lotusbomb.blogspot.com/2012/08/day-1-pinteret-30-day-craft-challenge.html

Joyce :)

Chanell said...

just tried this,and i love it,now all my nieces are gettin pillowcase dresses!!

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