When I first thought of the theme resourceful for January for my blog, this was the project I had in mind. Now here it is almost the end of January and I’m just now getting the project up, let’s just say that it took a little longer than I thought and required more than it’s fair share of unpicking.
Finding fabric and a tutorial on adding a waistband to a pillowcase dress
Lucky for you, I worked out the kinks… this seems like a simple project, but getting the proportion just right on the waistband of the dress seems to be the key to it looking right.
The tutorial to make this will be at the end of this post, but I wanted to share with you the reason for this little sundress… (that by the way, my daughter asked me why I was so crazy to make a summer dress in the dead of winter, I’m a little stir crazy I guess). I thought it was pretty funny that I was out trudging through the snow to snap a photo of it today. I ended up using my dress form (I got it on ebay) for the photo, as I didn’t have the heart to ask my daughter to model it outside, and there is no natural light inside my house today.
Even before I started this blog one of my favorite things to sew with was sheets. I know that many sew with wonderful found vintage sheets, but I’ve always sewn with new ones.
Sheets are a wonderful way to get LOTS of fabric for a reasonable price. Do you remember when PBK had Liberty of London sheets??? I saw those in the catalog and knew right away that I was going to buy them.. the trick was just being patient enough for them to go on sale. You see good Liberty prints are upwards of $20 a yard at the fabric store. These sheets (actually this is a twin duvet cover) yielded me the equivalent of 5 yards of 60″ wide fabric… that’s probably over $100 worth if you pay retail. I can’t remember what I bought the duvet cover for, but it no where near $100.
The trick to sewing with sheets I think is finding good quality sheets in prints you like and finding them on sale! PBK is one of my favorite spots to “stalk”… their sheets frequently go on sale, and since I’m not actually using them on a bed it doesn’t matter what size I buy or if I get a “matched set”…. Usually they discount their odds and ends and leftovers.
For example this duvet cover is on clearance for $9.99… you can get 5 yards of fabric out of it!!! It would be the perfect print to make a girls skirt or dress, or add as an accent to a pillow.
I don’t have a lot of experience quilting with sheets, I know that many quilters have done this with success.
Traci of Amazing Mae is a good friend of mine and has lots of ideas on her blog for sewing with sheets. She always amazes me with her creativity and the things that she thinks to sew with. She uses both vintage sheets and new ones.
These Road Trip Pillowcases are a favorite project of mine. You can get the info here.
She also makes pj’s out of sheets. Wash them a few times and they get super soft and comfy.
Another friend of mine, Danielle at Savvy Chic Home made drapes out of sheets!
She added the ribbon to the top — what an awesome detail! They are the perfect accent to her new nursery, You can see more photos here.
Another project that I saw online recently was this beautiful display by Amy of Diary of Quilter
She used vintage sheets that she had been collecting for the display. You can read more about it here.
Now that I have hopefully convinced you to start hunting for sheets… I thought I’d share with you a quick tutorial… a modification of the classic Pillowcase Dress…
So is it funny that I made a pillowcase dress out of a duvet cover and not a pillowcase??
One of the things that I thought the standard pillowcase dress needed was a waist, as my daughter is getting older I think she wants a bit more shape to her clothes.
I’ve been making pillowcase dresses on my blog this year, trying to find different variations to the same basic simple pattern..
To make this dress you just need to make a pillowcase dress… there are lot’s of tutorials out there…
The measurements for my dress were 37″ wide by 38″ long with a 1″ x 6″ cut out for the arms. I also used ribbon for the neck ties not elastic, and used bias tape to fill in the holes. The band on the bottom is made from a 4″ wide piece of fabric It’s essentially the same construction process I used for the Pillowcase Shirt tutorial that you can find here.
This project I think works best out of a light weight cotton. (quilting weight would be fine, just not heavier than that)… Something like a sheet washed several times, or a voile fabric (it would be great out of the Anna Maria Horner Voiles or Velveteen’s). This particular sheet set is Liberty of London, which is similar in weight to a voile fabric.
In addition to the pillowcase dress fabric you will need:
2 yards ribbon (for the neck ties)
2″ strip of fabric long enough to go all the way around your dress. (this will hold the elastic waist). If you are not sure, cut 2 strips 2″ wide from 44″ fabric.
1/2″ wide elastic
After you have sewn your pillowcase dress. Take your 2″ wide piece of fabric and press it under 1/4″ on each long edge.
Measure down 1/3″ the length of your dress. For example if your dress is 30″ from neck to hem, measure 10″.
Place marks 10″ down and several spots to make sure your fabric strip is placed on straight.
After you have pinned it in place leave about 1″ overlap at each end (you are wrapping your 2″ wide piece of fabric all the way around the dress, like you would a belt). Leave the opening in the side seam.
Stitch in place close to both edges of your fabric strip. You are making a casing for your elastic.
Cut your elastic to the correct length (measure your child’s waist, then cut the elastic the same size).
Feed the elastic thorough. Stitch ends of elastic together.
To close the opening. Fold under the raw edge of the fabric 1/2″ . Lay over the top of elastic and stitch closed where pins are.
To finish up, simply thread ribbon through the neck and hem the dress!
I think this dress would be adorable with a long sleeved t-shirt under it, but it still seems a bit “summery” for the dead of winter. I guess we’ll have to hang it in her closet until Spring!
One more “resourceful” idea to come, then it’s time for February’s focus… “LOVE”..