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How to sew a toddler’s dress from a pillowcase

How to sew a toddler’s dress from a pillowcase
Looking for a great beginner sewing project? Then making a toddler’s dress from a pillowcase is the answer
Chances are there’s an old pillowcase going to waste in your airing cupboard, so why not put it to good use in a quick and satisfying sewing project that anyone can do!  
With just a few supplies and one to two hours of your time, you can transform a neglected pillowcase into a much-loved dress. With no pattern or fabric to buy, this fun upcycle project is a great introduction to sewing and the satisfaction that it can bring. 
"With just a few supplies, you can transform a neglected pillowcase into a much-loved dress"
The size of a pillowcase means you can make this dress for a child aged from approximately six months up to four years old. Alternatively, it can also work as a summer top for an older child. I’ll explain how to cut the pillowcase for the size you need. 

What you will need

You will need

Choosing a suitable pillowcase 

As the pillowcase will be turned, consider how this will affect the layout of the design on your pillowcase. For example, if your pillowcase is decorated with flowers on stems, once the pillowcase is turned these would now be going horizontally across the dress—which could look a little strange!
For this reason, it’s best to choose either a plain pillowcase or one with a non-directional print or design. A plain pillowcase looks great with a patterned bias binding and vice versa.

Determining the size

To decide what size to make the dress, you just need two measurements from the lucky recipient!  
  1. Measure the child from their shoulder to where you would like the dress to finish. Make a note of this measurement and add 2cm to give you your length measurement.   
  2. Measure the distance you would like the dress to go across the child’s chest. Make a note of this measurement for your width measurement.

How to make the dress 

1. Place the pillowcase with the closed end at the top and the opening at the bottom. From the closed end of the pillowcase, measure down to your length measurement and mark it with the tailor’s chalk or fabric marker. Do this a few times across the pillowcase and then draw a line to connect the marks. Cut along the line.
2. To mark out the armholes for the dress, fold the pillowcase in half lengthways and measure and mark 10cm from the top and 5cm from the side. Join these points together using a French Curve, or alternatively draw the curve freehand. Cut along the curve through all layers. 
Image A
3. To make the elastic casing for the front, cut along the closed end of the pillowcase and fold the top inwards by 1cm. Pin in place. Fold again to form a double folded hem. Stitch in place close to the fold edge. You have now created a channel to thread the elastic through. 
4. Attach a small safety pin to one end of your elastic. Use the safety pin to ease the elastic through the channel created in step 3. Keep hold of the other end of the elastic! Gather the channel along the elastic until it measures your desired width. Stitch through the elastic at both ends of the channel to secure it in place. 
Image B
5. To make the elastic casing for the back, repeat steps 3 and 4.  
6. To make the shoulder straps, cut two one metre lengths of bias binding. Fold one length in half to find the centre point and mark with a pin. Under one of the armholes, pin the centre point of the bias binding to the side seam on the outside of the dress, with the fold of the bias binding opened out. Place the crease from the fold 1cm from the edge and pin along the armhole, leaving the rest of the bias binding free to tie at the shoulders.
Image D
7. Stitch the bias binding in place along the crease of the bias binding. Trim the armhole in line with the bias binding. 
8. Fold the bias binding in half towards the inside of the dress. Pin in place, covering your stitching. Pin the remaining bias binding in half to form the shoulder straps, folding the ends in first to make a neat edge. Stitch all along the length of the bias binding close to the unfolded edge.
Image G
9. Taking your other metre length of bias binding, repeat steps 6-8 to make the other shoulder strap.   
10. To hem the dress to finish, fold the bottom of the dress inwards 1cm and press. Fold again and stitch in place.
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