FINALLY! Here it is! This is my take on the traditional pillowcase dress, actually it’s not a dress at all! I’ve taken this traditional pattern and made it into a cute shirt. I’ve also updated the construction a bit.
The changes I’ve incorporated are:
- Didn’t use a pillowcase (but you can)
- Made it a shirt (but you can make it a dress)
- Replaced the traditional ties with fixed straps
- Used elastic in the neckline (instead of ribbon or ties) to maintain the gather and add elasticity for easy on and off
- For my 4 yr. old, I created more of an “A” shape by having the bottom 2” wider than the top. This creates a bit more flare, but it is not necessary. I used a straight cut for my younger daughter’s shirt (as the directions below indicate) and it came out just as nice.
Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to make a downloadable PDF file of this pattern. But I do have the video and the printable instructions below. Enjoy!
Note: I used a serger to clean up all of my seams. This of course is not necessary.
All seams are 1/2” unless otherwise noted.
The measurements I provide here will create a shirt that fits 18 – 24mo.
**You will need to adjust the width/length to accommodate your child**
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
>Rotary Cutter (or scissors) >Thread > 12” of 1/4” wide elastic (2 pieces 6” long) >Fabric:
> 2 Main Panels = 14” wide x 10.5” long > 2 Coordinating Bands = 14” wide x 3” long > 2 Straps = 2” wide x 20” long (these will be longer than you need)
- Attach the bottom bands and press towards bottom of shirt.
- Measure, Mark and Cut armholes. You will want to create a “J” shape. For this size, I used 2” in from the side, 3” down.
- You can save time and ensure identical cuts by cutting the two pieces with the front and back placed wrong sides together.
- With wrong sides together, sew down the length of both sides of the shirt. (This picture shows the shirt after the sides have been sewn)
- Press the bottom hem up 1/2”, and then again to conceal the rough edge of the fabric.
- Sew the hem about 1/4” from the edge
- Top stitch the bottom band about 1/4” from the main panel to create a nicer look.
- Starting with the back of the shirt, create the channel for the elastic by pressing the edge over 1/2” and then fold over and press again concealing the raw edge
- For the front panel, repeat these steps, but fold the hem over THREE (3) times so the front hangs about 1/2” lower than the back. This not only makes for a nicer look, but it helps determine the front from the back if you are not using tags!
- Sew the hem in place as close to the open edge leaving enough room in the channel for the elastic.
- Take one 6” piece of elastic, and insert it into the back channel. You can use a small safety pin to make this easier.
- When the end of the elastic gets to the end of the channel, sew it in place by sewing across the channel opening.
- Gather the fabric for your desired look and sew the other end of the channel closed (incorporating the elastic)
- Trim the excess elastic.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for the front panel.
- Make your bias strips as you normally would. Fold in half – press, open then fold outside edges to the center and press in. Fold in half again and press.
TIP: I cut one 2” strip the width of my fabric. Since most fabrics come in 42 – 45” width bolts, this saves me time from having to measure lengths. I then created the strip and then cut in half to get my two strips. I cut the excess length off later after the straps have been attached to the shirt.
- Open the strip, fold over the ends about 1/2” and press both. Clip the corners to create a nice end. You will only need to have one end of each strip have a finished edge.
- Open up one of your bias strips. Place the strip so that the finished edge sits about 1/4” past the back of the shirt armhole. (The right sides of the fabric are together) Pin the raw edges together along the armhole. Let the excess bias tape extend past the front of the armhole
- Using 1/2” seam, sew the tape to the armhole
- Fold the bias tape over to cover up all the unfinished seams
- Pin in place
- Beginning at the edge which doesn’t extend past the arm hole, sew as close to the edge as possible making sure you are covering all the seam stitching underneath
- Continue sewing past the neckline of the shirt to close off the open side of the tape.
Sew all the way to the end of the tape (don’t worry about making a clean edge at the end – you will be cutting this to size in the next step)
- Now it’s time to measure the straps. The best way to do this is to put the dress on the child and safety pin or mark the appropriate length.
- Attach the straps by sewing a 1/2” square where the strap meets the back of the shirt.
The excess length of strap should be on the INSIDE of the shirt.
- After sewing, cut off the excess length
Repeat on the other side