Monday, June 9, 2014

Pillowcase Dresses - Body Tutorial

Over the past few weeks, I've posted about five different pillowcase dresses I've made.

Today, I'm going to post about a sixth, along with a tutorial.

Things you will need:

  • two coordinating pillowcases OR two large (pillow-case sized) scraps of fabric
  • one package of half inch bias tape, in a color that suits both pillowcase patterns
  • fourteen inches of quarter inch elastic
  • thread, pins, and a sewing machine

  1. Make your fabric into tubes.
    If you're using scrap fabric, you must cut your fabric to be about "pillowcase sized" (eyeball it, usually about 2' across by 3.5' down).  Cut two pieces of each type of fabric, then sew up the edges to make two tubes, one in each pattern.  If it's not hemmed already, hem one side to keep it from fraying.
    If you're using pillowcases, cut across the closed end about half an inch in so that the pillowcase is like a tube, with both ends open.
    See picture.
    Step 1: Pink Dress Tube
  2. Cut your armholes.
    Lay your tube down with the cut/un-hemmed near the top.  Cut two armholes into the sides.  These will be curved, with a little more depth than width, and will be about 4 inches tall and two inches wide.  See picture for close up.

    Step 2: Cut Armholes
  3. Pin the tubes together.This step is a little confusing.  You want to put one tube inside of the other, with the right sides facing each other, and pin along the arm and neck cuts in order to sew them together.  This is going to be the main body of your dress.  Sew along the pins, and then turn the body right side out and press.
    In my case, I accidentally sewed the tubes with the wrong sides together, which luckily, with this project, is not tragic.  I simply trimmed my seam edges closely.

    Step 3: Pin the edges
    Step 3: Pin the edges
  4. Pin and sew bias tape along the neck edges.
    Keep in mind that this bias tape will have elastic threaded through it.  You do not want to sew the whole tape up close to the edge of the body so that you can pull the elastic through later, but you do want this seam to be farther into the dress than the previous seam.  I have included pictures for detail.  Do this on both necklines.
    Step 4: Leave room for elastic
    Step 4: Pin and Sew Bias Tape
  5. Thread Elastic through the bias tape and secure edges.
    You will need to cut your elastic into two 7" pieces.  Thread your elastic through the bias tape, being sure to secure both ends so that it doesn't pull through.  Sew over the edges, and then tie and trim all threads.
    Step 5: Thread Elastic
    Step 5: Trim Threads
  6. Prepare Bias Tape Straps.
    Cut the remaining bias tape in half, and then mark the halfway point on each piece (see picture).  Line this half-way mark up with the seams in the edges of your armholes.  If you used tubes without seams on both sides, then fold and pin to find the half-way point.
    Pin the bias tape up and along the armholes as closely as you can to the edge of the fabric.
    Tuck the ends of the bias tape in on themselves in a manner so that they would be hemmed off if the tape was sewn up the edge (see picture).

    Step 6: Cut and mark the remaining bias tape
    Step 6: Pin Bias Tape around armholes
    Step 6: Pin edges to hem/bind off
  7. Sew to Finish.
    Sew along the edge of the bias tape, ensuring to catch both sides as you go.  These will become the straps that will tie to make the shoulders.  Be sure to hem up the ends as you sew them.
Step 7: Sew Straps to dress
You have now completed the body of your dress.  Next time, I'll show you how to add pockets!