Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pillow Case Dress DIY

So a friend from colorguard...yes I was a band geek, go ahead and joke all you want, but it was AWESOME, has a sweet darling baby girl that she would love to cloth in adorable pillowcase dresses without the "boutique" price. So, here goes my second DIY tutorial...I know you are all anxiously waiting the diaper bag tutorial...but alas, my local walmart and I had issues with finding people to cut fabric that I wanted for the bag until just recently! Hopefully, you'll get that post soon, and since it's a beach bag made'll be seasonally appropriate!

So, before we begin this tutorial, I will go ahead and say, that I talk sweet nothings to my sewing machine, offer it lots of praise (and would probably bring it offerings of oil for it's lovely little innard parts) and hope that it decides to play nice. I am a firm believer that sewing machines have personalities...feelings...and can make your life MISERABLE if they so I treat mine nicely and hope that it likes me. The night before St. Patty's liked me  A LOT! See that cute lil dress up there.


 I laid my fabric out and cut in such a manner that the slevage (that nice finished edge that won't fray) would be my bottom hem when covered by some sweet ribbon, and I folded my fabric so that my daughter's dress would only have one side seam.

 See how it's folded.

 Some would call it cheating...I call it being smart! Please note that this was cheap fabric ($2.77 for a yard which made a dress a skirt and has plenty should I decide to do something else with the scraps), so I didn't mind the waste.

I eyeballed all my measurements. Meaning that I laid my fabric out, thought about my sweet Anna and cut what I thought would be a little larger than her width (because the girls find my sewing measuring tape amuzing...I can never find it!).

Making your arm holes
 Then about four inches down from the top of the fabric (the non-slevage end) I cut tiny little dashes to serve as guides for making my armpit holes.

Then, using a circular guide...also known as Kaelyn and Anna's airplane flying book, I marked off a perfect curve for the armpits. You can also use a salad plate, or anything round...they do make special sewing tools for this, but why waste your money?

And Repeat on the other side!

Here is what your dress should look like. See how my finger is showing you that the fabric is indeed folded over!

Now you are almost done cutting, you just need to cut one or two long strips about 2 inches wide for your bias tape. What's that you ask? Well, I never used it before but it sure does make your dress look purty!
Making Bias Tape for finishing your arm holes
Take your two long strips about two inches wide and lay them out on your ironing board with a very hot iron.
Fold each strip in half (don't worry about cutting in straight lines, in the end, it'll all work out) and iron down.

Open up your fold, and use the center crease as a guide to fold the ugly ends of your fabric in. Iron those down.
Repeat on the other side...then fold in half with the ugly ends tucked in and iron down for good measure.

This is what your finished bias tape will look like.
 You will use this to finish the ugly arm pit holes...Open up the bias tape fold and place it over the armpit hole and sew a simple seam all the way down. I cut my bias tape AFTER sewing it to the armpit hole to make sure I have PLENTY of tape.
This is me attaching the bias tape to the unfolded armpit holes.

This is what the fabric looks like prior to adding bias tape after you open the fold! Now, this is how you add the bias tape for a better understanding.
See how you tuck the dress into the fold...then just sew it closed and viola you have finished edges!

If you want the inside of your dress to be pretty, do this! If you don't care...skip!
Now, this is the point that I make all my remained edges of fabric pretty by folding the unfinished edges in, ironing them down, and then folding them once again and ironing them down. Once they are ironed neatly, I sew a simple straight stitch all the way down.

To finsh your hem with ribbon

Once again, I don't cut my ribbon until after it's completely attached to my dress to insure that it's long enough! So, start on one end, cover the slevage edge and leave some ribbon hanging slightly over the edge....and you'll get this nice adorable ribbon hem without all the folding/ironing/sewing involved in making your own hem...

Do you see the pretty edge that will be the inside seam of my dress in my hand? Also look how I let a little of the ribbon lay over the fabric...just some extra that will be trimmed off in the end.
To close your dress
Make the two open sides meet with the pretty fabric folded ontop of each other. Sew, starting at the ribbon bottom up...this way your hem is always even!
To make the neckline and ribbon sleeves
Fold the top of the fabric over so that there is enough room to allow your ribbon to slide into the hole easily.
Iron it down and then sew with very little seam allowance (which means as closely to the end of the fabric as possible).
See how my finger can easily slide into the slot. Repeat on the other neckline. Then place a safety pin on the end of your ribbon and thread through both openings!
Cut to desired length! And now you have a lovely dress! I'll share my favorite skirt as soon as I catch my kids who decided to run around naked outside of towels...Please feel free to ask any questions


Anonymous said...

aww that is really cute! i wish my sewing machine still worked :( I'd so be making a cute scooby doo one for Gidget

Cate said...

That is SO CUTE!! I desperately want to make one for my daughter. I don't have a sewing machine, but maybe I'll go visit my mom and use hers. :-) She gets to play with her granddaughter, I get to make her granddaughter an adorable!

Brandie said...

What is so great about these dresses, is that if you make them a little wider than needed, they look adorable and can grow with your child and become a cute top!

Leslie said...

So I know how to make the dress (although we do some steps differently which is interesting - or just in a different order I guess - to see that it still all comes together). BUT I am THRILLED to see how easy it is to make bias-tape. I always buy it, and sometimes you don't want a contrasting color or can't find the right color to match. I always figured it wasn't too hard but never sat down and thought about it, so that was really cool. :)

Oh, I just remembered (I'm really a spaz when it comes to memory) that you at one point asked me for the pants tutorial, didn't you? Can you fb message me your email? That way I can find that document (it's on here somewhere) and email you that and some recipes we talked about. :)

Oh, and next time you're in GA, call me. I would LOVE to visit with you in person again and let our girls play together. :)

Jungheims said...

Hi! Just wanted to say hello. I saw your comment on Angie's post (Bring the Rain) and am SO excited about these dresses. This is something I think even I might be able to do! I'm heading out in search of fabrics. Thanks for the great post.