Pillowcase Dresses | AllPeopleQuilt.com Staff Blog

Pillowcase Dresses

We hope you’ve already been making pillowcases right along with us as we work towards of our goal of 1 million pillowcases for charity as part of the American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. (Learn more about the challenge by clicking here.) But have you considered making pillowcases dresses? These easy garments stitched from finished pillowcases count for the pillowcase challenge too and can be donated to needy kids both in the U.S. and abroad.

Hilltop Stitchers 4-H club members from Georgia, below, recently learned some new sewing skills by making pillowcase dresses for kids in Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Africa, Costa Rica, and the U.S.

Volunteer Deborah Tedder of Chatsworth, Georgia, (pictured below helping one of the children use a serger to finish the edges) taught these kids how to transform pillowcases into dresses by cutting arm and neck holes in the sewn edges of a pillowcase, which allows the open edges to become the hem. They hemmed the arm holes and then stitched a casing along the neck holes so they could gather the neck holes with ribbons, tying them at the shoulders. Some stitchers choose to use elastic for the neck holes to avoid using a ribbon drawstring, which can be a choking hazard.

There are lots of methods and great tutorials and patterns out there to teach people how to transform a pillowcase into a dress. Search for “make a pillowcase dress” or “donate a pilllowcase dress” to find a method and organization that works for you, or check out one of these links:

Learn how to transform a pillowcase into a dress and how to donate the finished dresses to Little Dresses for Africa, a nonprofit group that sends pillowcase dresses to little girls in African countries, by clicking here. 

Here’s a great tutorial with diagrams and photographs from graphic designer, photographer, and former blogger Jen Leheny.

If you’d rather make a dress from yardage instead of a finished pillowcase, Nancy’s Notions has a great free pattern and video that shows you how to start from scratch (with modified instructions for starting with a finished pillowcase).

Happy stitching!