When you are a beginner sewer, one of the easiest dress patterns for girls to start with is a pillowcase dress pattern. There are no tricky zippers or buttons to worry about, and you will be so proud of your achievement when you are finished. What better project to get you hooked on sewing?
Pillowcase Dress Pattern and Tutorial
If you are a beginner sewer then a pillowcase dress pattern is a great way to showcase your favorite designer fabric and sew up a pretty dress for your little girl in record time.
What is a Pillowcase Dress?
A pillowcase dress is a type of dress that is loose and plain through the body and tied at the neck with a strap through a casing. They are popular for girls and were originally made with actual pillowcases.
So are you ready to start sewing your pillowcase dress pattern?
Pillowcase Dress Pattern - Options
This free pillowcase dress pattern has 2 options. You can make this dress with or without the border at the bottom. The border is ideal for showcasing a contrasting fabric or adding a trim into the seam like lace or ric-rac.
Pillowcase Dress Size Chart
This downloadable pillowcase dress pattern has sizes 2 to 10 for girls. This approximately corresponds to ages 2 to 10 but check the chart below. The dresses are loose in fit.
Supplies for the Pillowcase Dress Pattern
- FABRIC - The best fabric to use is light to medium weight woven fabric. Quilting fabrics and cotton fabrics are ideal, and you can find a nice selection of designer prints.
- LARGE SAFETY PIN - This is to thread the strap through the casing.
- BAIS TAPE - ½ inch (12mm) wide single fold bias binding for under the arms.
- OPTIONAL - lace to decorate.
- SEWING SUPPLIES - Sewing machine, needle, thread, pins, measuring tape
- CUTTING TOOLS - Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat.
How Much Fabric Do You Need for a Pillowcase Dress Pattern?
You will need 1 yard (0.90m) of fabric for view A, which is plain. View B needs an additional ⅜ yard (0.35m) of a different fabric as a contrast for the border.
The fabric requirements provided are for 44-inch (112cm) wide fabric. You may need more if your fabric is narrower or if you have a fabric with a one-way design or a pattern that needs matching.
Pillowcase Dress Pattern Download
Download your pattern pieces from my website. Just add them to your cart. They are absolutely free, so you won't need to add any credit card details unless you'd like to stock up on some of my other premium sewing patterns 🙂
If you are new to downloading and printing pdf patterns, read my article on how to print PDF patterns.
Free Pillowcase Dress Pattern Video Tutorial
If you are a visual learner, then please check out my YouTube video below. It sometimes helps to watch how something is done first and then refer to the individual steps below.
If you've enjoyed this free pattern video tutorial and would like to see more like it, then please share, subscribe and give it the thumbs up! I'm new to making videos, so I hope you enjoy it.>>Subscribe to my youtube channel
How to Make a Pillowcase Dress - Cutting and Layout
Before cutting your pieces of fabric, fold it lengthwise with the 2 selvages meeting as shown below. This way, you are cutting through two layers of fabric. All seam allowances are included in the pattern pieces, so there is no need to make any alterations.
This is how it will look when the pattern is pinned to your fabrics and ready for cutting. Check you are cutting the correct hemline for view A or B.
Pillowcase Dress Pattern - Step by Step Instructions
IMPORTANT - Make sure the strap is stitched in place in step 7, for the safety of young children. It should also be shortened if it is too long.
Step 1 - Decorate the Front (Optional)
If you wish to decorate the front of the pillowcase dress, it may be easier to do it now. In my video, I decorated with the lace after the side seams were done, but it is just as easy to do it now before you start. (read how to sew lace trim) Add lace to the right side of the dress.
Step 2 - Sew the Side Seams
Put the FRONT and BACK with right sides together and straight stitch the side seams with a ½ inch seam allowance (12mm).
Finish the seams with either a serger or a zig-zag stitch. This will make your dress withstand lots of washing. Don't worry if you don't have a serger, here are 6 easy seam finishes without a serger.
DESIGN IDEA - Instead of plain seams, you could sew a French seam so that the raw edges are enclosed. This is best for thinner fabrics that fray.
Step 3 - Sew the Armholes
Finish each arm hole with your bias tape. If this is new to you and you'd like extra help, read - how to sew bias
Open up one pressed side of the bias binding. On the RIGHT side of the armhole, pin the open edge of the binding along the armhole's raw edge.
Stitch in the crease of the bias about ¼ inch (6mm) from the raw edge.
DESIGN IDEA – If you wanted the bias to show on the outside of the finished dress, sew it to the wrong side in this step. You can see that I have done this for my black and pink sample. You could also use double fold bias which would show on both sides.
Bring the bias tape all the way to the wrong side so the seam is on the edge of the armhole. Press and pin carefully.
Top stitch around the edge of the bias tape close to the folded bottom edge.
Step 4 - Sew the Casings
With the dress the WRONG way out:
On both the FRONT and BACK of the top of the dress, press over the top edge of the dress by ¼ inch (6mm).
Press over the casing again by 1 ¼ inch (3cm) and stitch close to the edge.
Step 5 - Sew the Hems
Now on to the hem at the bottom of the dress. You can create 2 styles of hem - simple or with a border.
View A - Simple Hem
On the wrong side of the dress, press up the bottom hem by ¼ inch (6mm), then ½ inch (12mm) again, and stitch across to form a double fold hem.
View B - Border Hem
Stitch your band pieces together at the side seams with the right sides together and a ½" (12mm) seam allowance. Fold the band so the wrong sides are together to form a tube.
Banded hem continued: With the dress, the RIGHT way out, match the raw edges of the band to the raw edges of the hem. Stitch across with a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance. Finish the seam.
Fold the hem down and press the seam up towards the body of the dress. If it doesn't sit flat, you can always topstitch the seam in place. In this black sample, I added a piece of lace over the seam to add a pretty twist.
Step 6 - Sew the Fabric Tie
Put the 2 strap pieces with RIGHT sides together. Stitch along one short side of the straps. Press open the seam.
With the RIGHT sides together, fold the strap in half lengthways and stitch the sides and long edge of the bottom, leaving a 2 inch (5cm) opening in the center.
Clip both ends. Turn your strap on the RIGHT side out and press well. Topstitch all the way around the strap close to the edge.
Step 7 - Thread and Stitch the Strap
Thread the strap through the neck casing with a safety pin. Gather in the front and back casings then tie a bow on one shoulder. Don't skip the next step, as it is important for safety.
Try the dress on your little girl and put a few hand or machine stitches to secure the strap and to prevent it from pulling out.
IMPORTANT - Make sure the strap is stitched in place, for the safety of young children. It should also be shortened if it is too long.
Pillowcase Dress Pattern - In Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed this free pillowcase dress pattern. Be proud of what you have made, and share your photos with my Facebook group. Please also add your thoughts and comments below.
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Pillowcase Dress Pattern for Girls
- Sewing machine
- Sewing Supplies Thread, pins, tape measure
- Large Safety Pin
- 1 Yard Light to Medium Weight Fabric
- 2 Pieces ½" Wide Single Fold Bias Tape
- Decorate the front of the dress with lace or ric-rac.
- Put the front and back with right sides together and stitch the side seams. Finish the seams with a zig-zag stitch or serger.
- Open the bias tape on one edge and pin it to the armhole on the right side. Stitch in the crease ¼" (6mm) from the edge. Press the bias tape to the inside and stitch the edge.
- On the wrong side, press over the top of the dress by ¼ inch (6mm) and then 1 ¼ inch (3cm) to form a casing. Stitch the bottom of the casing.
- On the wrong side, press the bottom hem by ¼ inch (6mm) then ½ inch (12mm) again. Stitch the hem.
- Put the 2 strap pieces right sides together and stitch the short ends. Press open the seam. Fold the strap lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch the sides and bottom leaving a 2 inch (5cm) gap. Turn to the right side and topstitch.
- Thread the strap through the casing. IMPORTANT - Stitch the strap at the ends of the casing so it cannot pull through.