Make Pillowcase Dresses

Peaches won't let me touch her hair. She likes it wild. No brushing. No Clips. No pig tails. In the first shot, her face gives away her opinion of dresses. The second shot is post marshmallow bribery.

Usually a pillowcase dress refers to a dress cut from a pillowcase. Since I didn't have a cute enough pillowcase to cut for a dress, I improvised. And so can you.


  • Sewing machine
  • 1/2 yard of fabric
  • Matching thread
  • Bias tape

Place a onesie on top of a piece of fabric (I used cotton) and fold like the picture above. Cut the fabric into a rectangular shape (like a pillowcase). You want a 1.5" to 2" margin on all sides of the onesie.

Without moving the onesie, locate the armpit and make a small snip in the fabric. Do the same for the shoulder.

Create two arm holes by cutting a curved line from the armpit snip to the shoulder snip. You should have two identical pieces like the picture above, one for the front and one for the back.

To create the armholes, fold the edges under (toward the wrong side of the fabric) two times and pin in place. Folding twice gives it a pretty finish. Sew it together, removing each pin before sewing over.

Create the neckline by folding the top of the neck under two times, pin in place, and sew. Fold the neckline under again one time. This time fold it down 1.5 inches, pin in place, and sew. Repeat this for both the front and back sides of the dress.

Place the front and back sides together wrong side out. Pin along the sides and sew with a 1/4" allowance.

To hem the bottom of the dress, fold the edge under twice, pin in place, and sew.

Turn the dress right side out and press with an iron.

The ties can be made several ways: ribbon, plain fabric, etc. But, I chose to use extra wide double fold bias tape because I had some on hand. There's a picture of bias tape above if you don't know what it is. You can also make your own bias tape, but that's a different lesson.

Cut 2 – 24 inch lengths of bias tape. Open the bias tape, fold under the end, and fold it closed again. Sew lengthwise along the open edge like the last picture above.

Insert the bias tape through the neck loops.

For the bottom ruffle, cut a 3" wide x 30" long piece of fabric (I used cotton here, too). Fold all edges under two times and sew just like on the dress above.

Set the sewing machine to the longest stitch length. Sew lengthwise on one edge leaving excess thread for pulling. Do NOT backstitch. Backstitching will prevent you from being able to bunch the fabric. Hold on to one end of the thread and gently bunch the fabric until it matches the length of the circumference of the bottom of the dress. Match up the bottom of the dress with the top of the ruffle. Pin in place on the wrong side of the dress and sew (with a regular stitch length).

And there you have it! A makeshift pillowcase dress.

The Real Deal: It cost less than $7 to make this CUTE dress.

  1. Great tutorial! My friend gave me the pieces of a pillowcase dress cut out from some really pretty fabric. She ended up having a little boy, so she gave it to me, but without directions. I was just going to try to wing it, but now I don't have to! Thanks! I'll have to post a pic when I finish the dress!

  2. Love the fabric you chose. She looks super cute! I have a vintage pillowcase I bought months ago intending to make Girlie a dress and now I want to pull it out and finally try this project.

  3. I love this.  think i'll give it a try!  Thanks

  4. I love this.  Think I'll give it a try.  Thanks!

  5. adorable! 

  6. Pillowcase dresses were my first try a wearable sewing.  I used the bias tape to finish off the arms and used ribbon for the ties though.  There are a million ways to make one, that is why they are so fun!!

  7. This dress is too cute!  I am working on one for my 3 year old right now.  I love how simple these are.

  8. hey, just wondering how old of a child this will fit?

    • This one in particular is 12 – 18 months. But it depends on the size of onesie you use to measure the dress. If you want it to fit a 2 yr old then use a onesie that will fit a 2 yr old. Make sense?

  9. What a beautiful little girl!! I love your take on this dress, great job. Cute fabric and the suggestion of using a onsie will make sizing much easier. Thanks!

  10. I love this tutriol on the "pillowcase" dress. You making sizing a whole lot easier.
    I have been looking through google pix trying to find one I like and I found it here..
    Thank you so much! 
    Oh and your little girl is so cute!! My baby sister has beautiful bright red hair, but
    as a child she refused to let mom do anything to it and her hair would not grow much at all.
    She had short hair for a long time, now she is 27 & her hair is bellow her waist and is 
    the most beautiful hair I have ever seen, it looks like silk.

  11. love all the sewing tips my firt grand baby girl will be hr in 4 short months i hav a lot to sew but how do you read a  PATTERN i want to make diaper bag,quilt and wall hangings please help

  12. I love the idea.. I love the finished product.. what I would really love is a way to make one for a larger girl.. I have three nieces who are super thin but older than a toddler.. and a bit taller.. I have some pillow cases I plan to dye that I got from a fancy hotel.. they changed their style.. I want to put them to good use.. any suggestions? I have like six dozen.

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