Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pillowcase Dress/Tunic Tops Tutorial

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

I've made a few of these tops/dresses this past weekend. They are so fun and easy to make that I thought you might like to see how to make one for yourself. I know these aren't a new idea, but maybe you'll be inspired to make one for a little girl in your life. They would be a great idea for a last minute Christmas gift... in fact, that's what I made this one for.
This particular one is for a girl who wears a size 7. She'll be wearing it as a tunic top rather than a dress. For winter, she'll just layer it with a long sleeve shirt and some skinny jeans or leggings. :) For younger girls, they are so cute as dresses and these measurements would make a size 4T dress.
So, let's get started:

(Keep in mind, this is for about a size 7 tunic top (or a 4T dress... other sizes for the lengths are at the end of the instructions. You will have to adjust your fabric lengths to whatever size you want to make.)
Cut your main print to a length of 19" x width of fabric (44")
Cut the hem fabric (the blue on blue print) to a length of 10" (creates a 5" border at the bottom) x width of fabric

Fold the hem fabric in half, wrong sides together (44" edge matching up with the other 44"edge) and iron. Open up the main print and pin the hem fabric at the bottom (44" edge), to create the border. You will be pinning through 3 layers (the folded hem and the main fabric).

I serged along the bottom (or you can straight stitch and zig zag the seam). Fold the hem fabric down and press.

Topstitch the seam.  There, you've created the hem! Wasn't that easy?!

Ok, now fold the top in half (we're going to create the seam down the middle back) and pin.

Serge this together (or straight stitch and zig zag the edges).

I also straight stitched about a 1/8" away from the serging down the back, just to give it a little more stability.

Press your seam. Here it is laid out on the cutting board with the front side facing down and the seam running down the center of the back.

Now, we are going to cut the arm holes. For this size of dress, I cut in about 1.25" and down a little more than 5". You can see what sort of shape you should cut out from the picture. Just give it a try, I don't think you need a pattern to cut from. (For smaller size dress, adjust the cutout to be in about 1" and down 4". It doesn't have to be exact. It's a loose fitting dress/top so don't worry too much!) Just make both sides the same and you're good to go.

Now, use the shape that you cut out from one side to cut out the other arm hole. Then, serge or zig zag the top edge of the dress.

On this dress, I used single fold bias tape to cover the raw edges. I like to iron it closed first and have the bottom stick out a little more than the top of the binding. That way, when I sew it onto the garment, I'm sure to catch the bottom side of the bias tape.

Repeat to cover the other arm hole.

We're almost done! Let's create the casing for the ribbon ties. Fold down a 1/4" and press with your iron.

Fold down another 1" to 1 1/4" (depending upon the width of your ribbon). Press, pin and stitch across; backstitching at each end.

Repeat for the other side of the dress.

I threaded (2) 46" pieces of ribbon through the casings to make the ties on the shoulders. Total length is about 22".

I've looked around at quite a few different places for the typical lengths for the dresses. Here are the most common lengths that I could find for each size:
6 mo. ~ 14"
12 mo. ~ 16"
18 mo. ~ 17"
2T ~ 18"
3T ~ 20"
4T ~ 22"
5T ~ 24"
6 ~ 26"

Tomorrow, I'll have another variation on the tunic top for an older girl. My daughter is 10 and I made her a couple of tops with a few changes!

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if something isn't clear in the directions!

Happy Sewing



Anonymous said...

Very cute - nice tutorial. Mom

tasha said...

oh, i really hope to find time to use this tutorial!!! looks great!

Melanie said...

Thanks so much for the great tutorial! I have looked at a lot of tutorials for pillowcase dresses and this is definitely the best one!

teampischke said...

thanks for this.. a few of us gals are making dresses for Little Dresses for Africa and we will use this as our guide!

twin fibers said...

Great! Let me know if you have any questions!
I also used it to make some tunic tops for my daughter. I made the ties out of fabric and that turned out really nice, too (especially for older girls).

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am a bit confused (a beginner sewer), on the width of the dress for each side. I am making a 2T size, adn see that I should cut the length to be about 18". But what would the width be of each panel?
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try this. You mentioned that you would post an updated tutorial for the tunic tops for older girls. I was wondering if you have done that. I can't seem to find it on your blog.

Vintage Bride said...

Hi. Thanks for posting this great tutorial. I love these fabrics, can you share what you used? :-)

Jessica said...

I love how easy this tutorial is! I used it to make my daughter a strawberry dress a couple months back, she loves it :) I love watching your blog for new inspirations!

Anonymous said...

I too am a beginner sewer and say an earlier post by someone asking what the width is for the smaller sizes of the dress. I did not see a response, but wondered if it will not change due to the fact that it is not a form fitting garment?

twin fibers said...

I would keep the width the same for all the dresses. It is such a "non-fit" type of dress, that I don't think it would matter. You could make the width less on the smaller dress, just to reduce the bulk. :)

I think the fabrics are an Amy Butler "Charm" print (the top) and the border is a Jennifer Paganelli print, I'm not sure what collection it's from.

Happy Sewing!

Cal said...

Hi there!

I love this tutorial and can't wait to try it. I have looked all over for a good go to pillowcase dress pattern to use for my many friends with daughters. I do have a question though. I would love to make a tunic shirt for myself. Any ideas on how to make it a little more form fitting and tailored for an adult? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I tried this method of making tunic tops and it was created very awesome.
tunic tops for women

Veritable Lodge Southeast Alaska said...

Thank you so much for this AWESOME tutorial! I haven’t sewn anything for years and a friend was in love with these little dresses. I made one with no issues and it was ADORABLE and it fit!

Sell My House Fast Dallas said...

After seeing your post, I am convinced to sew dresses for little girls and make a living out of it. Thanks!

Heard about Lake Charles Mesothelioma Lawyer said...

My search for an easy, fun and creative way to make cute clothes for my little girl ends here. Thank you!