Tuesday, July 01, 2014

How to make a little girl's nightdress from a pillowcase tutorial

My little girl has been dying to have a nightdress like her grandma for ages , and I have hunted high and low but found it difficult to get hold of  a little girls proper nightdress at a reasonable cost , it is all pjs and t shirt nighties .
I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner but I decided to make my own, and forever thrifty bought two pillowcases for 99p from a charity shop to make some out of , and here is how I did it .

You will need a pillowcase

Pillowcases to recycle to a little girls nightdress

Scraps of fabric dependent on size of nightdress to be made
elastic trim
thread and scissors
ribbon (optional)

I will start by saying my daughter is 6 years old but quite a small 6 and these measurements are for her but you can adjust to fit.

                                                   This is what you will be making

Little girls nightdress made from a pillowcase


First you need to deconstruct your pillowcase , that flap bit that holds your pillows in we want to take that our you will need to cut along the fold line of the pillowcase , that is fine, keep your cut off though we need this.

Deconstructing pillowcase to make a little girls nightdress
And you see this hemmed edge on the opposite side to the flap we cut off , snip it off along the stitch line otherwise our final nightdress hem will be too bulky.

trimming hem from pillowcase

Snippety snip , now turn your pillowcase around and cut as close to the folded edge as you can right across the width of the pillowcase to open up the pillowcase into a tube.

creating a tube from the pillowcase
Jut a note at this point , if any of your side seams start to unravel, mine did , just sew them back up again at this point.

Next we need to create a hem at one end of the tube, fold your raw edge into the wrong side of the pillowcase 1/4 " and fold over again 1/4" enclosing the raw edge, pin in place and sew using a straight stitch, do this for one end only.

Folding hem of nightdress
Fold hem enclosing raw edge
I decided to sew some princess ribbon and ric rac around my hemline for decoration as my pillowcase was plain but it is entirely up to you what you do.

Next we are going to create the straps , grab your large piece of fabric that you removed from the inside of your pillowcase . I cut mine into two pieces measuring 9 1//2 inches x 4 inches , this was to make my straps 1 inch wide and I measured on my daughter , where I wanted  the nightdress to start on her chest and over her shoulder to the opposite point on her back and added 1 inch

To make the straps fold your fabric with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, in half lengthways and finger crease and open up, fold your long raw edges to this centre line so they meet then fold in half again enclosing the raw edges, open again and fold in the raw edges on your shorter sides by 1/4 inch to the wrong side of the fabric and fold up again along your crease lines and pin, you should have no raw edges protruding , do this for both straps.
Sew along all four sides of both straps using a straight stitch and 1/8 inch seam allowance.
I also sewed a strip of ribbon onto mine to jazz it up.

A note , if you don't have enough fabric from your pillowcase flap for the straps use another piece of scrap fabric that does fit.
sewing pillowcase nightdress straps
Next we need to attach the straps and hem the top off the nightdress , first measure where you want the straps to be set on the nightdress , measure your child for this but allow for the fact the nightdress top will be gathered , for my daughter the outside edge of the straps needed to be 4 inches in from the edge of the pillowcase so this is where I marked the pillowcase for strap placing on front and back of the pillowcase.
We are going to do as before for hemming this end of the pillowcase fold under 1/4" to wrong side but before folding again trap your strap in the fold and fold 1/4 inch again and pin in place, do this for the four strap positions , both ends of the two straps , and sew all the way around creating a hem using a straight stitch.
Attaching strap to pillowcase nightdress
attaching strap for pillowcase nightdress
Next we need to elasticate the top of the nightdress to stop it swinging around in the breeze, I used this , an elasticated trim
Elasticated trim
Measure your child's chest measurement and cut your elasticated trim to this size plus 1/2 inch, my daughter's was 24 inches so I cut the elastic to 24 1/2 inches .
Sew your elastic into a loop by overlapping the ends 1/2 inch, be careful not to twist it, your elastic will end up 1/2 inch smaller than your chest size.
Now we need pins , you are going to fold your elastic in half , with the sewn ends at one end, pin your seam to one of your side seams , on the outside of your pillowcase , the end with the straps and pin the folded end of elastic to the other side seam , so your elastic is distributed equally between side seams.
Next find the halfway spot on your elastic between these two points and pin it to your halfway point on your pillowcase between seams quartering your pillowcase and elastic, now gently pull and your elastic should stretch all round your pillowcase.
Switch your sewing machine to a zig zag stitch as we want the stitching to stretch with the elastic, and slowly sew the elastic to your hem , stretch your elastic gently as you go and you will see this gathers your nightdress top.
And you have your finished nightdress
An alternative for gathering the top of the nightdress is to make an elastic casing and thread elastic through , but for this example the elastic trim was quicker and I had it to hand .
Don't be put off by the length of this tutorial it took me longer to write it than make the nightdress, if I wasn't stopping to take photos, I could easily have had it done in half an hour , so a great thrifty and quick project.


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