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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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I Actually Made A Pillowcase Dress

I may have mentioned the metric ton of pillowcases I got with every intention of seamstressing a batch of adorable dresses for Zoe, thanks to the crafty idea crammed into my eyeballs and attached via (decorative) staple to my brain by Pinterest.

I also believe I told you about a little bet I had going with my mom regarding who would finish their chosen unnecessary, time-consuming project first.

I'm sure you can gather (since I'm the one bringing it up) that I won.  So I hereby present to you: a dress made from a (heavily laundered) Goodwill pillowcase, worn willingly for some reason by my daughter who clearly just doesn't know any better.

This is what I get with the prompt, "Look sassy."

Isn't it glorious?  And by glorious, I mean finished.

I had scads of people (three) ask me if there was a pattern of some kind, and after I finished laughing I replied, "Probably."  In truth, I'm sure there are eleventy hundrerd bjillion tutorials to be found online, but I sew just like I cook - without proper instructions, materials, or natural ability.  Except I can't set anything on fire when I sew, usually, which is a plus.

So in the interest of pseudo-helpfulness, I thought I'd give you the HTV-version of a tutorial, in case you're a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, I-wonder-if-this-will-work, hey-wait-is the-thread-supposed-to-ignite-that-easily type of seamstress, like myself.

Firstly of all, gather all your supplies.  I didn't take a picture of this step because I forgot, but you know what a pillowcase, thread, scissors, bias tape and/or ribbon, and either a sewing machine or (if you have the rest of your life to finish sewing) your hand and a needle look like.

Next, lay your pillowcase out flat and cut open the closed end (that's the end you're trying to get your pillow to go to when you stick it in the pillowcase opening and start jumping up and down every time you change your sheets).  Then, cut two curvyish pieces from each side, at the end you just cut open - these are the arm holes.
And no, I don't have any measurements.  Besides, I don't know what shape your kid is.
It should look kinda like this.  Make sure it's good and wrinkly like mine, especially if you're going to post public photos of it at this stage on the interweb.

Now, you don't want scraggly old cut edges at your arm holes, do you?  (No.)  So do what I did, which is pin bias tape, folded over the raw edge, all the way around the opening.  Also like me, you don't need to know that this is the incorrect way to use bias tape until later when you're writing a blog post about it.
Apparently this isn't how you use it.  Whatever.  It worked.

I hear people who read tutorials LOVE close-ups!

Sew the bias tape onto the arm holes (if I have to tell you to remove the pins  before wearing the garment, then you shouldn't be using sharp things in the first place).


Congratulations, now your daughter/niece/whatever has someplace for her armpits to rest while she's wearing the dress.  Unfortunately, it's still just a tube that's going to end up in a puddle circling her feet if she tries to wear it.

Nearly finished, we have to make channels for the ribbon to go through at the top front and back.  Fold the fabric over a couple times and pin it - this is where I realize I should have told you earlier to choose a pillowcase with stripes.  Stripes made this step waaaay easier; otherwise my OCD would've had me bent over this for weeks trying to get my hem straight.

This angle is a sewing tutorial's version
of an action shot.
This is where I provide a photo in case you don't
know what I mean by "fold the fabric over a couple times."


Sew it up, leaving room for the ribbon to go through the channel.  I rammed mine through there on a safety pin.

BONUS CLOSE-UP!  Also, please don't steal my fingerprints.

Now you're ready for your sweet little angel to put it on for three seconds while you take pictures of her wearing it proudly for the first (and probably) only time.



For you beginners, remember you'll also want to include the following activities, smattered randomly throughout your sewing session - knowing exactly when to use them are the expert nuances that I can't teach, you only learn with experience.
  • drop a pin in the carpet, where it immediately becomes invisible; stop everything and get on your hands and knees to find it, then painfully discover it snagged in your pant leg, thus sustaining injury AND wasting 15+ minutes
  • rethread the needle that mysteriously unthreads itself
  • sew a seam, not realizing the fabric underneath was folded and got caught in your stitches; rip out whole seam and redo
  • drop the scissors point-down on your toe
  • reach for a pin and get the point of one lodged under your fingernail; try not to bleed to death on the dress while you finish making it
Good luck!

Please click below you lovely pillowcase-wearing voters!
Next week, we'll ruin the rest of your linens by turning them into togas.
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37 comments:

  1. This is hysterical! uh, thanks? You did better than I would! Congrats!
    Devan

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    1. Thanks! Except, for the record, she never, ever wore it again. I think you can see it balled up on top of her dresser in the last As The Dollhouse Turns episode, in the picture where the Hulk is at the ice cream parlor. :/

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  2. Nice! That's more sewing I've done since I stopped participating in 4H...so it's been awhile!

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    1. Same here, aside from hastily applied buttons and lots and lots of patching. Lots. I'm pretty sure my kids spend all day scooting around on their knees, if their pants are any indication, and I swear my daughter must cut her clothes with scissors on purpose. ;)

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  3. Congratulations! However, I would like to say that the reason I didn't finish my project was due to the fact that I was too busy looking at projects on Pinterest (that I also won't complete).

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    1. Thank you! ::bows deeply:: However, in order to avoid spray painting that bed didn't you just buy a different bed? Which really was smart, because I could've just bought Zoe a Goodwill dress for the same price as the stupid Goodwill pillowcase...

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    2. Um...yes, I did buy another bed so I wouldn't have to paint the first one. Now they are both stacked in the garage awaiting paint and/or bed rails. It's part of my Unfinished Bed Collection, thankyouverymuch.

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    3. PATENT PENDING, right? Next thing you know we'll be seeing the Unfinished Bed Collection in Pottery Barn catalogs.

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  4. I made one for my daughter & her BFF for their birthdays, since they are 10 days apart. IT TOOK ME WEEKS to do this. Not even funny.
    I finally get it done, they are sooo cute...and my kid refuses to wear it because it's "itchy".
    This is why I don't sew for my family. Ingrates.

    Yours look so cute!

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    1. Hear, hear! It took me just as long because I go in stages - get pillowcases, wait a week, get sewing machine out but see that the thread needs to be changed, wait 2 weeks, change thread and sew one hem before getting interrupted, etc. That's why I was so amazed I finished! Not amazed, however, that she won't wear it (grrrr).

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  5. I had no intention of stealing your fingerprints until you told me not to. But don't worry, I'm too lazy to figure out how to do it.

    The dress (and Zoe) are super cute. Plus? You WON!

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    1. That's a relief. It's like I won TWICE!

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  6. Yay for you! You kicked that pillowcase dress's flat butt.
    Your daughter looks adorable in it and even if she refuses to wear it, at least you have photographic evidence that you made it and she wore it. Score 2 points for you.

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    1. I will take those two points - who knows when I'll be eligible for another score???

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  7. You are braver than me my friend, for being on speaking terms with a sewing machine :)

    The dress looks adorable by the way!

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    1. Thank you! It's just fortunate for me that "stupid" and "brave" look the same a lot of the time. ;)

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  8. Oh you are so brilliant. I got to skip the pillowcase dresses, only having boys. Good thing since I'm not all crafty like you are!

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    1. Oh Stacie, I'm sure if you look on Pinterest long enough it could give you some kind of complex that every boy needs pillowcase overalls or something - no one is immune from the crafty pressures of Pinterest!

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  9. She's crafty, all right. It's nice that you can make a sewing tutorial funny, otherwise I would have just read a sewing tutorial with no intention of ever sewing.

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    1. Well I hope I inspired you, because we have about eleventy mismatched pillowcases, and you're in line to make the next dress. ;)

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  10. I think this is just brilliant! I've always wanted to do a pillowcase dress, but never found a tutorial interesting enough to read :)

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    1. They are boring, aren't they? :) I just hope I added in entertainment what I completely lack in real information.

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  11. OK remember the stories of girls telling others "we were so poor my mom made our dresses out of used curtains"? This pillowcase dress thing is cute now but what... woo's is me... is it going to create later?? I have scarred my children in other ways I am going to allow them to miss this opportunity to bash me with I clothed them in pillowcases LOL (that's just my excuse to say I suck at sewing)LOL
    Congrats on getting it done and I think of all the pillow cases in Good Will you found a really cute colored one!!!

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    1. If it was good enough for Scarlett O'Hara, it should be good enough for them, right? They're just not using the right reference...Vivian Leigh made that look GOOD!

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    2. So right! Plus, I'm going with the old parenting "it builds character" defense - they can't complain if I'm pretending that I'm trying to make them better people. Or can they??? Yeah, they probably can.

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  12. I am not sure what is more brilliant...the fact that you WON, or the fact that you worked with a bunch of pointy, sharp objects while parenting. The mere idea of working with pins and scissors with children in the same state just makes me start hyperventilating. And this, coming from a former fashion designer who's been sewing since she was six.

    You may not be able to set anything on fire while sewing (although that would be an interesting story), but you CAN sew yourself into some interesting positions only experienced during a yoga class (college roommate-no sewing skills whatsoever. Very funny!). So be safe. Have fun. And a little ruffle on the bottom of that would just MAKE IT! (just sayin').

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    1. Why are you just now telling me this fashion designer sewing since you were six business??? I'd have paid you good money to crank out a half dozen of these things - my mom would've been pretty impressed (of course I'd have to tell her I made them).

      That ruffle is a great idea, though - it might even make her want to wear it!

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  13. Just a couple of questions. What is "bias tape"? and What is "sewing"? Also, what is "thread", "ribbon", and "fabric" and what does "folding fabric" mean? Looking forward to tackling this project once you answer my questions.

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    1. I'm going to refer you to Pinterest here. Pinterest will either answer all your questions, or shrivel your desire to live and cause your eyeballs to burst into flames. Probably the latter.

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  14. Super cute, Robyn! And she has got the pose down in that first picture. Girlfriend is workin' it!

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    1. Thanks! And yeah, she's a little TOO good at it. ;)

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  15. Hi Robyn,

    Oh I love that project and it turned out great...
    Cheers for that.

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  16. You mean you don't call your kids in to crawl on the floor looking for missing pins? What are you not thinking!! To get them to do it just tell them they can tape any pin they find on the floor to a q-tip and use it as a blowdart for their (made from drinking straws) blowguns to shoot each other. Oh, wait, maybe my boys are the only ones who think that's a major thrill? Ugh!
    Adorable pillowcase dress btw!!

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    1. The sound you hear is my kids excitedly packing their suitcases to come and live with you. ;)

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  17. Super tutorial. I had this great idea yesterday to make pillowcase dress for my daughter. We bought two super cute pillowcases at Savers (like Goodwill). They're in the wash now. I hate the tutorials that say to start with a yard of fabric. Glad yours started with an actual pillowcase!!!

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  18. Thank you - I hope the tutorial ends up helping! Let me know how it turns out! :)

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