Dec 4, 2010

My $2 European Pillow to Toddler Dress Refashion…

Well, it has been a really hectic start to December but I have finally finished the last exam I had to sit for this year… still thinking I was a little crazy for taking on full time study so I actually dropped a subject for the next study semester – hopefully this means I can sew a little more!

Today as a reward after having to go into town to have my uni exam supervised I decided a trip to the fabric store was in order.

Here’s what I found:

     A European Pillow case (26” x 26” or 80cm x 80cm) that had been marked down to $2.00. The fabric was just gorgeous and it had a beautiful white lace trim and I just knew that this would make a lovely little girly dress…

Here’s another look at the fabric and trim (had a contrasting lilac border too):


So, tonight I got busy and cut it apart (oh… the back of the pillow was a lilac with white pinstripe) and began sewing… Here’s what I came up with:


Now, I didn’t intend originally to elasticise the front neckline but alas, I made it too wide and it was the quickest and easiest way to fix it. It is fully lined with the lilac pinstripe and was relatively easy and painless to sew up.
I just folded the pillowcase in half (giving four layers of fabric – floral outer and the inner 2 layers were the lilac pinstripe… hmm not sure that makes sense? hope it does though), used one of my Little little Miss M’s dresses to see how wide to cut the skirt panel along the base edge of the pillow and then cut a rectangle – removing the side trim and saving it for later.


The dashes to indicate the bodice are not accurate – I just drew them on with the computer to better show how I used the material  - easier to draw than explain I guess.

Then I cut the skirt piece at the waistline and the right edge of the pillowcase to give me a front and back panel and remove the right hand side trim. I then placed the skirt panels (including the lining – back of pillowcase) with the floral fabric right sides together and serged & sewed the side seams. The hem was already finished with the lilac edge and lace.

Now, here’s where it gets a little trickier to explain because I neglected to take more photos until I was done…
With the skirt I made a slit approx 3” long at the centre rear and then using some bias tape I’d made from some of the scrap floral I sewed this onto the slit (this is part of the back opening because I wanted it to be a button type back).

Hmmm… I guess I could take a photo now…


So, the slit I cut was about 3” which meant the bias tape was about 6”. In the photo the top part of the ‘V’ has the bias tape already topstitched to the underside – really hope this is making sense!

At the bottom of the ‘V’ to help it sit flat I stitched across the bias tape.

Then I stitched 2 lines of gathering stich across the top of the waist line -  (longest machine stitch length and loosened the tension to zero) I do two lines because I think it is easier to get more even a nicer looking gathers – plus they get taken out later anyhow.
The other thing I did was rather than do the gathering stitch all the way around I only do it from seam to seam… so I had one set of two lines for the front panel and one each either side of the ‘v’ opening – just making sure that I left long tails to gather with. I didn’t gather it just yet but just set it aside ready to be gathered…

Then I got to work on the bodice. (Boy, this is starting to feel long winded – I’ve not really explained what I’ve done in much detail before).

At this point the front and back bodice pieces were identical but I wanted the back to be lower and not have the trim like the front so I cut the trim from the top of the back panel. Then to get the opening I cut the back panel down the vertical centre line giving me two back pieces (four including lining). Then I flipped the lining to face the right side of the matching floral piece (RS floral to RS lining) and sewed the top and right hand side together – then did the same for the other piece but did the top and LEFT HAND side together. Flip back to right sides out and then onto the front bodice and neck ties.

For the neck ties I used the lining piece of the pillowcase that usually folds over the pillow at the opening on the inside. I just cut two strips, folded in half lengthways (wrong sides together) and stitched, then used a bodkin (best little tool ever – aside from my quick unpick) and pulled it right side out and then ironed – could have topstitched but I didn’t this time.

I folded the trim in half on the top edge of the bodice, encased a small length of elastic and stitched the neck ties on…


Oh, before I put the straps on I used some more of the bias tape I’d made from offcuts to finish the armholes
Then I stitched the front bodice to back two bodice pieces and got to gathering the skirt to match the bodice seams. I did this by pinning the bodice to the out side of the skirt at the waist with the right sides together (so the bodice is actually resting upside down & inside out – confusing huh!).

After gathered and pinned I sewed it to the bodice, flipped it right and then topstitched the waistline.


Now, you’ve probably realised I have not done buttons on the back… well I was going to put elastic loops (actually I did but put them on the wrong side to my ‘v’ for it to sit properly) which go in when stitching the back lining to back outer bodice but because of my little boo boo I put snaps instead (it was about time I pulled out my sadly neglected snap press machine).

And it’s done… will add a photo of it on my Little little Miss M tomorrow (its really late here now – 1.30am – it’s the only time I can do this stuff in peace sometimes) and I might just put a yo-yo or bow on the front wear I stitched each neck strap just to cover the stitching.

Hope this made sense – if not let me know, otherwise ignorance is bliss Smile

07/12/2010 ***UPDATE*** I have just bought a couple more $2 Euro Pillows so stay tuned for a couple more pillowcase refashions soon... Oh, and I linked up to "Sew Chatty: Made with Love Mondays" Check it out...


  1. i really like the idea and very cute toddler too ;)

  2. Thank you... it's always nice to get a little feedback :)

  3. Welcome to blogland :) Your dress is adorable! You are so talented! VERY good tutorial. Your attention to detail is wonderful. Well done and thanks so much for linking up!


Hi and thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment... I just love reader feedback - and I also love replying via email...but you need to have a visible email in your account settings for me to do this, otherwise just know that I do read your comments and do appreciate them... Be sure to drop by again soon - I love the company ☺

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...