Dec 21, 2010

The Purple Petunia Pillow Case Dress (with a twist)


Another pillowcase dress (they are just soooo quick and easy to whip up – and being summer here in Australia they are just perfect for this warm weather BUT also great in winter with a skivvy and stockings or leggings).

Here’s a tutorial of sorts… bear in mind I’m still relatively new to the blogging game (only about 2 months into it – but ♥LOVING♥ it!) Any feedback, comments would be kindly taken and any FOLLOWER’s would be so appreciated! I hope to do more tutorials soon…

Anyhow, here’s how I did it (sorry I haven’t included measurements/sizes but I’m sure you’ll figure it out):



Fabric, Ribbon, Elasticised Thread & usual bits & pieces like thread, sewing machine, overlocker (optional), scissors, rotary cutter etc.








I folded my fabric twice – in the picture to the left there is horizontal fold along the top edge of the fabric and then a fold along the right vertical edge against which the top is placed. This means you will cut both a front panel and a back panel on the fold at once.






I used a top that fits my daughter for a rough guide to size my dress pieces.









Place fabric right sides together and serge (you can do a zig zag stitch if you don’t have an overlocker) side seams of dress together and then I like to also sew a straight stitch just in from the edge of the serger stitching.







Cut two lengths of ribbon long enough to cover the armpit edges of the dress. Fold in half lengthways and press to make easier to sew. I use a pin as in the picture through my ironing board cover that allows the ribbon to pass through at the size I want… makes the job easier and avoids getting any pesky steam burns!

DSC07784 DSC07785

I then folded the hem line and pressed twice as in these pictures to hide any raw edges (you could do the hems prior to sewing the side seams – I guess it’s just a preference thing).



Sew hemline close to the upper folded edge to hold it down nicely (you could topstitch it with the right side of fabric facing up but I just find it easier to do it with the wrong side facing up).






Then using the cut and pressed ribbon pieces enclose and sew the armpit edge on either side.








Then I overlocked the top edge of the dress (usually I would just do a similar thing to how I did the hemline but alas I did not allow quite enough for such a seam at the top edge).









Fold down top edge of dress (neckline) with enough width to create a casing for the necktie ribbon and press and then sew.




I then marked a guideline using disappearing ink fabric pen for the top line only of my shirring (my line was about 2” down from the lower armpit but it will vary depending on the size).







Then using elasticised thread I shirred 4 rows (after using the guideline for the first row I then just used the stitch line and the edge of my presser foot as the guide for the next three lines). Now everybody seems to have their own technique for shirring – Me? Well, I don’t cut the thread or elastic between each row but I do backstitch the start and end…. I guess I could do a tutorial at some point on shirring but maybe I’ll leave that unless I get enough of an indication that its warranted (hint hint Winking I love comments, feedback & followers )

Then all that’s left to do is measure a length of ribbon long enough and feed it through both casings to tie at a bow on one shoulder… Stand back… Admire… and cause I love doing it – complete a little Victory Dance YAY its done!!!

DSC07819I have decide I just ♥LOVE♥ this vibrant petunia fabric – it had been sitting in my stash for far too long but I’m glad I used it tonight. Stay tuned for some photo’s in the morning of Little Little Miss M wearing this one … I think her big sister just may turn PURPLE with envy… lol, its late here and I’m no comedian so its time for bed now! Please let me know what you think. I am hoping to start sewing to sell in the New Year but I’ll keep you posted on that one!

Oh, and in case you missed it… the twist to the pattern/dress was the shirred high waist!

I have loved sharing this tutorial, so please, if you use this tute to make a creation please link back to here so others can find it, share it, use it, whatever (and create yourself some good karma – heaven knows its good stuff!) and also…. I’d just love to see any creations you make via linked comments! THANKS

As promised here are a few, ultra cheesy photo’s of my delightful Little, little Miss M (I think she LOVES the camera!).


I love how photo’s of my two lovelies can make me smile and feel all warm inside!


  1. thank you for this tutorial.

    I never used elastic thread before and would like to try it. i want to ask you, for the thread in the bobbin case (lower thread), using the regular thread or using elastic thread too?

    thank you for your kind attention ^.^

  2. Hi! Elastic thread is very easy to use and I'm sure once you get started you'll soon become thoroughly addicted to the technique.
    I have sent you an email with some further details.
    Let me know how you go... I would love to see what you come up with.

  3. Beautiful, saw your blog on girl creative - thanks for the tutorial, I also have not used elastic thread before for this type of dress - now I wil try it!

  4. What a pretty dress! Thanks for linking! Happy Holidays!

  5. I'm fairly sure I could never attempt this, but it's DARLING! Thank you for linking up to the party and don't give up on your blog! :) (I'm almost at my 1 year blogiversary, and I promise you that followers and comments are NOT as important as you think. Gain confidence, find your strongest topics, and focus on the loyal readers...the rest will fall in place.) xo

  6. I like the added detail on this pillowcase dress of the waist by shirring! That is a clever touch. {By the way, often if you join other sites as a follower, they will also join yours}

  7. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday at Sugar Bee Craft Edition - I featured you today! - Mandy,

  8. that turned out beautiful! I loved the shirring!! Thanks so much for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings & make sure to come back next week!

  9. oh man I love pillow case dreeses and really need to try the elastic thread part. really cute

  10. ,uy lindo vestido y facil de hacer

  11. I can't wait for warmer weather so I can make one of these for my Princess!

    I am sooo following you now. :)

  12. I love this twist on a regular pillow case dress. what a difference the elastic thread gathering makes!

  13. very cute! like many other commenters- the shirring is something i would like to know more about- never done it before. i'm a self taught sewer and loving every minute of it! now i will see how to be your follower. my blog is, check it out!

  14. Ok, now I'm getting it, thanks! Will start lookin for the thread...

  15. You were featured on Saturday Mornings today! Come check it out!

    1. how do you feature a blog? As I like this tutorial too

  16. I love this dress, great job!! I have tried to shirr with my Brother and have been unsuccessful. I cant tell you how much fabric and elastic thread I have wasted trying to get it to work. Your post has inspired me to try it again tomorrow!!! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  17. I adore this dress! Would love to make one but the last time I tried shirring I nearly went insane. Any chance you could blog a how to please?

  18. this is sooooo beautiful, thank you so much. i think i'll be attempting it tomorrow, tonight is already midnight, but i cant wait to try. i am just starting to sew i have 2 girls and one baby boy . and things like this are so exciting. oh and if you have the time , yes itd be wonderful if you would like to do the shirring tutorial, there r many of us out there that r learning and would really benefit from it . i am so glad i found you page , it truly is lovely

  19. This dress is beautiful! I'm going to attempt to make it for my daughter. I haven't used elastic thread, but I'm willing to give anything a try. Now I just need to find a pretty printed pillowcase!

  20. Love the added touch of the shirring, it scares me though having never attempted it myself. Is it a true pain??? I'd hate to take the simplicity of a pillow case dress and foul it up because of my own inexperience. :-) I picked up some lovely vintage pillow cases and want to try. You make it look easy!

    1. I always test the shirring on a scrap first... it's a little trial and error at first but once you've figured the settings for your particular machine (often it can vary from brand to brand) be sure to note down the settings so you'll have them on hand for easy reference.
      Once you get it you'll LOVE it... it really is easy - you just have to give it a go :)

  21. I really like your idea of shirring the waistline. If there's one thing I don't care for with pillowcase dresses, it's that they can look too baggy. Great idea!

    1. Thanks Rachel... glad you liked it and I agree that the shirred and cinched in waist line just adds that extra style! Would love to hear or see what you turn out! :)

  22. I've never made a pillow case dress but will be attempting it this week. I have no idea what "shirring" is but I will google it! Lol

  23. What kind of fabric is the dress made from...I love it!

  24. Oh I love this! Question for you( since I've never done shirring before and now will give it a try since it doesn't seem too hard) How do you know what size waist it will turn out to be when after you shirred?


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