Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

Pillowcase Dresses are just too cute! And easy too!

Pillowcase Dresses are so adorable and fun to make! Learn how to make one for your little girl, as gifts, or to sell with our tutorial by Sweet Mama J’s Boutique.

Hi Ribbon Retreat readers!! It’s me again, Ashley, from Sweet Mama J’s Boutique!

Come check out my new blog, Project Bazaar. Fun tutorials, recipes and great photos!!
I would love to see you stop by!

I am SO excited to share with you one of my FAVORITE items to make!
They are SO quick and easy and are just adorable as well!

Learn how to make a pillowcase dress, perfect for all little girls!

Pillowcase Dress Tutorial

Let’s gather our supplies and get started!


I am making approximately a size 3T.

My little princess niece measured in with a 19 1/2″ chest and 21″ from neckline to shin.

Adjust your pillowcase dress as necessary for your princess.

I used:

3/4 yard Half Moon Modern – Ruby by Moda in Ruby Leaves
1/4 yard Half Moon Modern – Ruby by Moda in Ruby Novelty Writing
56″ Moonstitch Grosgrain Ribbon in Cranberry with White
So Fine! Superior Thread in Scarlet

I always start by prewashing my fabric.

Prewash fabric

Cut 2 rectangles of fabric.

I measured the 1st one out of the Ruby Novelty Writing at 5″ X 37″.

The 2nd rectangle measured at 19″ X 37″.

To get the measurements of your rectangles if you are making a different size:

Decide on how big you would like the contrasting band of color to be at the bottom, then add 1″ on the height. ( I wanted mine 4″ + 1″ = 5″) For the width, take the chest measurement and almost double it.

For the larger rectangle, take the neckline to shin measurement and subtract how big you WANT your band to be, then add 2″. (Measurement was 21″ – 4″ = 17″ + 2″ = 19″) Same width.

Fold rectangles in half and sew the sides together.

Fold both triangles in half with right sides together. Sew a 1/4″ seam right down the fold. This seam will balance out the seam on the other side.

Sew together your pieces, zig zag the raw edge.

Place your smaller rectangle on top of your larger rectangle with right sides together. Line up your middle seams and pin into place. Sew a 1/4″ seam along the edge where they meet up.

Zig-zag or serge your raw ends to prevent from fraying.

Press your seam down, towards the bottom of your fabric.

On the right side of the fabric stitch below the seam you just made, to hold the seam down on the back. Make sure you are close enough to the seam to hold it down.

Large rectangle.

You should now have 1 large rectangle.

Match up edges and sew together.

Fold that in half along the seam you did before so the sides match up with right sides together. Pin in place. Sew a 1/4″ seam along that edge to make a wide tube. Zig-Zag or serge the raw edge to prevent from fraying. Press your seams down.

Turn inside out.

Make a hem on the bottom of your contrasting band by turning your tube inside out.

Fold over fabric 1/4".

Fold over 1/4″ fabric and iron the fold. Continue all the way around.

Fold it over again 1/4".

Repeat, by folding your fabric again 1/4″ and ironing. Continue this all the way around.

Pin to get ready to sew.

Pin the double fold so it is straight and ready to sew. Sew down the hem. Press to lay flat.

Now resembles a pillowcase.

Now you have what resembles a pillowcase with the top chopped off!! We’re getting really close.

Fold the pillowcase in half.

Fold your tube in half.

Cut out the armholes by making a backwards J on one side.

To cut the armholes you will start at the top, outside corner (along the 2 seams.) I measured 2″ along the top and 5″ down along the side.

I marked those measurements with a pencil, and then cut a backwards J connecting them.

Open up and fold 1/4" and another 1/4" for all the edges along the top.

Open up your tube and starting with one armhole at a time, fold over 1/4″ and iron down. Repeat 1/4″ fold over, and iron down.

Pin in place.

Pin into place.

Sew along armhole hem, approximately 1/4″ from the outside of the fabric. Press to lay flat.

Sew along both armholes.

Repeat with other armhole.

Arms done, now for the neck casing.

Now for the neck casing and the ribbon.

Fold the top of the dress down 1/4" and press.

Starting with the front of the neck. Fold down fabric 1/4″, and iron. Just like on the hem.

Fold again, leaving enough room for your ribbon to pass through.

Then fold over again leaving enough room for your ribbon to pass through. Pin into place. Sew the ribbon casing down.

Now there is a place for you to thread your ribbon through for the straps.

There should now be a place for your ribbon to thread through for your straps.

Cut your ribbon and heat seal the ends.

Take your Moonstitch ribbon and heat seal the ends, to prevent from fraying.

Attach a safety pin through one end of the ribbon and thread through the casing.

Attach a safety pin to one end and thread it through your casing on the neckline. Repeat through the other casing continuing so you have one large loop of ribbon.

This is so your dress ties on only one side.

Learn how to make a pillowcase dress, perfect for all little girls!

You did it! Enjoy!

Spikey Clip Bow Tutorial

For the coordinating hair clip I used:

7/8″ Moonstitch Grosgrain Ribbon in Cranberry
5/8″ Solid Grosgrain in Black
5/8″ Solid Sheer Ribbon in White
7/8″ Damask Ribbon in Black with White
3/8 Saddle Stitch Ribbon in Black with White

I used the Spikey Minnie Mouse Hair Clip Tutorial.

Make a pillowcase dress for your princess.

Pillowcase Dresses are so easy and comfy!

Thank you SO much to The Ribbon Retreat for letting me share this tutorial with you today!! I had a blast!

Thanks Ashley, as always, for the wonderful tutorial! Every little girl needs a pillowcase dress, and with how easy they are, she can get her wish!

Also check out the beautiful fabric selection that is available at The Ribbon Retreat.
Gorgeous fabrics from your favorite designers!

And finding matching ribbon is so easy with our huge selection!

If you have a fun blog and wonderful tutorials, we would love to have you on The Ribbon Retreat as a contributor! Check out our Project Submission Page for more details and to apply.

Have a great day! ~ Shirley, The Ribbon Retreat Blog Editor

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  1. joyce johnson
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to make this, it is adorable !

  2. Sue Whittenberg
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    This is so cute and I actually made mine out of pillow cases. lol They are adorable and so is your little girl, my grand daughter loves them!

  3. Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for posting this cute project. My granddaughters want me to make these dressed for them…I had an idea in my mind, but your post has made my project so much easier…I don’t have to invent my own “how to.”

  4. Whitney
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the step-by-step directions! I am a novice sewer, and got frustrated quickly with a patterned dress for my almost 2 year-old. With simple measurements and clear directions I was able to sew my first dress for her, and she loved it – and I got lots of compliments on it at church!

  5. Dawn
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I have a question. What width ribbon did you use? The link to the moonstitch ribbon says 3/8″ but it looks so much wider in the pictures. Thanks!

  6. Kelly
    Posted June 8, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand how that cute little girl has a 19 & 1/2 inch chest. Could you please explain how to take those measurements for thhe chest area, thank you so much!!!!!! :):)::)

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly! Thank you for your question. I asked Ashley and she said the following…”I had her mother measure all the way around her chest at the widest part just under the armpits.

      According to Kohl’s sizing charts, a typical 3T is around 21″ for the chest measurement. My little niece is very slim. Thank you for your question. I hope this helps!”

      Thanks for your question Kelly! Have a wonderful day! :)

  7. Posted August 21, 2013 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    OH… it is so cute !Loves them!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 21, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Hi and thank you for your comment! Have a wonderful rest of your day!
      Michelle :)

  8. Ann Merchant
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I the pics of the little cutie modeling the dress I don’t see where the ribbon ties on one shoulder. Did you stitch the ribbon together instead of making a tied bow?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Ann! Thank you so much for your comment! Ashley says…”On the pictures posted for the pillow dress tutorial, the bow has been strategically placed behind one shoulder because my nieces have a really hard time with the bows being near their face as well as with the extra ribbon flying around. In the picture of her on the bench, you can see the bow behind the shoulder.” I hope this helps. Thank you again Ann and good luck! Michelle :)

  9. Natasha
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I am actually wanting to make these dresses for my girls as christmas dresses nad I am having trouble figuring out how much fabric I need for a 6x/7 and a 10/12. Can anyone help?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Natasha! Thank you so much for your question. This dress would be super cute for your little girls for Christmas. As far as making sizes to fit your girls, you would first want to see how long you want your dress to be. Measure from shoulder to knee or calf depending on where you want your hem on the dress to hit. For example, if your measurement is 45″ from shoulder to knee, you would subtract out the 9″ for your contrast piece at the bottom. That would leave you with 36″ left for the main fabric. On the arm holes you could measure over 3″ and down about 7″ to allow for your arm holes. Also, keep in mind that if you want your dresses fuller than just the width of the fabric you can add additional fabric according to how full you want them. I hope this helps! Good luck making your dresses! Thank you Natasha and have a wonderful rest of your day! Michelle :)

  10. Heather
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    How do you adjust for a bigger size. I’ve never adjusted a tutorial or pattern before.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Hi Heather! Thank you for your question. The first thing to do to adjust for a bigger size is to take a measurement of the fullest part of the body of the person who you are making the dress for (the hips most likely). The fabric is 44″ wide so if their measurement is 25″ (for example) you wouldn’t need to add additional fullness to the dress, if you don’t want to. You would then just adjust the length. However, you always could add additional fabric for additional fullness if that is your desired result. Those are just a couple of tips for adjusting a pattern. I hope it helped a little. Thank you and good luck. Michelle :)

  11. Betty Grocki
    Posted December 12, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I love this tutorial. If I wanted to make these in all different sizes for resale….how would I judge fabric measurements? That is the part I always find confusing.

  12. Betty Grocki
    Posted December 12, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    P.S. I would be making different sizes for resale so I wouldn’t have exact measurements to go by.

  13. Lynn
    Posted January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I plan on making a dress this summer for a 2 yr. old. I have over 4o years of clothes making experience, but that is using patterns. I am not a designer, so this tutorial is perfect for me. This will be a fun project!

    • Posted January 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lynn! Yay! I am so glad you love this tutorial. This dress is adorable and will be a great summer project! Good luck and have so much fun making this cute little dress! Have a great day! Michelle :)

  14. brenda quinton
    Posted February 16, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    I was so glad to find your blog! my daughter wants me to make my new granddaughter one for easter but I had never heard of it less alone know what it looks like. now I can make baby Rylee some, thankyou

    • Posted February 18, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Brenda! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for sharing your story! I am so incredibly happy that you found our tutorial. This dress is so adorable and will look amazing on your new little Rylee! Congrats on your new granddaughter and thank you again for sharing! Have a wonderful day! Michelle :)

  15. Celeia
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. My daughter-in-law asked me to make a dress from a precious old pillowcase that belonged to her grandmother. I wanted to make sure I could do it before I made the dress. Needless to say I will practice on an old pillowcase first. You made it look very easy to make. with your step-by-step tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with all of us. By the way your niece is so adorable.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Celeia! You are welcome! Thank you for your comment. Wow…what a cool way to use a wonderful piece of memorabilia. Good luck with your dress and thank you again for your sweet comment! Have a wonderful day! Michelle :)

  16. amber
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    i love it. i cant wait to make this. ive been waiting to for a long time, you make it easy for me todo now thank you so much,

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Hi Amber! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I am so glad you love this fun dress and are so excited to try it! Have so much fun making this cute dress! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle :)

  17. Kellie
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tutorial! You made it so easy! My only question – How is it kept so gathered at the top and the ribbon so loose? The only way I can get mine gathered that much is if the bow is tied directly at the spot the front and back meet, essentiallty holding the gathering in place. Thanks!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 23, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

      Hi Kellie! Thank you so much! I am so glad you like this fun little dress. I am sorry you are having issues with your ribbon. I am not sure if your casing for your ribbon is slightly larger so that is causing the slipping. If your casing fits around your ribbon a little more snug, that could possibly help it from slipping and giving your more options of where you can lay your bow. I am sorry I cannot be of more help. When pulling the ribbon it should tighten to your desired tightness and when you loosen it, it should loosen to loose how you want it so I again and not sure if the size of your casing would help this. Thanks again Kellie, and I hope this helps a little! Have a great day! Michelle :)

  18. Heather
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I saw that you said you prewash your fabric before starting, but what about after it is worn, how do you care for it? Do you leave the ribbon in while washing and drying? How do you do it?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Hi Heather! Thank you for your question! Yes, you can leave the ribbon in when you wash it. When you press the dress (if needed, after you dry it or hang it to dry), you may have to carefully press the ribbon as well so you still get a pretty bow. Thank you again for stopping by and good luck with your Pillowcase Dress! Have a wonderful day! Michelle :)

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