If you’re new to sewing you just won’t believe how many different outfits you can make for a little girl when you start with a pillowcase! There are assorted skirts you can make with ease and shirts that are a breeze – well, you’ll see when you get started. The best pillowcases to use for a stunning outfit are ones which have elegant borders around the openings. However, any old pillowcase will work to make an ordinary play outfit for a young girl. It will only take a short time to make the skirt, and not much longer to make the shirt, and there are lots of different ways to embellish each.
To make a pillowcase skirt simply cut the short seam out of the end of the pillowcase. First measure the child, from waist to the intended hem area, to see how much you will need to cut off of the pillowcase. For really short girls you might need to just cut a small section from the open end of the pillowcase. For a taller girl you might need to barely trim the sewn end to have enough fabric for her. Make sure you allow an inch at the top so you can hem the cut edge of the pillowcase.
After cutting the pillowcase down to size you’ll simply need to stitch around it. If you’ve allowed a mere inch for hemming, fold the edge over a half-inch, then a half-inch again. Stitch straight around the waistline to finish hemming. If the skirt is for a small child you might find that it’s way too large around the waist. You can use quarter-inch elastic to gather the waistline. It’s not hard. Cut a piece of elastic to be long enough to fit comfortably around the child’s waist. Position one end of the elastic on the waistband and set the presser foot down. Place the needle so that it is in a downward position and sew a couple of stitches. Now, gently tug the elastic as you stitch down it, but don’t pull hard. Sew very slowly so you don’t run off of the elastic.
If the skirt is for a larger girl, and it isn’t way too large, you might just want to attach belt loops. You don’t have to get fancy with them. Simple sew short pieces of cord to the waist area to pass the belt through. This works best if you make a large hem around the cut area of the pillowcase so you’ll have double fabric for attaching the belt loops. Yet another option is to simply buy really wide elastic – several inches wide – and stitch it around the cut area of the pillowcase. You don’t have to tug it as you sew it on; simply stitch it to the edge of the skirt.
Use one of the girl’s shirts as a pattern to make a new pillowcase shirt. A scoop-neck, sleeveless shirt works best. Lay the pattern shirt on the pillowcase so that the open end of the pillowcase will become the bottom of the shirt. Position the shoulder seams of the pattern shirt on the seam at the end of the pillowcase. Cut out the neckline and sleeves. Now hem around the neck and sleeves to finish the look. You’ll find it easiest to hem if you use hemming tape. The narrow cloth comes in a very long length and you simply sew it around the cut areas of the neck and sleeves. Now, fold the hemming tape down and sew along the edge of it. The tape makes it easier to go around curves without creating puckers.
There are lots of ways to make the shirts and skirts look different. Add lace borders to the neckline of the shirts or even sew on buttons. Create fabric bows and stitch them on. Cut a slit in the skirt and hem it. Even use fabric paints to create designs on the outfits. Other things you can use to embellish the pillowcase outfits include paint markers, glitter glue, shirt paints, lace pieces, decorative lace or ribbon borders, appliques and even fake jewels. Make a totally different design by cutting off the hem of the pillowcase to make a too-short skirt. Hem it then attach a wide ruffle. The ruffle lengthens the skirt while giving it a whole new look.
Fabric glue can help you easily add many other embellishments. Go around the hem with tiny satin bows using fabric glue and it will be much easier than making a couple of tiny stitches on each bow with a machine. Plus, the bow won’t show stitches on it if you use glue. The glue can help you attach fake stones, sequin, lace trim, roping and more.
Use stripes, dots, pastels, prints and even satin pillowcases to make new clothing for your little girl. Create patterned shirts with solid skirts or solid shirts with patterned skirts. She’ll look like a million bucks while you spend only a couple. You’ll find suitable pillowcases for this project in your own closet, yard sales, flea markets, secondhand stores and similar places. You’ll get in lots of sewing practice while you create a whole new, albeit cheap, wardrobe for your favorite little girl!