fun in the sun dress Pillowcase Variations

Please welcome to the spotlight, Melissa of The Polka Dot Chair!
I’m thrilled to have Melissa as one of our guest bloggers because I admittedly stalk her!  As I was skimming through some of her past projects, I laughed because I had either done, or ‘starred’ {as in planned to do} so many of them!  She has such great style, and obviously, I want to be just like her!
Here are a few of my favs that I’ve tried…and you should, too!
i made this for my little girl’s Christmas skirt and LOVED it!
my kindle just begs to be put away every night!
best title ever, and i loved the simplicity of this project, and immediately was put on the ‘things to do’ list!
We’re so glad that Melissa was able to be here with us today, and of course can’t wait to show you her fun in the sun{dress}!


I’m Melissa and I blog at the Polkadot Chair.  My first love is sewing but I love to blog about just about anything creative.

My youngest daughter is 10 and I love dreaming up dresses to sew for her. I joke that when she is grown I’m going to have to “borrow” my friends little girls so I can keep sewing little dresses.

Summer Sundresses are some of my favorites to make! I love the beautiful drape and relaxed feel of a sundress… plus it’s pretty nice to make a dress and not have to deal with making sleeves!

Last year I was on a pillowcase dress kick… It started with this little dress that I made for a friends baby.

I was happy with how it turned out but kept thinking that I could improve it.

The pillowcase dress is not new- it’s been around for years and years.  It got it’s name because it was very easy to take a already made pillowcase and with a few simple modifications you had a dress. Easy Peasy- no hemming involved.

Cutting out the arm holes

I’ve  experimented with the idea of a pillowcase dress, and tried to come up with a few fun varations…

-Making it shorter and turning it into a top: (this one is made from 2 fat quarters)

-Adding making the pillowcase dress out of tiers of fabric.

-and one of my favorite variations adding a waistband…

Adding the waist band to the basic dress was very easy… here’s how you do it:

This project works best out of a light weight cotton. (quilting weight would be fine, just not heavier than that)… Something like a sheet washed several times, or a voile fabric (it would be great out of the Anna Maria Horner Voiles or Velveteen’s). This particular fabric is a sheet set from Liberty of London from Pottery Barn kids, which is similar in weight to a voile fabric.

Before we get to the how to, here’s a helpful hint: Sheets make a great source of fabric especially for dresses! You can find them on clearance easily (like I did with the sheet I used to make this dress) and you get a lot of fabric.  Most sheets turn soft and buttery after they are washed a few times making them perfect for Summer Dresses.

This tutorial deals only  with adding the waistband to the pillowcase dress- to learn how to make a basic dress you can use the tutorial here:

In addition to the pillowcase dress fabric you will need:

2 yards ribbon (for the neck ties)
2″ strip of fabric long enough to go all the way around your dress. (this will hold the elastic waist). If you are not sure, cut 2 strips 2″ wide from 44″ fabric.
1/2″ wide elastic

After you have sewn your pillowcase dress. Take your 2″ wide piece of fabric and press it under 1/4″ on each long edge.

Measure down 1/3″ the length of your dress. For example if your dress is 30″ from neck to hem, measure 10″.

Place marks 10″ down and several spots to make sure your fabric strip is placed on straight.

After you have pinned it in place leave about 1″ overlap at each end (you are wrapping your 2″ wide piece of fabric all the way around the dress, like you would a belt). Leave the opening in the side seam.

Stitch in place close to both edges of your fabric strip. You are making a casing for your elastic.

Cut your elastic to the correct length (measure your child’s waist, then cut the elastic the same size).

Feed the elastic thorough. Stitch ends of elastic together.

To close the opening. Fold under the raw edge of the fabric 1/2″ . Lay over the top of elastic and stitch closed where pins are.

To finish up, simply thread ribbon through the neck and hem the dress!

Thank you so much to Jen for having me as a guest today! I’ve enjoyed so much reading everyone’s Summer Sundress posts!