This is by no means my own creation.  People have been making these dresses for probably as long as their have been pillowcases.  But, nevertheless, I’d love to share this idea with you because you can create a cute dress for a toddler in less than 30 minutes.  This is a great, thrifty addition to your 2-4 year old Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!  Maybe even the 5-9 shoeboxes if you use a King sized pillowcase?

Let’s start with a simple diagram, and I will explain it in more detail below:


  1. Lay pillowcase flat on table with open edge closest to you.
  2. Cut off the top (closed short edge) of the pillowcase.  Judge how long you would like the dress before deciding how much to cut off.  The cut edge will be the top of the dress.
  3. Next, cut the arm holes 3-4 inches deep on each side of the pillowcase, at the cut edge.  The arm holes should be J-shaped.  See diagram above for clarification.
  4. Take the top cut edges and separately fold each side 1/4” down (towards the inside of dress), and then again another 3/4″ to create a finished edge.  It may help to iron these folds to help keep them in place.
  5. Stitch along the first folded edge to make a “tunnel” or casing.  Repeat this for both the front and back of dress.
  6. Now, there are 2 ways to finish the pillow case dress:Option A:  Take 2 long ribbons and insert one into each of the tunnels you created.  They will tie at the shoulders to hold up the dress (see photo).  Option B: Insert 6 inch elastic strips into the tunnels you created and sew ends of the tunnel closed.  This creates a stretchy neckline and eliminates possible choking hazards of ribbons.
  7. Seal off arm holes by closing with stitching on binding.  If you chose to use Option B above, leave about 10″ of excess binding on each end of the arm hold to tie together and use as dress straps.
  8. You may decorate the dress anyway you like.  A little rick rack sewn across the pillowcase seam is usually a cute and easy addition!

Let me know if you have any questions or need clarification!

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5 Responses to DIY: Pillowcase Dress

  1. Kay says:

    We need to make sure that the pillowcase is new.

  2. Jil says:

    We made pillowcase dresses and t-shirt dresses (cut the closed end of the pillowcase off, sew a matching t-shirt to it and you have a dress!) Look at DressAGirlaroundtheworld for patterns. We also cut up old towels and made washcloth mitts. Leftover pillowcase fabric makes a great mitt!

  3. Gina H. says:

    I love this idea! Thank you so much for the instructions!

  4. […] Pillowcase dress out of an actual pillowcase […]

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