Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sewing: Double Layer Pillowcase Dresses (Tutorial)

Aesthetic Nest: Sewing: Double Layer Pillowcase Dresses (Tutorial)

Well, just when I thought I had our rhythm figured out around here, things changed. That is of course how it goes with home and family but this one has been more of a challenge, or I'm losing my edge! Tess has consolidated her naps (so young!) and it's only in the last week or so that I've managed to get Tess and Scarlett napping at the same time again--it's essential. Tess is also crawling all over, and loves to tackle our stairs. So far no falls but I feel like I spend her awake time, which is most of the time now, snatching her from near misses. I think it's the distraction of her two older sisters. It wasn't quite like this when there was only one baby or one baby and one toddler. Wears mommy out. Add to this the less structured summer schedule, and a new resolution to workout (why did I let that slip?!), and well, there isn't much else getting done! My friend Kari once wisely told me, "when you say 'yes' to something you are saying 'no' to something else." It's so true! I just have a hard time accepting it. But I'm working on it.

So enough with the excuses. I have actuallly been sewing up a storm. I am making four little flower girl dresses for the wedding of my brother-in-law. We're so excited! His bride-to-be has some beautiful things planned for the garden wedding including burlap, linen, and white flowers. After we spoke about it I thought it would be so great to veer from the traditional flower girl attire and do something in linen and creamy-white silk. I thought of pillowcase dresses. I love their silhouette--so simple and pure. Seemed the perfect thing for a summer garden wedding. She and the mother of the other flower girls agreed.

So I am doing them double-layer in this gorgeous natural linen (same fabric as this dress, actually) and silky white fabric (not silk--I am sometimes a bit more practical). I could have just banded the hem, but the double layers behave differently, prettily I think. I love this combination! I imagine the generous white bow looking so beautiful next to these little girls' faces. I think linen looks great crisp or wrinkled. And it is nice to have the full dress lined in something that should feel good to them.

Now I just hope these dresses look as beautiful on the girls as I've imagined. (Last night I was thinking it would have been a lot less risky to just buy some!) And I hope that the girls actually make it down the "aisle" in them! Anyone read Lily's Big Day?

If you are interested in a little tutorial on making a double-layer pillowcase dress click to read more. UPDATE: view photos of the flower girls in their dresses here.


NOTE: This tutorial builds on my tutorial for Patriotic Pillowcase Dresses.

  • Bottom layer fabric: two panels measuring 22" wide and your desired length (measure from just below the collar bone to where you'd like it to hit on the leg and add 3 1/2 inches) (I cut my size three bottom panel 25" long and my size five 29" long)
  • More of this bottom layer fabric to make a tie. My size three tie was cut 6"x64" and my size five 6"x74".
  • Top layer fabric: two panels measuring 22" wide and 3" shorter than your bottom layer.
  • 1/2" seam binding or a 1/2" ribbon--I used a double faced satin ribbon because it was easy and pretty

Follow the instructions on this tutorial for cutting the armholes and sewing together the side seams with french seams (such a nice way to finish!). You'll be making two separate dress pieces--the two layers. Then hem each layer. I did a larger hem on these because I wanted a dressier look for the wedding. First zigzag stitch the raw bottom edge (which makes it much easier to turn in my opinion), then turn it and stitch down 1/4", then turn again 1 1/2" and stitch down (I used a blind hem stitch).

Now insert your bottom layer inside your top layer with both pieces right side out. The wrong side of your top layer will be against the right side of your bottom layer.

Pin the layers together along the armholes, matching center seams.

Pin across the tops.

Baste together the layers along the armholes and top with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Now you have your double-layer and you can follow the rest of this tutorial (minus the hemming because you've already done it) to make the casing for your tie, sew the tie, and weave it through.

So many possibilities with two layers! Have fun!


  1. It's so beautiful! Thanks for sharing it, I'll try to do my first dress!

  2. absolutely gorgeous! I have made some pillowcase dresses in the past but now I think I will give the double layer version a go!