Vintage Pillowcase Skirt Tutorial
In the Spring and Summer months my little daughter almost exclusively wants to wear skirts. She loves them over shorts at the park, she loves them at home, she loves them at church. If I want to sew her something new, I really can’t go wrong with a pretty skirt!
I recently picked up some vintage pillowcases from an estate sale and realized that summer skirts are the perfect way to repurpose these old beauties. With the existing seams and hem, this Pillowcase Skirt really takes hardly any time at all and is the perfect sewing project for beginners (or busy women who want a quick but satisfying project).
For this project you’ll need:
- One pillowcase
- Matching thread
- 3/4″ wide elastic (measure around the child’s waist, then add 1 inch to that measurement and that’s the amount of elastic you need).
- Safety pin
- Sewing machine
The skirt you see in these pictures is somewhere between the sizes 2 and 4. Sizing in this tutorial is based on the child’s waist measurement and is completely customizable.
Before you begin, iron your pillowcase. Believe me, it’s much easier to cut a straight, clean line without creases in your fabric and the whole project will be the better for it.
Using a measuring tape, measure from the child’s waist to her knee (or wherever you want the skirt hem to hit). Add 1.5 inches to this measurement. The measurements for my skirt went like this:
- Waist to knee = 12 inches
- 12 inches + 1.5 inches = 13.5 inches
Measure up from the hem of the pillowcase and cut across the pillowcase in a straight, clean line. I used a rotary cutter and clear acrylic ruler (see the photo below). These are both available at your local fabric and craft shops. If you don’t have these supplies, you can draw a line across the fabric and use a pair of fabric sheers (scissors) to cut across the pillowcase.
If your pillowcase has a scratchy tag in the side seam like mine, you can cut it off. (My daughter would NOT appreciate a tag tickling her leg).
Use a hot iron to press the side seam towards the BACK of the skirt.
You should now have something that looks like this:
Fold the top edge of your skirt under 1/4 inch and press well along the full length.
Now fold it under again, this time one inch, and press well along the full length.
This will become the casing for your elastic.
You can pin this folded edge in place if you’d like, but I’ve found that I’m usually able to hold the crease in place with my fingers while I sew. Therefore, I only use two pins in the center back of my skirt. Find the center point of the skirt’s back side and place two pins, two inches apart:
Starting at one pin, sew with your needle only 1/8 of an inch from the folded edge. Use a straight stitch and backstitch at the beginning and end. Stop stitching when you come to the other pin.
You now have a casing for your elastic, with a 2-inch opening in the back for inserting the elastic.
Pull out your elastic.
Take the child’s waist measurement and add 1 inches to this number. Cut your elastic this length. (For instance, my daughter’s waist measurement is 20 inches + 1 inch = 21 inches of elastic).
Pin your safety pin to one end of the elastic.
Insert the safety pin into the opening in the back of the skirt.
Use a straight pin to secure the other end of the elastic to the skirt. This will keep it from being pulled into the casing, which (as you might already know) is so, so annoying.
Shift the safety pin all the way around the top of the skirt until it comes out the other end.
Pull on both ends of the elastic until they are free of the skirt by a couple of inches. Pin both ends together with the straight pin.
Back at your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch 1/2 of an inch from the elastic’s raw edge. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.
Open up the ends of the elastic and pin them down like this:
Stitch both ends down like you see in the photo below.
Push the elastic back into the fabric and pin the folded edge down into place.
Sew the opening closed with your machine, making sure to stitch 1/8 of an inch from the folded edge. (Make sure the elastic doesn’t get sewn down.)
Now, go try the Pillowcase Skirt on your little girl and watch her face light up! It’s perfect for these Spring and Summer days that are creeping our way. Thank you for reading, and please be sure to check out my blog, CailaMade, to see what else I’ve been sewing my little cuties.