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The Amazing Pillowcase Dress Sew~Along {Back Tie and Ruffles}

wow! I can’t believe it’s week 5 already. The summer is just flying by. We had fun making this dress today. We saw a similar dress in the quilt shop hop we did a few weeks ago and I knew I wanted to include a back tie dress in the sew~along. So we took the shirt out of the line up and put this one in. Because, really, any of these styles can be a shirt if you just make it short enough.


Pillowcase (or fabric)
Extra fabric for ruffle
7/8″ ribbon (optional)
Sewing machine
Safety Pin
Iron (optional)

1. Make your own “pillowcase” (if using an already made pillowcase skip this step)

Cut 2 rectangles to size. I made mine 22″ wide and 22″ long. Pin the two rectangles right sides together and sew the sides. I used a french seam like we did in week one.
2. Cut off fold of pillowcase
If you’re using a pillowcase you will need to cut off the folded area so that you have a tube. If you made your own “pillowcase” and you already have a tube then you are good to go…just skip this step.

3. Make lining

This is just what we did week 3 since the pillowcase was sheer. Since this is a pretty heavy fabric I’m only going to line the bodice (the top part). But you feel free to line the whole dress like we did before or not line the dress at all like the first week. Whatever works best for you is great however, you can’t do a back tie if you use the elastic version from week 2.
So, my lining measures 7″ long by 22″ wide. Sew the short ends together to make a tube the same width as your dress. I didn’t hem the lining I just did a zig zag on the edge since it’s just going down to the waist.

4. Make armholes

Fold your dress in half longways. I wanted this dress to have a more angled look for the arms so I cut a triangle instead of a “J” that we’ve done on the other dresses. On the seam side you’re going to go about 4″ in and about 5″ down.

5. Sew in lining

Turn the dress right side out and pin the lining to it. The lining will be wrong side out so that the patterned side of the fabric for the dress and the right side of the lining are touching.

Pin all around the armholes and front and back.
On the back of the dress find the center and mark an area that is about 2 1/2″ wide and about 5″ long and round it off. I used a ruler and a coffee mug to draw this. I also used a disappearing ink pen.

Stitch the entire area that you pinned. When you get to the markings you are going to stitch right on the lines.

After stitching the lining to the dress cut out the part on the back leaving about a 1/4 seam allowance.

Cut little notches in the curve on the back. This will help the curve lay flat.

Cut little notches in the armholes near the bottom of the “v”. This will help it lay nicely.

Turn the lining to the inside of the dress and iron. This is what the back should look like. See how the curve lays flat? That’s from the notches.

This is what the armholes should look like.
6. Make a casing for the ribbon
Fold down about 1 1/2″ of front (between the armholes) toward the inside of the dress. Iron if you want to and pin. Make sure that the casing is plenty wide for your ribbon.
Stitch along the edge.

Do the same for the 2 back sections.

Using a safety pin insert the ribbon into the casing starting at the hole in the back. If you’re not using ribbon you can make your own tie like we did week 4.

If you used a pillowcase you’re done! Unless of course you want to add some embellishments. If you didn’t use a pillowcase keep going.

7. Make the ruffle

Cut a piece of fabric that is 6″ by about 4 times the width of your dress. So for my dress I cut 2 rectangles that were 22″ wide so the my ruffle was 6″ by 88″. I sewed two pieces of fabric together to get them this long.
Once they are sewn together fold it long ways and iron a fold. So now your ruffle is 3″ by 88″ (or whatever you cut it to).

Now, open it back up and stitch the other side together. So now you have a tube that you can fold and it will be 3″ wide instead of 6″ wide.

Stitch two rows of basting stitches (remember not to back stitch on these) along the raw edges of the ruffle. Be careful not to cross the rows or double the starting or ending stitches. This is what we did for the waist in week 4.
Pull the stitches on one side to begin to gather the ruffle. Now pull the stitches on the other side of the ruffle to gather the other side of the ruffle.

Pin the ruffle to the bottom of the dress using your side seams as your guides and distribute the gathers evenly. This doesn’t have to be perfect you just don’t want one side to have lots of gathers and the other side to be straight.

Stitch the ruffle to the dress and then zig zag the raw edges.

Turn the ruffle down and making sure that the seam is against the dress topstitch the dress. Remember, topstitching is just sewing close to the edge. This will keep the seam from being bulky.

8. Enjoy

Esther’s getting the hang of this modeling stuff, don’t you think?

Here’s the back.

Let me know if I need to clarify anything.

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

Jessi Wohlwend

Friday 20th of July 2012

Way cute! I'm loving all of these dresses :-) Thanks for sharing this at The Fun In Functional!

Glo @ Off The Grid at -30

Tuesday 17th of July 2012

This is so cute! Please consider sharing on my first blog hop.


Wednesday 18th of July 2012

Thanks Glo, I'll check it out.

Rachel E.

Friday 13th of July 2012

Looks so simple to me. You must be having fun.


Wednesday 18th of July 2012

It was so simple and we are having fun. Esther is so funny with the dresses. I hadn't intended for her to get 6 new dresses but I think she might end up the the majority of them.