I'm in love with the pillow dress. Not only is it easy to whip up, it's easy to change it up and make it your own. I found this tutorial a few weeks ago and was off and running (to the fabric store).
One of my nieces has a darling 3 year old that loves to wear her Minnie Mouse costume dress. It's getting a little worn, so I thought I'd make her a new one using the pillow dress as a base. She has a little sister that's one years old and I'm making a version for her too.
Here's what you need for the two dresses.
1 yard of main color (red with white polka dots)
1/2 yard of accent color (white on white micro dots)
1/2 yard of accent color (black with white micro dots)
ribbon for embellishment
dental floss (that'll come in handy for making the ruffle)
First step...wash all fabrics. This takes out the sizing and if your material is going to shrink (mine was cotton= shrink) you'll take care of that too.
Next you'll want to measure and cut your main fabric. My 3 year old great niece is on the tiny side, so I cut the length for her dress to 19 inches and her baby sister is average size, so I cut the length to 16 inches for her dress. If you have the child that you're making this for handy, hold up the material to her neckline and determine the length based on where you want the hem to hit her leg.
Long story short: cut length for dress 19 inches for 3 year old, 16 inches for 1 year old.
The next thing you're going to want to do is cut the armholes.
I did this by turning the material so the right sides (outside) are facing each other.
Draw your armholes. For the 3 year old dress, I made a mark at 2 inches in from the folded side and 5 inches down.
Important note: I didn't cut the folded edge. I figured it didn't make any sense to cut something and then sew it back together again. This is my first little twist to the average pillow dress pattern.
I used a small rule to draw my line from the top down 4 inches and then in from the side, 1 inch and then freestyle drew the curve to join the two straight lines.
The next step is also a cheater step. Fold this edge over to the other side and use this cut out as the pattern for the other side.
Next step, sew the seams. I know, I said seams, but there is only one raw edge. You do need to sew in one inch on the folded edge to keep the dress symmetrical. I made a french seam on the raw edge.
Okay, let's get that french seam in.
You need to turn your fabric so the wrong (inside) sides are facing. You're pretty outsides are facing out.
Sew a 1/4 inch seam down the raw edge side.
Turn the material so the right sides are facing.
Press...I can't stress this enough. I think I spend more time ironing than sewing when I'm making something.
Sew a 1/2 inch seam down this side. This seam will encase the 1/4 inch seam you just finished.
If you haven't sewn the 1 inch seam on the other side to make all sides equal, do that now.