Monday, February 9, 2009

Vintage Pillowcase Dress

I made this dress from a vintage pillowcase for my niece, Madelyn's, first birthday. The vintage pillowcase that I chose to use had hand-crocheted tatting on edge of the pillowcase.

The idea came from Sew Beautiful magazine. The article in the magazine wasn't really so much a pattern as it was instructions on how to a turn a vintage pillowcase into a dress.

I used a simple yoke dress pattern (Simplicity 9784), because all that was needed was the yoke front and back, yoke lining, and sleeves. The skirt was not cut from a pattern; instead I cut it from the pillowcase and no hemming was involved because the hand-tatted opening of the pillowcase became the bottom of the skirt.

Note: I wouldn't recommend using the Simplicity pattern that I used for this dress. When I bought the pattern I didn't realize that the buttons were in the front of the dress (and I needed them in the back) so I had to rework the pattern in order to use it for my project.

I spent many hours working on this dress not only because I had to make some of the pattern up as I went along but also because so many things had to be hand-sewed. I knew I wanted to add embroidery to the bodice of the dress; I learned to embroider as a kid but hadn't used that skill in many, many years and I had to brush up on some of my stitches.

I hand sewed all of the rose bullion trim which I added to the hem, sleeves, and collar of the dress. I also sewed a matching but narrower tatted edging to the sleeves and collar.

Because the pillowcase only provided a limited amount of material for the dress, I was trying to conserve as much of the fabric as possible. Therefore, I used other fabrics for the lining, pipping and trim. I also cut the collar from organdy and added an organdy strip to the sleeves. I used pink satin for the pipping placed between the skirt and bodice, and also as a band around the sleeves.

I did some reading on vintage clothing and learned that most vintage children's clothes had growth tucks sewed in them in order to maximize the wear of the clothing. So I added two growth tucks to the bottom of the skirt, and not only are they functional, I think they also add extra charm to the dress itself.

On the back of the dress I used two buttons and one hook and eye. I made a rosette from some of the pink satin and sewed it over the hook at the waist.

Overall, I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I really enjoyed making each part of it, and seeing it all come together. It will be even more fun to see it on my niece, when she grows into it.....maybe by this summer.


Hootie said...

Even prettier in person! Your pictures are gorgeous, but really, this is something when seen in person one can truly appreciate all your detail.

Can't wait to see your niece in this! I think this dress will certainly become a family heirloom.


Amanda said...

Absolutely precious! I'm so envious of your sewing skills.

Kelly said...

What a delightful surprise! I can't wait for Madelyn to get big enough to fit into it! I will definitely be taking pictures! (I'll have to find just the right location to make it extra special.)

Thank you so much, Kim! You did so much to make Madelyn's birthday special! We appreciate you!

Steph said...

It is just exquisite!

Mad Queen said...

Hurray, I got to see this masterpiece in person... wow it was gorgeous... glad you took upclose photos of the details... and kudos to you for using hand embroidery after so many years... the perfect touch!