How to Make a Pillowcase Dress

We teamed up with Clothkits to create these beautiful and simple instructions to turn a simple pillowcases into a little dress. Spend a wet weekend or lazy Sunday afternoon creating a dress to help a child in need.

If you'd like to be sent a printable PDF then email or download it here. Also, we're really sorry, but we can't accept dresses made from white or pastel coloured fabric due to their practicality.

Thank you and happy sewing!

You Will Need:

Sewing machine


Housewife cotton pillowcase

Sharp scissors

Tape measure


2m of lovely double folded bias binding (1m for each arm)



What You Will Need to Make a Pillowcase Dress

Step 1

Turn your pillowcase inside out and hem to secure the flap of the pillowcase to the main case. Cut along the top (where it is sewed together, opposite the open end). This will become the top of the dress.

Making a Pillowcase Dress

Step 2

Choose which size you would like to make (all the size options can be found at the bottom of this post). Add 5cm on top for the hemming and elastic and evenly trim off any excess fabric at the top.

Step 3

To make the armholes, fold the pillowcase in half lengthways. Mark out your armholes with chalk. Measure by going 10cm down from the top and 5cm across and join. If you have a protractor this will make the perfect curve shape (if not, a plate should do the trick).

Making the Arm Holes for a Pillowcase Dress

Step 4

To make the casing for the elastic at the top of the dress, keep your pillowcase inside out and fold inwards by 1cm, press and then fold again.

Add Elastic to Your Pillowcase Dress

Step 5

Using your sewing machine edge stitch to make the casing secure. Attach a safety pin to your elastic and slide through the casing and gather to the required length. Stitch both ends securely and cut your elastic. Repeat on the back.

Sewing a Pillowcase Dress

Step 6

Choose some lovely fancy bias binding and cut to two 1m lengths, these will line the arm holes to stop fraying and make the ties for each shoulder of the dress. Pin the bias binding along the arm hole and stitch, leaving an equal amount extra at the top to tie over the shoulders.

Adding Ribbon Straps to Your Pillowcase Dress

Step 7

Fold the binding over and press, then stitch on the other side to finish the armhole. Continue stitching the whole length of the binding. Fold the ends of the binding neatly and stitch. Repeat on the back.

Adding Binding to Your Pillowcase dress

Step 8

Hem the bottom of your dress, using a double 1cm turn and topstitch. Now you can decorate, embellish, add pockets and have some fun making your pillowcase dress wonderful.

Once you're happy with your dress pop it in the wash, check your seams and send it on to us. We will pass them on to Little Dresses for Africa UK for shipment. Don't forget to pop in a note to tell us who you are. We'd love to say thank you.

Little Dresses For Africa
Secret Linen Store
Unit 5
Durban Business Centre
Durban Road
PO22 9FE

This project isn't just about sending dresses, it's about sending a child hope.

Share you dress with the world on social media so we can share too with the hashtag #mylittleslsdress.

A Pillowcase Dress for the Little Dresses for Africa Charity