This week we decided to pull out our rusty old sewing machine and whip up some pillowcase dresses for families in need. It has been a loooooong time since I’ve sewn anything, and I have to say – I LOVED this project. In fact, I got a wee bit obsessed and made not 1, not 2, but THREE different variations. It is literally that easy. Below are the instructions on both the basic and variations!
This project is to make some new, handmade, diy-loved clothes for kids in need. Read here about why this is important – and why this project is part of the one key solution to poverty eradication.
Let’s dive into that project and see what you’re going to need (note: Supply lists include affiliate links, which don’t cost you a dime but help our website keep running! If you like what we’re doing and want to support us, buy through our links!).
Accent Fabric (For Ruffles)
At-Home Materials: Scissors, Measuring Tape, Thread, and Sewing Machine
Step 2: Cut out armholes for your dress. I did 4 inches down and 2 inches across, but you can go here for specific size guides.
Step 4: Hem the top. For this one, I folded it twice and ironed down – that way you have a nice hem. Make sure you fold it over with a large enough pocket to hold your cord/ribbon, and make sure you fold it over to go inside the pillowcase!
Step 5: Turn the pillowcase back right side out and pull the cord/ribbon through the pocket. Hint: If this is hard to do, tie on a piece of yarn, put your crochet hook through the pocket, and pull the yarn (and hence the ribbon/cord) through. Easy trick I learned from my mom 😉
Step 6: Voila! You now have a pillowcase dress!! How awesome is that??? It looks amazing as is – honestly, this is the perfect gift to give a family in need. If you’d like, you can add a pop of color at the bottom by sewing on a simple strip of accent fabric. Make sure to include your Giving Card and tag @ainagiving on Instagram with your finished product!
Want to get a little fancy? Here are the variations that I adapted for this dress!
Variation #1: Ruffles
So I decided I wanted to add some ruffles to the dress because I had been gifted some amazing, amazing fabric from a friend from Angola. Inspired by this blog, I decided to try my hand at a ruffle up top and down below. Here’s the finished product:
Step 3: Fold them all over and sew the pocket. Your accent piece will create the top of the armholes.
Step 5: Cut a 6″x40″ strip of the accent fabric. Hem it on both sides and sew it along the bottom. Voila – the Ruffle Variation!
Variation #2: Pantsuit
Step 1: Fold your Dress in half and cut a 13″ slit up the middle from the bottom (this picture doesn’t have the accent fabric on the bottom, but you’ll want to do that part first!)
Step 2: Flip your dress inside out and hem up the slit that you just cut:
Flip it inside out and you’re done! Voila the Pantsuit Variation:
Variation #3: Onesie
Step 2: Cut a slit on the outside of pocket on the two legs that your just created. Thread your 20″ elastic ribbon through and tie off – and your onesie is done!
Once you’ve assembled any (or all – I actually made 6 separate outfits to send) of your Darling Dress variations, print off a Giving Card and send it off to the Good + Foundation – they’re an Aina-Approved organization that helps those families that are battling poverty (and now you can help them, too ;)). They have several different offices and sister organizations, so to find the address closest to you, check out these Good+ Addresses: Los Angeles, New York, and Other Cities.
These are SO FUN to make once you get the hang of it! So many colors, so many options. Share your creations with us on Instagram by tagging us @ainagiving and using #ChangeCrafters!
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Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.