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Wannabe Tutorial of My Maternity Pillowcase Dress

June 22, 2011

Found this picture on Pintrest last week and it reminded me of how I’ve always wanted to make one of these dresses for my little girl someday.

Source: littlebiggirlstudio.blogspot.com via Debra on Pinterest

Then I thought “You know, with a nice stretchy knit fabric this would make a good maternity dress!”

I don’t really sew. Nothing more than pillows and rectangular curtain panels, that is.

But this, this I think I can do.

I was bitten by the bug and once I get an idea in my stubborn little head, it’s stuck until it’s done.

I have nothing to wear to bed anymore other than the Chief’s oversized t-shirts and they just don’t make me feel pretty. This pillowcase dress was going to be my new nightgown. That way if I messed it up too bad it wouldn’t really matter.

Here’s what I did to get this done in a couple of hours. (I thought it would only take an hour, but it ended up taking three.)

I took a trip the JoAnn Fabric clearance section and grabbed the only knit they had there. I got all of it. 1.75 yards. More than I needed but, I knew I’d make a mistake somewhere.

I didn’t have a pattern. I didn’t waste time washing the fabric.

I just wrapped it around me to get an idea of how much I would need, then laid it out on the floor to cut.

I used the whole stinkin’ thing figuring I’d make a gown-length dress then cut it where I really wanted it to fall.

With it folded in half I found that the crease from being on the bolt was a nice straight line, so I just used that as my guide.

I thought maybe I could get away without pinning, but this fabric was just too floppy and stretchy. Hey, I was just making a nightgown and I wanted to get it done before nap time was over. Don’t judge my sad sewing skills, I know I’m bad.

Continuing on the “wing it without a pattern” journey, I folded the fabric in half again and cut out some armholes, leaving plenty of room at the top for a pocket to thread the straps through. (I totally over cut this one…there was PLENTY of fabric to fold over for the pocket!)

And pin again.

Time to sew.

Right.

I need thread.

Didn’t think to buy that. Hopefully I have something close enough in my modest little sewing basket.

Score! That’ll do just fine, thank you!

Bobbin wound. Machine threaded. Time to sew it.

Hmmm…I’ve never sewn knit before. I wonder if there is some kind of trick to getting a stitch that won’t snap when it stretches?

I could Google it…or I could call my sewing-wiz mother who just so happens to be getting out of work about now.

“Mom? I’ve got a sewing question for you…”

So Mom told me that I should use a mediumish length stitch (she told me more precisely than that, but my memory isn’t so great) and that I should pull it a little as I feed it through. Not so much that it will bunch up after, but enough that when the fabric stretches it won’t pop the seam. She also told me that I really should use a ball-pointed needle so it would separate the knit threads and not pierce through them creating a run in the fabric.

I’m not sure if I mentioned or not that I was right in the middle of the project and NOT at the store. There was no way I was going back to the store for a needle. It’s just a nightgown after all! It won’t be a big deal if I get a run in the fabric. I just want something that’s not my husband’s T-shirt to wear to bed!

I knew I had some random things I acquired from my grandmother that I had just thrown into my trusty little basket. I ended up finding matching thread, who knows? Maybe there will be ball-point needles in there too!

So I walked over to my stash of stuff and…

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

There they were. A $0.59 package of ball-point needles purchased (marked down from $0.85) from who knows how long ago. Thanks, Baci!

Now I’m thinking, “Lord, you really do want me to have a nice nightgown, don’t you?”

Time to start sewing. Finally.

Ready. Set. Go. humma…humma….humma…humma…humma…

There, one side done, lickety split. “This is going to be done super fast!” I think to myself. “I’m going to make it before the children wake up!”

Or not.

Turns out I’m not an arm amputee. I actually do need HOLES where my arms go! Nuts!

I sewed the silly arm holes shut!

“Oh, seam ripper? Where are you?”

I took the next 20 minutes tearing out what took me about two minutes to put in. My thoughts went immediately to my husband and the frustrations he faced during certain parts of remodeling the basement.

“Yes, Lord. I know there’s a lesson in here for me too.”

Monkey woke up while I was still ripping that silly seam. He has never seen me use my sewing machine before and wanted to know EVERYTHING about it.

I tried my best to explain while I worked. He tried his best to keep his hands off the buttons.

I didn’t do such a great job of explaining nicely. He didn’t do such a great job of keeping his little monkey paws off my stuff.

I ended up with a couple of things that looked like this:

For some reason my machine kept eating my fabric or getting caught on something. I took the whole thing out, re-threaded the bobbin, checked the tension, got it fixed and kept going.

Bruiser woke up a few minutes later and the whole family was going to want to eat dinner in an hour. I was frustrated. It was time to stop.

After dinner, the Chief took the children outside to play so I could work in peace.

I had to work quickly and so I took no pictures. I figured after all my mistakes this wasn’t going to make a very good tutorial anyhow. Makes for a better adventure story. =)

Anyhow….I did it with no other major issues. I finished the job. I have some crooked seams, and it ended up being quite blousey even for a maternity dress, but I’ll tell you this:

IT IS SOOOO COMFORTABLE!!

(And it isn’t an old T-shirt!)

How nice that my bandana matches! Another coincidence.

When Monkey saw me wearing it the next morning, the very first thing he said to me was “Mommy, you look so pretty in your new pajamas!”

All that seam-ripping was worth it, just to have him say that to me. (The Chief agreed with Monkey’s statement).

Bud? What do you think about it?

Just what I thought you’d say…”no waistband = good in my book!”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 2:39 pm

    So cute….the dress and you in it ;o)

    • June 22, 2011 3:51 pm

      Thanks! And thanks for pinning the picture!
      I’m able to wear my own clothes at the hospital so I think I’m going to keep my eye out for a cute print and try again. The blousyness will make it easy for delivering a baby and the tie-straps are perfect for nursing access. Hopefully the second one will go quicker than the first!

  2. June 22, 2011 4:07 pm

    K just wore the one I made for her. They are pretty easy! I can’t wait to make more…you know, once I have a baby and have more “free time”. Ha! 🙂

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