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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Vintage Feedsack Pillowcase Dress-Tutorial

This is so, so cute! I used several different tutorials as guides and made this sweet little toddler-to-young-girl-sized dress/top. Check out the tutorial by Susan Peterson at Freshly Picked, March 27,2008.....full of links to others,too! Thanks, Susan!

This is an old feedsack from years and years ago. It held feed for chickens or other farm animals, or even flour or rice or something like that. If you look along the front of the pillowcase you can see where the string was pulled out to open the sack. You can also see where it faded along the fold, which is now the center of my dress. I hope it's not too noticeable. It's interesting that some of these feedsacks were made into designs perfect for using as pillowcases as is. I for one wouldn't mind buying something like dogfood in bright feedsacks! I haven't quilted in a long time, but I could be tempted to start back up,lol!
Now, how to make one for your own little girl :D You'll need:
1. a pillowcase or sew some fabric together into a tube
2. a sewing machine
3. elastic thread
4. embellishments, I used some vintage yellow rick-rack, and a ruffle cut from a white cotton nightgown

First I cut 4" off across the sewn end of the pillowcase. Cut those apart in the center to make 4 separate pieces. Fold them in half lengthwise and sew them together, and turn inside out, and press them nice and neat.

Now open up the pillowcase so the side seam is in the center back. Press it nice and neat, and fold down the top edge about 1/4" then fold over about 1 and 1/2" and press.

Wind some elastic thread onto an empty bobbin, not too loose, not too tight. Use a spool of thread that matches your pillowcase for the top stitching, or matches a color in the design. You'll be threading the machine normally; the only difference will be the bobbin. Just sew as usual If this is your first time to try elastic shirring, just use the color thread that matches your fabric.

Look on your machine and find the elastic shirring stitch. It will look like this...#9 on my machine.

For this dress, I left the top edge straight instead of cutting out armholes, so I just stitched straight across starting at the back seam. Make sure you begin and end with a few back stitches to hold your elastic in place! I'm going to make 7 rows of elastic shirring stitches, and use lavender thread to match the pillowcase, and these will show on top. Use the sewing machine foot as a guide to how far apart to space your stitches.

For the hem, I sewed the ruffle I cut off a white cotton nightgown to the bottom of the dress

Then I sewed down a single row of vintage yellow rick-rack over that. Sweet :D

Don't ask me how I got the hem photo upside down!

Decide where the shoulder ties should go and sew them down. At this point, you'll steam the elastic shirring. Steam will make the elastic pucker and! I don't trust using my iron for steam...too much I tossed the pillowcase dress in the dryer with some damp clothes.

Go make one!


vintagesue said...

so cute. i have a vintage sewing machine, so i would have to vary the top somehow w/out the shirring stitch if i try to make one, but yours turned out SO cute. love the lil ric rack at the bottom...
thanks for sharing

Kudzu said...

you can just cut out a little on the sides for armholes; hem it, and fold down the front and back for a casing. put some elastic in it, or use a wide ribbon threaded through the front, and the back, for your ties :D

AngelMc said...

i so want to make one of if i can just find the peddle (i guess that is what you call it) for my electric machine...mama's treadle machine is in storage...

The Japanese Redneck said...

Very good job. I don't think my old machine does that stitch.

Jean Tuthill said...

That's very cute, what a good idea. I am really getting back into sewing and this is a great project. Love it.