Repurposing Vintage Pillowcases

I’ve been running into quite a few vintage pillowcases while thrifting the past few months and I always end up bringing a few home with intentions of selling or re-purposing them. There’s some darling little girls’ dresses out there made from retro pillowcases but I rarely see anything nearly as cute that will fit me. (This is a recurring issue for me.) This week I decided to change that.

I’d been having a stare-down with this neat brown striped pillowcase for awhile and realized it was large enough to potentially make into a mini mini-dress. A very obvious made-from-a-pillowcase mini mini-dress but still a new handmade dress, nonetheless. I wanted to just cut right into it and get to sewing but I decided to slow down and actually trace the neck and arm holes using a pullover sheath dress pattern piece. This proved to be a very worthwhile approach as I didn’t have my usual “I should have taken my time and this wouldn’t have happened” breakdown moment a few minutes into ruining a perfectly good piece of fabric. Ultimately, I decided to cut off the brown hemmed opening and use it for pockets to avoid looking too much like a walking part of your bed and this pseudo-cap sleeve smock-top was born. (It also happens to match my brown pants so closely it looks like they belong together.) No longer a dress but I do see myself wearing this even more.

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My second victim was this great 1990s fish pillowcase that I had tried selling but to no avail. (Why somebody would pass this by, I do not know. Yet I guess I did buy it and immediately try to get rid of it so never mind.) I did try using it for its original purpose but my pillow is so flat and tiny it was swimming inside (pun equally intended and unintended.) I decided it was fated to become a skirt.

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I cut off the hemmed opening to use as my waistband/elastic casing and added gathers to the top of the skirt. I also got to use my new-found machine blind hemming skills (I still cannot get over how much time it saves me although I am now feeling a peculiar lack of X-Files in my life as I used to blind hem by hand with my buddy Netflix.) I think this skirt is going to get a lot of use this summer. I’m so glad I didn’t end up turning it into a curtain.

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