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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Sewing Distractions of the Week

I have so many sewing (not to mention knitting and crochet) projects in the works yet I keep getting distracted by new patterns and fabrics.

For example, I recently received this pattern in the mail from an Instagram shop and cannot wait to try it out.

Butterick 6568 Sunsuit and Three Styles of Shorts

Butterick 6568 Sunsuit and Three Styles of Shorts

And then this gorgeous vintage floral fabric arrived in the mail from another shop which I’m planning on using for new criss cross ties.

Criss cross ties, you say?

I’ve been working on perfecting my patterns and have just begun selling the finished products in my etsy shop. I had  been meaning to make one (for years) to go with a 1960s Peter Pan collar dress I made a few years ago and once I had one finished I had to keep making them. I also ordered some pearl snaps and made them really slick. (Yes, I did just use the word slick.)

And THEN I found this on eBay and had to grab it up. Just look at that collar. Perfect for pairing with a retro print tie. It’s a bit of a momentary obsession, can’t ya tell?

Simplicity 8193 Dresses WITH AMAZING COLLARS

other (it’s been an uneventful week) exciting adventure this week was finally taking the time to learn how to blind hem by machine. Wow. I can’t believe it took me over ten years of sewing to learn something so easy and simple. So wonderful and such a time saver! I’ve so many skirts and dresses with hand sewn hems that are typically of questionable quality at best. Never. Again.

Blind Hem by Machine


My First Two-Piece Playsuit

I’ve been seeing the cutest retro print mini skirts paired with little crop tops lately. Like this set from Glitters For Dinner that I keep wishing I could afford.

Glitters For Dinner - Kendra Orange Floral Set
Glitters For Dinner – Kendra Orange Floral Set

I decided I had to own my own two-piece playsuit but for that dreamiest of dreams to come true, I would have to make it myself. Without a pattern. … I can sew pretty okay as long as you give me the pattern pieces and a set of instructions but I can personally vouch for the laughable nature of my attempts at free-handing a design. (Maybe I have some photos squirreled away and I can share those mutants someday.) So to get some ideas, I pulled out all of my patterns and realized I already owned everything I needed. Hoarding is for winners.

For the crop top, I used the bodice of a Built By Wendy shift dress from the Built By Wendy Dresses Book. Easy! And it is a pullover. Even easier! For the skirt, I found a super neat pattern from 1971. Apparently, I’d been hoarding this away for quite some time since I have no idea where it even came from but was perfect.

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 9332 Scooter Skirt and Tunic
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 9332 Scooter Skirt and Tunic

It’s not just a skirt, it’s a skort! I went with the view 2 skirt sans pocket and d-ring tab because I didn’t want to disrupt my crazy print. Overall, it was pretty easy to sew up (especially considering how cheap my rainbow cotton fabric was) and aside from the fact that I look like an adult, Rainbow Brite Color Kid cheerleader, I love it!