Finish It Beautifully -No Lining Required

I am in the mood for spring to get here.  Really, it has been a mild winter so I shouldn't be so anxious but I am.  So, what to do but start on an easy springtime project.  My daughter loved the pillowcase dresses that the girls had last year.  I decided that would be a nice project for this weekend and I could use up some leftover fabrics too.  But last year's dresses were lined.  Surely there is an easier way to finish off those seams.  Well,  I have been using French seams on some of my little snack bags and pillowcases so I decided to try them out in finishing the pillowcase dress.  It worked and saved quite a bit of time as well.  Here is the littlest one's dress:


 First I'll cover creating a French seam in case anyone needs to know how to do these great little seams.

What you need to practice this:

Two rectangle of scrap fabric the same size.

Sewing Thread


What you do:

Place the two rectangles with the wrong sides together.

Sew a 1/4" seam down one side.

Open the fabric and press the seam open.

Fold the fabric with the right sides together and press the seam again.

Sew a 1/2" seam enclosing the raw edges of the first seam

The outside of the sewn fabric seam should look like this:

The inside of the sewn fabric seam should look like this:

So easy to do, so professional looking.

Now for the pillowcase dress.  I didn't use a pattern - just an old dress in the size I wanted to make so I could get the right length and armhole size.  But if you want one I am sure there are a number to chose from out there if you google it.

What you need (for a 24 month size)

1/2 yard cotton fabric (44" wide)Cut in half (18"X22" each piece)

5" strip of fabric for the border (44" wide) Cut in half (5" x 22" each piece)

2 yards 5/8" ribbon cut in half

Sewing Thread

Embroidery design if desired (you can download my appliqué flower here)

Medium weight tear away stabilizer

Embroidery thread

Scraps of fabric for the appliqué

Heat N Bond lite for the appliqué

Lapel Stick for the appliqué

Little trimmer scissors


What you do based on what I did:

1.  Layer the two fabric pieces wrong sides together.  Fold in half again so it is  18" X11".  From the top edge measure down 2" and place the shoulder of the dress you are using for a pattern( on the raw edge side).  Mark the armholes and cut them out. 


2.  Fold the edge of the armhole in 1/4" (toward the wrong side) and press.  Fold in another 1/4" and press.  Sew close to the open edge. ( Note: you might want to start at the top and pull a little as you iron around the curve to make it fit.) Repeat for the other 3 armhole sections.

3.  Fold the top edge of the neckline down 1/2" (toward the wrong side) and press.  Fold down another 1 1/2" and press.  Sew along the open pressed edge to create a casing for the ribbon.  Repeat for the other dress piece. 

4.  Embroider the appliqué design on the border.  Decide where the design will go.  (Using a template that you can print from Catalog Xpress or Alphabet Xpress is helpful.)  Hoop the tear away stabilizer.  Center the fabric and template in the hoop using the lapel stick to adhere the edges of the fabric well.  Embroider the design. (For instructions on embroidering appliqué designs go to this blog.) Remove the excess stabilizer.

5.  Here is where you begin to use your French seam.  Place the border top and dress bottom wrong sides together.    Sew a 1/4" seam.  Press the seam open.  Turn the fabric right sides together and press the seam again.  Now sew a 1/2" seam to enclose the first one.  Press the French seam down towards the border.  Repeat for the other side of the dress.

6.  Place the dress pieces wrong sides together matching up the border seam.  Sew from the bottom of the armhole to the bottom edge of the dress using a 1/4" seam.  Press the seam open.  Turn the dress so the right sides are together and press the seam again.  Now sew from under the armhole to the bottom edge using a 1/2" seam to enclose the first one.  Repeat for the other side of the dress.

7.  Turn up the bottom edge and hem as desired.

8.  Run the ribbon through the casings at the top and you have one pillowcase dress -ready for spring - no lining required.

Next time on one this small I think I will try folding the fabric so that I have only one seam up the back since it uses the 44" width of the fabric.  And  later today I think I'll make a shorter one as a top to go with a long sleeve T and leggings.

Here are a few more quick projects in case you missed them:

Embroidered Baby Ts for cool summer fun

Valentine Candy Wraps

Infant Easter Goodies

Quick wristlet Bag

Whether you are iching to start your spring projects or still working on the fall and winter ones have a good time with your craft.

Take care,


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