Crafty (& Handy) Parenting

Eleanor’s Pillowcase Dress

I checked another item off my 30 Before Thirty list last night! #8: Sew a dress for Eleanor. I made a pillowcase dress, following Jaime’s tutorial on Prudent Baby.

I made this dress for Eleanor.

I was going to make my own bias tape because Jacinda’s was so cute, but then I hesitated after realizing that it’s probably a huge pain to do without the proper doodad. Twitter confirmed my suspicions.

So I went with the brown bias tape that I already had on hand, and some Amy Butler fabric that I bought for curtains but never used. The dress took me three hours from start to finish, but that is because I am most definitely a novice when it comes to sewing. It would probably only take an hour and a half, maybe two hours, for someone with more experience.

I made this dress for Eleanor.

The dress turned out nicely though. It’s so sweet! I’ll probably swap out the long satin ribbon for something a little more practical, but it was pretty for these photos.

I made this dress for Eleanor.

I made this dress for Eleanor.

If you’d like to make a dress for a little girl but aren’t sure of your sewing abilities, I recommend making a pillowcase dress. The trickiest part was attaching the bias tape to the arm holes, but if you can handle that the rest is easy. And it’s so cute. I want to make a million more.

I made this dress for Eleanor.

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  • Reply
    Miss B
    August 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    So, so, so cute! I love it and Eleanor is perfect model for your dress. I want a grown-up version.

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    August 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous…both the dress and the baby!

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    shannon burch
    August 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Soooo cute!

    Love the brown & white curtain fabric on the window behind her. What is it?

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    August 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Very cute! It goes well with the dress

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    August 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Her dress is adorable! Beautiful job, Nicole!

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    August 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    So sweet! What CAN’T you do??

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    August 5, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I can’t wait for Jaime to see your adorable creation when she gets home from a biz trip tomorrow! I so agree on the bias tape, there is a great handmade business in selling bias tape in pretty prints.

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    August 5, 2010 at 1:24 am

    What a lovely little pillowcase dress! It’s so fun to sew for little ones. I’ve been doing a bunch of dress sewing lately, inspired by Japanese sewing books and online tutorials. I have to say, I do make my own bias tape without that doodad thingie and I think it’s very easy (I used the doodad thing too, and found it more tedious). The important thing is to have a nice hot iron and a water sprayer. I also have sharp scissors and fold the fabric over a few times so I’m cutting just a short piece and when it unfolds it’s long and even. Now that I do it all the time I am entranced by the possibilities and feel I can make more creative fabric mixing choices! It’s also a great way to use up scrap fabric.

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    August 5, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Very very very very very cute!
    It’s great to start with kids clothes to gain sewing experience and confidence… you really can’t go wrong! :)

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    August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Super cute! Great job!

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    August 5, 2010 at 7:56 am

    How cute is THIS! So adorable…she’s already more fashionable than I am and I’m 39….

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    Hells Bells
    August 5, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Very very cute, such a stylish girl!

    Just worth mentioning though that the ribbon around the neck might be a bit dangerous, there are a lot of regulations out there now advising against any kind of ties around childrens necks as there is risk of strangulation…Not very nice I know, but worth bearing in mind. Love the fabric though!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Bias tape isn’t as scary as it sounds. Here’s a good tutorial you should try and play around with when you have some extra time, because making your own gives you a lot more design options.

    My problem is not the time or desire to sew, but that I don’t have any cute little babies to make things for! I have a giant stash of adorable fabric I’m hoarding for my “future babies”…haha!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 8:55 am

    it’s adorable, you did such a great job. it looks like the perfect style dress for this super hot summer we’ve been having.

  • Reply
    Jessica J
    August 5, 2010 at 9:15 am

    What a cute dress! I’ve been wanting to learn to sew and tackle some easy projects, but I can’t even decide on a machine to buy. What kind of machine do you have?

    • Reply
      August 7, 2010 at 4:23 pm

      I second Jessica J’s question. I’m having trouble deciding on a beginner sewing machine and keep finding mixed reviews. Any advice?

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Such a cute cute dress! I love the photo with the book.

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    August 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Congrats on marking another thing off your list! You inspired me to start my own list (I turn 30, 5 months from today!). My list is here and I even mentioned you as my inspriation and linked to your blog. Hope you’ll take a look! Good luck on the rest of your list!

  • Reply
    Nicole RJ
    August 5, 2010 at 10:27 am

    So, so cute! I’m on the hunt for some vintage pillow cases and crossing my fingers we’re having a little girl so I have someone to make the dresses for! *lol*

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    August 5, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Aww! She just gets cuter and cuter! She shows so much more of her personality as she gets older. Oh–and the dress is lovely.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 11:24 am

    So cute!
    I want to make some for my nieces. Could be a pretty christmas gift… Thank you!

  • Reply
    Michele C
    August 5, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I love to make bias tape. It’s a very calming job to do when I have lots on my brain but want to still be in the sewing room. Please consider contacting me if you would like custom bias tape made for your next project. You can either direct me to the fabric you want me to zip together or send me the fabric you have on hand.

    I have some ready-made tape you can check out in my 2nd etsy shop here: ttp://

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am


    I can sew… Just not in a straight line ;)

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    HEY!!!!! what a treat to get home from a trip and see this! your dress turned out sooo gorgeous!

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    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    this is SO CUTE!!!! I love the big brown ribbon!!!

  • Reply
    August 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Dress is adorable, but I also love the curtains. Did you purchase the fabric and make them or were you able to buy the curtains somewhere…most know!

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    August 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Good job! Looks really cute, love the fabric and your daughter is beautiful :)

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    August 6, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Would it be wrong to size this up and make it for, say, a 37 year old?

  • Reply
    Holyoke Home
    August 6, 2010 at 9:48 am


    Any little girl would look dreamy in that!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Such an adorable dress! Eleanor looks just like you, so cute! Great job.

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    August 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

    love-love-love-love-looooooooooooooooove it!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Cutsie pootsie adorable.

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    Sarah Litty
    August 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I want to know where you got the rosey cabinet knobs! I heart those…

  • Reply
    August 6, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    adorable. i love, love, love my two little boys, but projects like this do make me a little jealous ;)

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » Honor Roll (No. 13)
    August 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    […] I gave myself six months to finish 30 things before I turn Thirty on September 22, 2010. Here's the latest thing I've crossed off my list: Sew a dress for Eleanor. […]

  • Reply
    Shelly P.
    August 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    That is the cutest pillowcase dress I’ve ever seen! Great job sewing it:) Love reading about your 30 before 30, it’s inspiring!

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    August 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

    That is the most darling thing ever. So creative and unique.

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    August 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    that is so cute :D

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    August 7, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    She looks so cute in that dress! Yes, make many more!!! :)

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    August 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Several sellers have really cute custom bias tape on Etsy if you want to add some detail to future dresses without the headache of producing your own. :) Adorable dress on an adorable baby girl!

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    RookieMom Whitney
    August 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Oh my, it is so cute. And so is Eleanor.

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    Staci Edwards Design
    August 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    How darling!!

  • Reply
    Fifteendots » 베개 커버로 아이 원피스 만들기
    August 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    […] 자세한 글은 여기에. […]

  • Reply
    August 18, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    SO, SO cute!! Very inspiring, thank you. I will try this for my 3 yr old and purchase the bias tape! ;o)

  • Reply
    August 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I’m newly following your blog and I just had to pop in to say WoW. That dress is stunning. I find it hard to believe that you are a novice. :)

    Best wishes for the pregnancy–I had 2 under 2 for six months and as crazy as it was, it’s amazing. They are best friends. :)

  • Reply
    a pillowcase dress for sophia « Desert Homespun
    August 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    […] 30, 2010 by deserthomespun After seeing the pillowcase dress made here by Making it Lovely, and here at Prudent Baby, I decided it was time to make one for Sophia!  First, I made a pattern […]

  • Reply
    » Revisiting the 30 Before Thirty List Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so.
    November 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    […] 8. Sew a dress for Eleanor. (Done!) […]

  • Reply
    March 17, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    SELL these!! I’ve been following your site now for almost a year and LOVE every little sweet creative touch you add to your home and loved ones! GREAT JOB–seriously! sell them!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    This dress is adorable! I wish I could sew and that I had a little girl to make one for.

  • Reply
    Chloe @Ergo-Blog
    March 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

    What a little cutie!! Beautiful dress! =)

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