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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  • Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » 30 Before Thirty
    August 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm

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

  • Rhea (Greek Feaster)
    August 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    This is so professional-looking and cute to boot– bravo!

  • Mandy Ford
    August 4, 2010 at 12:38 pm


  • Krysta
    August 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Ok, that dress is SO cute. And your daughter! Oh my goodness she is the sweetest!

  • Christine
    August 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    SO cute! I’m a sewing novice like you and this I just might be able to tackle. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I love how she’s posing in front of the curtains, the fabric has been given new life!

  • julia
    August 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    That is so cute! I’d definitely bookmarking it for future (very far future!) use.

  • Emily
    August 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Great job! I’ve also been procrastinating making bias tape, b/c there are more things that need my time right now.

  • Jaime Runs
    August 4, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Oh good lord if that isn’t the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Great job on the sewing!

  • teresa
    August 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Oh my gosh, how adorable!! I absolutely love it (and the model is even more cute than the dress).

  • Kate
    August 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Really adorable! My mom made a ton of my clothes when I was little and those are definitely the pieces that have the best memories.

  • Kerry
    August 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Absolutely adorable little dress! Looks so cute on her – great work!

  • Your Mother
    August 4, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    So cute – and the dress is cute too. :)

  • Teresa Fairbank
    August 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    This is very cute! I LOVE making these dresses, they whip up so easily. :) I do make my own bias tape though, it’s not really that hard, it just takes a few minutes to get it all folded and ironed right….I like that I can match it to my fabric and it’s not so noticeable, ANYHOW, congratulations, you did a great job on this! ;)

  • Stacey
    August 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    She looks so cute, and I love the fabric. Great job, Nicole!

  • Alicia
    August 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    That turned out SO cute! “Making it Lovely” for sure! Much nicer than the pillowcase dresses I’ve been making, I may need to change it up and use this tutorial instead!

  • Melissa Irvin
    August 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    ADORABLE!! I can see this style in heavier fabric with a long sleeved shirt and leggings in the winter time! Eleanor is a great model. Good job, Momma!

  • Jill Marie
    August 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This is sooo adorable! my little girl is 10. I will have to pass this on to friends who have little-little girls!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen @ homeinthecountry
    August 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    So adorable – I love the fabric you used! I made a similar dress for my niece last week, but instead of sewing so that the ribbon ties around the neck, I sewed elastic at the top of each dress and then extended the bias tape under the arms so that they’d come up and over the shoulders and tie on both sides. I’m also a novice sewer, and it was so easy and fun… I’ll have to track down other little girls to make dresses for! :)

  • Tiffany
    August 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    i love the fabric! and yeah, bias tape. not so fun. i had a couple pillowcase dress tutorials that i thought you would be interested for next dress you make…
    pleated bow pillowcase dress:

    and the retro ruffle pillowcase dress:

  • lauren
    August 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    How cute!!! She’s such a sweetie!

  • Georgina
    August 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Totes Adorbs!!!! Well done :)

  • Jules
    August 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I just died from too much cute.

  • Ludmila {}
    August 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    So sweet! well done!

  • Gemma
    August 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Such a cute dress- love, love, love that print! That big shiny ribbon is just perfect!

    My 2 cents about the bias tape maker: for smaller projects such as this…do it by hand..if making binding for larger items, like baby blankets, quilts, etc – then splurge on the $8.00 for it. And use the ‘continuous’ method for making it, rather than piecing all those small lengths together :)

  • Melissa
    August 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Nice work – love the dress and your precious little girl.

  • RisaJ
    August 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    sooo cute! great job!

  • Wanderluster
    August 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    So cute. Is a coordinating dress for mommy in the works too? The fabric looks so great on Eleanor. She’s so blonde!

  • Kristen
    August 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    That dress is adorable! You did a great job!

  • Nick
    August 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Turned out really good! My wife made a pillow case dress for our daughter a while back…

    Then she made her a couple of reversible apron dresses…

    all while she was learning how to sew…

  • luuve
    August 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    oh my! one of my FAVORITE amy butler patterns..this dress is sooo cute..and eleanor makes even cuter! her little face is just soo precious!

    good job :)

  • Jen
    August 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    This is simply adorable! Makes me want a little girl even more, and I didn’t think that was quite possible… and it also kinda makes me wish I knew how to sew…


  • E. RaMona
    August 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm


  • Amanda Major
    August 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Do you remember the name of that fabric or know if it is still available. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’ll purchase the remainder from you if its enough to make curtains from!

  • Bermomma
    August 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Ha, I made my Button a pillow case dress as well. It was on my 30 before 30 list as well. Too fun! I love your pattern. I posted a few photo’s of the dress I made for my little one on m y blog if you are interested. After doing that project for my girl, I’ve become inspired and am now starting on some fun curtains for her room.

  • Stephanie
    August 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Adorable! I LOVE the fabric choice.

  • gina
    August 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    You are the most creative person! Everything you touch is adorable!! go girl!

  • Elizabeth
    August 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    That is beyond cute. It’s a smart shape for a girl’s dress- it’ll take her a while to grow out of it, and it would be easy to alter into a top if she did! You’re lucky to have such a photogenic little miss!

  • Alexis L., The Studioist
    August 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    So sweet. One of the best applications of Amy Butler I’ve seen.

  • Maggie
    August 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    SO adorable!1 I love the ribbon – such a sweet little touch!

  • Michelle
    August 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    super adorable. I just love it! I totally want to make a million of those dresses now!

  • Deana
    August 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    That fabric is so beautiful! the dress turned out really really well… Kudos to you!

  • Redlilocks {Swoon Worthy}
    August 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I’m about the least maternal person there is but my god, your little one is just so flippin cute with all her little expressions, I just want to EAT HER UP! Gorgeous dress, absolutely stunning little model! Such a cutie :)

  • Katrina
    August 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Oh how darling! If I had a little girl I would so MAKE this!!

  • Jamie
    August 4, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I love those curtains behind Eleanor (and of course her dress but don’t we all!). I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before and I just missed it but where did you get those curtains from?

    • Nick
      August 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm

      They’re from anthropologie…

  • Natalie
    August 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Awesome job – so cute!
    BTW, those rosey knobs are to die for! :)

  • Mercedes
    August 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    you inspire the hell out of me!

  • liz @ bon temps beignet
    August 4, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    oh my goodness. love the dress and the ‘side-eye pic!

  • jbhat
    August 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Good job. And she’s darn tootin’ cute too.

  • Stephanie
    August 4, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    The dress is beautiful!

  • Catherine
    August 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Gorgeous dress on your gorgeous girl! I’m so inspired!!

  • 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.

  • Terri
    August 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous…both the dress and the baby!

  • 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?

  • Lisa
    August 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Very cute! It goes well with the dress

  • Melissa
    August 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Her dress is adorable! Beautiful job, Nicole!

  • justme
    August 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    So sweet! What CAN’T you do??

  • Jacinda
    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.

  • Christine@OrigamiMommy
    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.

  • Jacinta
    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! :)

    August 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Super cute! Great job!

  • Jakki
    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….

  • 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!

  • kaelin
    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!

  • michelle
    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.

  • 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?

    • kristi
      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?

  • anne
    August 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

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

  • Valerie
    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!

  • 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*

  • Bonnie
    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.

  • Valentina
    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!

  • 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://

  • Sylvia
    August 5, 2010 at 11:38 am


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

  • jaime
    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!

  • Steph
    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

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

  • Stacy
    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!

  • Kristín
    August 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm

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

  • AbraCat
    August 6, 2010 at 5:44 am

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

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


    Any little girl would look dreamy in that!

  • Jill
    August 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

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

  • Amelia
    August 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

    love-love-love-love-looooooooooooooooove it!

  • Jessica
    August 6, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Cutsie pootsie adorable.

  • Sarah Litty
    August 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

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

  • maja
    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 ;)

  • 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. […]

  • 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!

  • Jessica
    August 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

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

  • Jenny
    August 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    that is so cute :D

  • Gwendolyn
    August 7, 2010 at 7:52 pm

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

  • Courtney
    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!

  • RookieMom Whitney
    August 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

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

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

    How darling!!

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

    […] 자세한 글은 여기에. […]

  • nicelle
    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)

  • Jody
    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. :)

  • 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 […]

  • » 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!) […]

  • Chrissy
    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!

  • eryn
    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.

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

    What a little cutie!! Beautiful dress! =)