Friday 15 March 2013

... and Pillowcase Dresses for "Dress a Girl Around the World"

It's Red Nose Day! For those of you who don't know about this Red Nose Day happens here every 2 years and its an opportunity to fundraise and help change people's lives in the UK and Africa. You can read more about this here

We wanted to do something to help, that would also give us our crafting fix. The emphasis this year was on baking - we thought we'd try something that couldn't potentially kill someone - we are trying to improve people's lives after all!!!
Having seen this blog post by Sew Scrumptious, it inspired us to make our own Pillowcase Dresses for the charity Dress a Girl Around the World.  This is how Louise from Sew Scumptious describes it:

People who could sew were asked to make simple pillowcase dresses which were then delivered to girls living in poverty in the developing world. Girls in countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Haiti and India. The charity felt that every girl should own at least one pretty dress.
GOA, SOUTH AFRICA & KENYA from Sew Scrumptious Blogsite
Louise at Sew Scrumptious is the UK coordinator and is happy for those of us in the UK to send dresses to her to be able to distributed out. For more info or if you are outside of the UK, you can check it all out at Dress a Girl Around the World

We would like to state that we are in no way saying we are people who can sew; we are very enthusiastic amateurs though and like to tackle these thing head on! Armed with 2 pillowcases we decided to give it a go!
Although there are online instructions, we had also read about this idea in Jade Sims' book, Craft Hope and the instructions here were very clear and easy to follow. Using these instructions for a large child:
  • Measure approx 21" for the length of the dress (from the open end of the pillow case upwards)
  • Cut across the measured line - the cut end becomes the top of the dress
  • Cut a 'J' shape along each side of the cut edge.  Again using the instructions for a large child we made ours 3" wide and 4" long
  • (Optional:  Waste 20 minutes working out how you could use these cut out scraps as pockets, bags, hair accessories etc. Muck about for another 5 minutes pretending they are ears.)
  • Make elastic casings at the front and back of the top.  Insert and stitch in 6" of elastic
  • Complete the dress by binding the arms with the bias tape (30" on each side)
This was the first time either of us had used bias binding tape: when we bought it we had forgotten it would be folded in half and so went for a narrow width - which was very fiddly to work with and well, there was lots of swearing! We got through all of this with lots of tea and biscuits. And more swearing.
Of course we had to embellish our dresses with buttons! And seeing as though we both have large collections, we were able to find really special ones!
It was such a great feeling to have achieved these two dresses. We are going to host a party and invite our crafty friends to help us make more! We will need to stock up on tea and biscuits - they will only be allowed alcohol after they have completed their dresses... And then there will probably be lots of relieved drinking!!!


  1. They look great! I have plenty of pillow cases to donate :) B x

  2. What a fabulous post! Thanks so much for making dresses and blogging about them. I really appreciate it! xx

    1. Thank you! We really enjoyed making them & are hoping to make some more, so will send them over to you then. Thanks as well for sharing this on your facebook page :) x

  3. I made and shipped out 25 dresses. Some were pillowcase style but most were what DAG calls t-shirt pillowcase dresses. My sister and I shop sales for the t-shirts and I can make more dresses with the fabric I have been stashing.

    1. That's brilliant, it's such a great project. Really like the t-shirt style dresses as well - we may have to give that a go! x

  4. This is such a worthwhile project and there must be lots of pretty girls in their new dresses.
    Can I suggest that instead of using elastic that will deteriorate over time, just thread through soft fabric hemmed strips. The dress can then be let out as the child grows too. Happy sewing.

    1. Thanks Lydia, what a great idea to use some hemmed strips - thanks for the tip! x


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