leahkramer.com - thriftstore pillowcase skirt

do it yourself thriftstore pillowcase skirt

This is a really satisfying and instantly gratifying sewing project. Perks include: (1) it's almost all sewn for you, (2) you have an excuse to visit thriftstores (to look for great old pillowcases), (3) the materials are cheap, (4) the fabric in old thriftstore pillowcases is often nicely worn in and has a great feel to it.

Credits! These instruction are my own adaptation (for beginning seamstresses such as myself) of those found here: What you'll need:
  • standard pillowcase
  • sewing machine
  • scissors, iron, tailor's chalk, pins, etc.
  • fusible webbing
  • liquid no-fray solution

step one
Pick out a pillowcase. Speaking from experience, I recommend using a scratch pillowcase for your first attempt at this. Just in case you don't get it right the first time...

step two
Turn the pillowcase inside out and iron it. I've learned that it's a good idea to always iron your fabric before sewing.

step three
Mark off at least three inches from the top by chalking a line. You will cut this off and make the drawstring out of it. If you want a shorter skirt, you can mark off more. Just talk into account that the drawstring hem will take up about two inches.

step four
Cut he top off along the line that you chalked. I usually put some pins along the line I'm going to cut to make sure the two pieces of fabric stay together as they are cut.

step five
Chalk a line directly down the center (lengthwise) of the 3" piece you cut off, pin and cut along the line.

step six
Now trim off the two sewn edges (one long one, one short one) and you'll have two long pieces of fabric.

step seven
For each piece, fold in half lengthwise and iron all along the length.

step eight
Next, you'll stitch the drawstring pieces closed. (And then sew the two pieces together end to end to make one long drawstring). The drawstring pieces look wider than they need to be right now but this is just for ease of sewing. If you line the fabric up with the foot as shown, you'll pretty much be stitching a line right down the middle. You'll trim them to be nice and skinny later. This is a cheat I came up with because I have trouble with tiny hems.

step nine
To make the drawstring skinnier, carefully cut off the excess fabric all the way along each piece. I cut a few millimeters away from the stitching. Then apply the liquid no-fray solution all long the exposed edge so it doesn't fray. (A big bottle of Aleene's "Stop Fraying" from a craft store is pretty inexpensive.) Then hand-sew the two pieces together to make one long drawstring.

step ten
Now for the drawstring hem. Your pillowcase should still be inside out. Fold down once about 1/2" or 3/4" and iron down. I use pins when I do this to try and make sure I fold and iron down the same amount all the way around. Remove the pins and iron this down with fusible webbing.

step eleven
Fold down another 1/2" or 3/4" and iron to make a crisp edge.

step twelve
Sew all the way around as close to the edge as possible for a nice roomy casing for the drawstring. I highly recommend pinning or doing a quick basting so the fabric doesn't move around too much as you sew it.

step thirteen
Now turn the skirt inside out. Decide which part will be the front so you know where to put the drawstring opening. To make the opening I find the center of the front of the skirt, apply a little no-fray solution, and when it dries, cut a vertial slit. Then I hand-sew around the edges of the slit to strengthen it.

step fourteen
Then the drawstring can be threaded. To do this, attach a safety pin to one side of the drawstring and feed it all the way around. That's it!

Last updated Feb 01, 2004
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