Answers for the Make-to-Learn contest: One day I was searching through a pile of old Tshirts and rags in my basement, and found a practically untouched sheet set, in the rag pile because of a doggy-defiled bottom sheet. So the pillowcase was good as new! I sewed it (on a sewing machine, but with some patience it could be hand-sewn) into an charming night dress. I was feeling pretty flexible, so the specifics of the project fluctuated slightly as I was making it, a solely make-at-home, lazy weekend type of project. I was surprised how open-ended it could be, so if I did it again, I would try switching up some of the specifics (i.e. hem length, shaping, buttons instead of elastic, etc.). I'm really proud of how easy it was to pull off, and I hope that other people think so too!
(This is my first instructable, so feedback would be greatly appreciated!)
Step 1: Materials
• Sewing scissors
• Elastic (optional but recommended) (I used 1/2 inch wide elastic)
• Iron (optional but recommended)
• Sewing machine with buttonhole maker (again, optional but recommended)
• Seam ripper (not pictured)
Step 2: Cutting for the Casing and Fitting
Cut off about a one-inch strip from the narrow edge of the pillowcase opposite from the hemmed opening, in order to create a tube. To adjust the length of the dress, vary the width of the cutoff edge.
If necessary, you can adjust the width of the dress by cutting a strip off of the long edge of the pillowcase and sewing the edge in closer.
Step 3: Casing Opening
IMPORTANT: If this is your first time making a buttonhole (or even if it's been awhile), try it on an extra scrap first!
Set your sewing machine to the first buttonhole setting (picture #1).
Attach the buttonhole foot (picture #2). If you're not sure how to do either of these, look in your sewing machine manual. Set the tension as directed in your machine manual; with mine, I used the zigzag stitch, and dialed back the tension, but every machine is different.
Starting with the buttonhole foot pulled all the way forward, with the needle right over the start of the pencil line you made, sew down one side of the buttonhole (#3), which was setting 6 on my machine. When you reach the end of the line, sew a few bar tack stitches (setting 7 on my machine), and sew back up the other side (picture #4), which was setting 8 on my machine. Sew a few more bar tack stitches (picture #5). Some newer machines will do this all automatically for you.
Next, remove the fabric from the machine, making sure to leave a generous length of thread behind. Using a pin or seam ripper, draw the extra thread through to the back of the fabric, and tie in a knot (picture #6). Trim.
Insert a pin right before one end of your buttonhole. Then, stick a seam ripper in the other edge and slowly rip the inside of the buttonhole, stopping before you get to the pin and the bar tack stitches on the other side (picture #7).
Celebrate, you've created a buttonhole! (picture #8)
For more buttonhole help, try here.
*If you don't have a buttonhole maker, make about a 3/4 in. slit parallel to the side seams, at the location marked earlier.
Step 4: Sewing the Casing
Step 5: Making the Elastic Drawstring
Place the elastic on top of one scrap of fabric, wrong side up, with the long side of the elastic perpendicular to the short edge of the fabric, overlapping about one inch (see picture #1). Fold one side of the fabric over the elastic, creasing the fabric all the way down through the strip of fabric (picture #2). Repeat with the other edge, so they overlap. Tuck part of the top edge under itself (without exposing the elastic) (picture #3) and then pin (#4).
With a zig-zag stitch, sew starting at where the elastic meets the fabric all the way to the edge of the fabric, through all thicknesses (#5 & #6).
Repeat for the opposite edge of the elastic.
(If using a shorter elastic, lengthen the scraps of fabric. If you aren't using elastic, cut one rectangle, 1.5 inches [about 4 cm] by the distance around your chest plus 20 inches [about 51 cm]. Fold the strip into thirds lengthwise, tucking part of the top flap under itself (about 1/4 in., or 3/4 cm), then pin and sew down the middle.)