Pillowcase Pencil Skirt Tutorial




Introduction: Pillowcase Pencil Skirt Tutorial

About: Brooklyn-based DIY from a gal in granny glasses. Likes: Sewing, crafting, DIY, crochet, embroidery, vegan goodness, beer. I blog at http://www.thezenofmaking.com

Check it out, ladies: a pillowcase that you can totally wear to the office!

* 1 pillowcase
* 1 zipper (7" or 9")

* Sewing machine (You can also sew by hand.)
* Seam ripper
* Straight pins
* Fabric scissors or rotary cutter
* Fabric pencil/tailor chalk
* Measuring tape/ruler
* Iron

Step 1: Prepare Pillowcase

Iron your pillowcase flat. Cut off the finished (open) end just below the seam. You will use this piece to create the waistband later.

Step 2: Zipper Opening

Center the seam at the back, and press the pillowcase. Open the back seam from the top, creating a space long enough to fit your zipper.

At this point, to avoid unraveling the rest of the back seam, you should stitch a few times back and forth over the bottom of the opening you just made to secure any loose threads. (You can see my stitches in the photo below.)

Note: If your pillowcase has two side seams, you can insert the zipper in either of the sides instead of the back.

Step 3: Press Zipper Opening

Before laying the zipper in place, turn skirt inside out and fold back the unfinished edges of the opening about ¼" and press.

Step 4: Place Zipper

Lay the zipper in place, taking care to center it in the opening. (Please excuse the magical color-changing zipper. I was working on 2 skirts at the same time.)

Step 5: Pin Zipper

Pin the zipper into place.

Step 6: Sew Zipper

Stitch around the edge of the zipper, securing it in place.

Step 7: Press Skirt

Turn skirt right side out, centering the zipper in the back, and press.

Step 8: Mark Center

Find the center of the top of the skirt and mark it.

Step 9: Pin Darts

Either using a dress form or yourself (with a steady-handed friend to help pin), dart the front and the back of the skirt to make the waist the correct size and the skirt the correct shape.

Take care that the darts are evenly spaced from the center, and that they are angled slightly out to follow the natural curve of your body. In the front, place the darts farther from the center, towards your hips. In the back, place them closer to the zipper. For a flattering fit, the dart placement is very important, so start over again if you don't get it right the first time (it took me more than a few tries).

Step 10: Mark Darts

Remove the skirt from the dress form and turn it inside out. Place a vertical pin at the top of each dart, then use a ruler to draw a line about 8" long from the pin to the folded edge of the dart. (Don't let them intimidate you—darts are nothing more than pinched together flaps of material.) Repeat this process for all 4 darts.

Step 11: Pin Dart Lines

Pin along the line for each dart.

Step 12: Sew Darts

Sew each dart in place along the line you drew in step 10.

Step 13: Cut Waistband

With the darts in place, it's time to add the waistband. Cut the finished seam off of the material that you set aside in step 1, creating a long strip of fabric. Cut the bottom off of the strip, leaving ¾" of fabric. (Remember, the strip is folded in half at the center, so you really have a 1½" wide strip of fabric.)

Step 14: Press Waistband

Fold the unfinished edges in ¼" towards the center fold, and press into place.

Step 15: Cut Waistband to Size

Measure around the waist of the skirt. Cut the waistband strip to size, leaving an extra ¼" on each side to finish the ends. Fold each end under ¼", then fold in half and press.

Step 16: Position Waistband

Starting on one side of the zipper, line up the folded end of the waistband with the edge of the zipper opening and pin into place.

Step 17: Pin Waistband

Pin the rest of the waistband into place around the skirt.

Step 18: Sew Waistband

Stitch down the edges and around the waistband to secure it in place.

Step 19: Hem Skirt

Hem the bottom to length, folding the unfinished edges under and pressing into place.

Step 20: Sew Hem

Stitch around the top fold of the hem, finishing the edges.

Step 21: Finished Skirt

You're done!

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    8 years ago

    It would be great if I could find a pillow case that was made out of stretchy material, maybe jersey? What do you think?


    8 years ago

    i think it's cool and clever and ur pretty


    8 years ago on Step 21

    love it!!!!!!!!! Gotta make it!!!!!!!!!!!


    11 years ago on Step 21

    So cute!!! I am sick of making pillow cases for children that are not even mine. Now I can make my own skits and knee length pencil skirts are my fav. :)

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    11 years ago on Introduction

    On one of the PBS sewing shows, there was a guest who makes dresses for little girls in Africa from pillow cases. Soooo cute.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    My wife does this through our church in Bethany, OK that takes the dresses to Swaziland. The last group of doctors and nurses went in March and took about 100 dresses she and bunches of other women made. They have about 125 that are half-done and hope to send about 300 in August. A pillow case can easily be made into a little dress and so many in Africa have so little.

    OperationDressUp.com if anyone is interested.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I really want to invole students and myself, but the website doesn't help. No info about patterns and where to send finished skirts. Can you please give me more info?

    This is genius. I need to find some cool pillowcases now. I was wondering though, how tight is the skirt around the legs when you are walking around? If its a bit tight then I might just make it a little shorter. :)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    My pillowcase didn't have any stretch, so I didn't make it as fitted as a normal pencil skirt. It falls just above my knees, and doesn't restrict normal walking. (Mind you, I wouldn't try to run in it.)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea! This is one of those, "why didn't I think of that?!" sort of things.