Saturday 27 April 2013

My version of a Pillowcase (Kinda!) Nightgown ... Hannah's matching (but not) PJ's

As I mentioned in my last post, Bethany celebrated her 5th birthday with a Pyjama-themed party.  So of course, as Bethany got some new PJ's Hannah needed some too.  Now I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of the matchy-matchy-sisters-in-matching-outfits thing.  Well, I still don't love the idea of them wearing EXACTLY the same outfits, but there is something just a little bit cute about wearing coordinating outfits with matching elements.  Maybe this Mummy is just a massive nerd (actually, that's definitely true), or maybe this just fulfills Mummy's secret wish to have a sister (I have 2 brothers).  I dunno, but I just loved the idea of Hannah wearing matching (but not) PJ's to Bethany's party.  I also thought Hannah's cute little chubby legs and those soft squishy baby shoulders would look just adorable in a pillowcase-style dress ... and was I right or what!?!
My intention had been to make Bethany's PJ's (to ensure the birthday girl had her new PJ's), then do some internet searching to find an easy pillowcase dress tutorial.  Well in my usual style, my plans were a little ambitious compared with the actual time available, and I had literally an hour from start to finish to be able to get Hannah's outfit done.  No time for searching blogs for good tutorials (though I'm positive there are many better ones out there than this).  I had just enough time to wing it and pull this quicky off.  Here's how I did it:
I used:
- About 1/2 Metre / Yard of pink gingham fabric (I used yardage instead of an actual pillowcase), but there will be leftovers from this amount.
- 1 yard of lace
- 1 1/2 metres / yards pink ribbon
- Coordinating cotton
- Sewing Machine
- Overlocker (Serger) if you have one
- Cutting mat, scissors, rotary cutter and measuring tape

This made a nightgown to fit my petite little 15 month old.  You could always adjust the measurements of length and width to better fit your munchkin if you need a different size.

The How To:

1. Fold the fabric in half to make a rectangle measuring 8 inches wide (equals 16" when opened out), and 16 inches long, and cut 2 of these.

2. Cut an arc out of the top corner pieces of the rectangle (not the folded side) like so.  I just freehanded this arc, but it starts about 3" down the side of the rectangle, and ends about 2.5" in to the top edge of the rectangle.
3.  Place the cut rectangle directly on top of the other rectangle, and use the first as a guide to cut an identical arc on the other piece.
4.  Open out your rectangles like so, and place on top of each other.
5.  Sew down the side seams, and finish with an overlocker (serger) or zig-zag along the seam to stop the fabric from fraying.

6. Open out the seams, and overlock/ zig-zag around the arc (which is the arm hole), then turn under 1/4 inch and sew down.
7. Next overlock across the two straight top edges, then turn down 1 inch and sew abour 1/8 inch from the overlocked edge.
8. Sew a piece of lace (or ribbon/ric-rac/whatever takes your fancy) along the top to cover the row of stitching you just made.  At each end, simply take the lace around to the back, tuck under 1/4" and sew in place.

9. Overlock around the hemline of the nightgown, then tuck under a 1 inch hem, and sew around.  I didn't have enough lace left to put lace at the bottom as well, so I used some pink ribbon that matches the ribbon which will form the straps.  I think it looks cute too!

10.  Grab your ribbon and measure it along the top edge of the nightgown.  You want it to gather up the nightgown, but you also need some room for tying a bow, so cut 2 pieces of ribbon at the length of the top edge plus approximately 5 inches (Mine were about 17 inches long).

11.  Use a safety pin to thread the ribbon through each side of the dress.

12. Tie a bow in each end of the ribbons, joining the two pieces of ribbon together to make the sweet little straps.  You can gather the fabric onto the ribbon to make it easier to tie, and to get the cute gathered look in the nightgown.
13.  Once you have the front and backs of the nightgown gathered as much as you like to sit properly, I suggests making a little row of stitching across the ribbon where it exits the neckline casing at each of the 4 places, just to hold the ribbon in that position.  It stops the nightgown from un-gathering (not sure if that's a word, but we'll go with it!)  You can see from this photo that I hadn't done these extra little ribbon-holding stitches yet, and it kinda just looks like a square piece of fabric.

See how much cuter and dress-like with this little bit of additional stitching.

Oh, love that little rice-farmer squat! 
Anyway, enough gushing about my cute tiny person!!  

So, both my girls have nice new summer PJ's.  Pity it's starting to get cold here now... might just have to find a winter PJ pattern now!  Oh, and stay-tuned for my how-to on hosting a kids PJ themed party.