Monday, February 10, 2014

Vintage Pillowcase Top

Happy Monday! I've decided to blow off these winter blues with a sweet little spring/summer top made from a vintage pillowcase and a piece of pink stretchy knit while learning a new sewing technique! French seams :) They are oh so pretty and leave such a beautifully finished seam that I'm not sure why I haven't tried it sooner...oh right, fear of the unknown. But, as one of my resolutions is to conquer new sewing territory, I'm diving in!

The pillowcase is the same one I used for the ABCs. I decided to organize my stash and sewing area this weekend and as I did so, I pulled a few different pink knits and landed on the pale pink because it matched well and I don't really wear it. Again, trying new things here. So, let's begin! I cut two pieces of knit fabric using the measurement of my outer shoulders for width and from my shoulders down to a couple of inches below my bust for the length. Because I don't really "do" patterns, I'm just winging it using my body as a template (and crossing my fingers in hopes that I don't royally screw this up!). The pillow case was cut to the same width and length.

My next step was the sew the knit to my pillowcase creating a front and back. I put wrong sides together and sewed straight across, then top stitched over the knit and the seam allowance so that it would lay flat and not cause any weirdness. Then I trimmed off some excess and zigzagged the raw edges.

I laid my two pieces wrong sides together and pinned at each side where the two fabrics meet, lining them up so that they wouldn't be wonky as I put the shirt together. Now, because I am trying out french seams, I sewed my shoulder seams and side seams on the "outside" and tried it on to see what adjustments needed making.

I decided the only change I needed to make at this point was to give the sides more of a fitted shape, so I restitched on the outside making a curve. This image demonstrates what a french seam is and shows my next step, which was trim away the seam allowance, turn the top inside out, and finish off the seams.
Image courtesy of

This first pic shows the outside of the shoulder seam before turning the garment inside out. The second pic shows the side seam once I'd turned the top inside out and finished it off. Pretty, right! So nice and clean :)

With my seams all done, the next thing I tackled was the hem. I decided to give it a rounded hem making it just a couple of inches longer in the back. I also finished off the edges with a simple zigzag stitch in bright pink thread for a little extra detail.
Beginning to love the finishing of a garment and really taking pride in making the details nice and neat!

I think it is a success! It really is a very simple top to make and the perfect project to learn new techniques on. It is a basic taken up a notch, I feel, by the little extra touches here and there. I'm seeing this getting a LOT of wear this spring and summer :).

And the best part of all of this? I still have some pieces of the pillowcase left over!!! I'm thinking I'll customize a pair of cutoffs by adding patches to the pockets and hemming them with these leftovers...never to be worn as a matching set, however! I don't do that...pinky swear! AND I'll probably still have more left after that, so any ideas on what I could make with it? Do share :)

Oh, and I did finish off the neck and armholes, but forgot to get pics, then found this accidental shot that at least shows the neck:
Up close and personal?
And there you have it :) Hope you like this one! Let me know if you do...



  1. Super cute! My suggestion: Make a flower (or some other shape) from the vintage pillowcase and add to the top half of the shirt (perhaps on the shoulder) or to where the 2 fabrics come together to give it a little more flare Super cute and nice seams!

    I feel like "Nice seams!" should be a greeting between sewists or something. ;)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Terra :) I hear you on adding a little extra "something" to the top. I've considered creating bias tape from some of the leftovers to bind the armholes or making a pocket for the front (perhaps a heart-shape) but am not sure that I want to do either as I do like the simplicity of this one...I'm leaning towards doing something to the armholes, if I do something. I'd like to try styling it with some of my spring/summer wardrobe to get more of a feel of how I'll wear it, though. We'll see if this one gets an update later on! (BTW, on one of the FB pages where I shared it, one commenter said "It still looks like a pillowcase." Boo! Guess the simplicity doesn't appeal to everyone!)

      I, like you, feel that that would be a very appropriate greeting ;) Hahaha, funny, the things you start to notice as you get into detail work...

  2. Waw Andrea, this looks so lovely! What a gorgeous pillowcase that is. I still have a pillowcase lying around, and can't wait to try out making a top like this one. I especially like the rounded hem, and bravo for your french seams!

    1. Thank you very much, Elisse, I appreciate it :) Make sure to share if you make your own!!!