Changing Lives One Little Dress at a Time: Transform it Tuesday

Transform it TuesdayOn Sunday, my church was decorated with dresses, made by the young girls in church, for a special project in their Wednesday night classes. They had taken pillowcases and transformed them into dresses for little girls in Africa. The dresses will be distributed through Little Dresses For Africa, a non-profit, Christian organization dedicated to changing lives one little dress at a time! The desire of the founder, Rachel O’Neill, is to send hope to these little girls to help them realize that they are worthy.

Little Dresses for Africa

Little Dresses for Africa

Making dresses from pillowcases has become popular (just do a quick search on Pinterest and you will find many posted), but actually the pattern dates back to pioneer days.

The girls at church have challenged the ladies to make as many as they did, or more dresses to send to Africa. So we decided to pass this project on to our In A Tickle readers and challenge you to join us in making a dress (or dresses!) You can use a pillowcase or make one from fabric you have on hand.

You can print off a pattern from Nancy’s Notions for making the dress. I will show you some pictures of the dress I made, which you can look at as you follow the pattern instructions.

Dress Tutorial1

Start with a pillowcase. Cut the seamed end off the top, leaving the hem at the bottom for the dress hem.

Dress Tutorial2

Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise and cut the armhole according to the size dress you are making. Fold the top edge (neck) down 1/4 inch and then 1/2 inch- It is helpful to press these folds with an iron. Stitch to make a casing for the elastic. Thread the elastic through the casing- be sure to stitch down the end before it disappears into the casing! Then stich the other end in place once your safety pin comes through the end of the casing.

Dress Tutorial3

The elastic in the casing gathers the dress neckline in the front and back. Fold the bias tape over the raw edges of the armhole and stich in place, leaving the extra length at each end for ties on the shoulders.

Now you can add extra decoration to the dress, if you want. I added a pocket with some lace and a border near the hem with fabric and lace to match the pocket. Then using left over bias tape, I added a bow to the pocket. Finished dress

Are you inspired to make some Little Dresses for Africa? Let us know you want to participate in the comments below, or you can email We need to have the dresses all collected and ready to ship by Mother’s Day.

4.16.13 Update: Melinda made a pillowcase dress and added a cute bow!Pillowcase Dress for Africa

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