Wearable Pillowcases

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rectangular or square pieces of fabric, known mostly as covers for fluffy pillows on which we rest our weary heads, and usually accompanied by matching bed sheets; the modest pillowcase.
The 1940's 'make do and mend' culture encouraged working class women to recycle textiles, and pillowcases were often used to sew into clothes such as white shorts.
We are lucky to live in a society today where we are not reliant on rations, however, much of our resourcefulness is non-existent as a result. Wouldn't it be great if we all continued with the make do and mend mentality of the 1940s, and used our existing textiles to make new, rather than throw away usable fabric.

Is it still possible for us to be resourceful with a pillowcase, in a throwaway culture that exists today? Can the humble pillowcase be made into a piece of clothing or accessory that we can wear with pride?  I think so!

I'll give you some examples:

A dragonfly top was my own first venture in transforming pillowcases into clothes:

More here
This inspired a second summer top, made from another thrifted floral pillowcase:

More here

You may or may not be familiar with a project called Dress A Girl (Around the World), a global campaign which encourages individuals with sewing machines to create dresses which are sent to underprivileged little girls, all over the world.  Each dress is based on an original dress design, usually made with a pillowcase.

Pam of Threading My Way, used pillowcases and a strip of curtain 
for her gorgeous little Dress A Girl project dresses:

More here

 Jillian aka the awesome ReFashionista made a dress for herself,
using a pillowcase from Goodwill:

More here

Pao of Project Minima made a Tunic from a King Size Pillowcase

More here

Debbie of On The Banks of Stony Creek,
made a summer top from a jersey pillowcase, which looks super comfy:

More here

Bag Again's Large Tote Bag is made from a re-purposed pillowcase

LargeTote Bag Repurposed Pillowcase Belt Strap Bag Again

Listed here

Picked Green's Vintage Inspired Full Apron is made using
upcycled geometric pattern pillowcases:

Vintage Inspired Full Apron Upcycled From Pink & Brown Geometric Print Pillowcases - Ready To Ship
Listed here

Mena made a sassy yellow pillowcase dress, based on an idea seen in a magazine she saw 20 years ago,
it took her less than 30 minutes to complete:


More here

A tutorial by Rain Blanken can be found on DIY fashion
how to make a skirt out of a pillowcase, her skirt includes cute little side ribbon ties.

More here

Thrift stores, opportunity shops, jumble sales or even our Mother's or Grandmother's linen closets (ask first before rummaging!) are often filled with good quality cotton pillowcases with pretty patterns, and intricate embroidery.  Maybe it's time we all start thinking about ways to restyle our pillowcases into fashion pieces, we can start a thrifty pillowcase fashion revolution!

Have you made a pillowcase fashion piece? If so, feel free to provide a link below, I'm sure we'd all love to see!



Caroline said...

This is an awesome post!!!

Charlie said...

I would need a couple of pillow cases, but wow, what amazing up-cycling ideas. Brilliant, each and every one. I'll have to check out pillow cases as well next time I am op-shopping!

Patti said...

Fabulous re-fashions, Erica. I esp love that tote bag, and will have to try one.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

Thanks so much for including the pillowcase dresses and for the link back, Erica. That tote bag is awesome!!!

sewing said...

Amazing up cycling ideas,the yellow dress is fabulous

Unknown said...

These are great! I love pillowcase refashions.

Helen @ Blue Eyed Beauty Blog said...

I made a shirt from a pillowcase this past weekend! I am getting ready to post it up on my blog in the next couple of days or at least this weekend!

Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

Ahka Vintage said...

I remember sewing my first pillow case in Home Ec. at school - never ever did it enter my mind to actually make clothes out of it!

Unknown said...

Oh my lord! What fabulous creations! And Erica, you're dragonfly number is to die for. Nice work! I really need to get myself up to speed with some basic sewing skills, I'm missing out on so much, not to mention the lovely pillow cases sittin in my closet that need some upcycling love! Kel x

Stacey said...

I love refashioning things out of pillowcases - and quilt covers are awesome too (so much fabric, so easy to sew). Your pillowcase tops are adorable!

Anonymous said...

I'm soon to start pillowcase pants too...

Enviro bags said...

Very nice wearable pillowcases. Lovely.

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