1. Find yourself a vintage pillowcase. It doesn't really have to be vintage to be perfectly honest, it's just that there are so very many pretty vintage bed linens in thrift stores across the globe... or maybe that's just around these parts. I don't know. In any case, I chose this very cute early 70's striped beauty. Mwah!
2. Lay it out flat so that the opening is at the bottom. (Do I have to add that disclaimer about sewing in a dungeon ergo the horrible lighting accumulating in horrible pictures? No? Phew.)
3. Fold your pillowcase in half the vertically. Take a romper - OR a tank and shorts that fit your child well - and fold it in half. Lay it on the folded pillowcase with the folded edges lined up. Hold the romper in place on the fold and with your other hand, stretch the romper out to the end of its elastic. Let go with the hand on the fold. Leave your romper this far away from the fold while you cut around it.
4. First, cut along that angle at the bottom against the fold there.
5. Cut along the other side. Cut up the arm hole area and across the top. Make sure to leave some seam allowance. Note that the bottom edge of the legs does not line up exactly. Totally ok. DON'T cut the bottom edge.
6. When you open it up, you'll have two of these.
Let's cut the rest of the pieces you'll need before we assemble it. You'll be using the scraps of the pillowcase and scraps from another coordinating pillowcase or sheet.
7. Cut a strip off along the top of the pillowcase - make sure you cut through both layers. You will want to cut through any seams so that although you make only four cuts...
8. you end up with two identical strips. They're about two inches wide and exactly as wide as one of the pieces of romper.
9. Now, iron both edges to the wrong side so they meet in the middle. Do this to both pieces.
14. Now cut two identical rectangles that are the length of the top of the romper and about 4.5 inches wide.
15. Fold the long edges in about 1/4 inch and iron. (look at the strip on the left)
16. Fold the short edges in about 1/4 inch, iron
17. and sew them down with a straight stitch.
18. Fold the strips in half with the wrong sides together and iron them.
19. Cut 4 identical rectangles from the coordinating sheet/pillowcase that are almost double the length from the top of the armhole to the bottom of the armhole and about two inches in width.
20. Fold the edges to the wrong side iron them down so they meet in the middle. Then fold the strips in half with the wrong sides together and iron again.
21. Lay out your romper. Lay your cut romper pieces next to it. Put a pin right where the waist line is, on both edges for both pieces.
22. You remember that long strip you cut, mine was green stripes? Pin the strip to the right side of the romper piece along where you marked the waistline.
23. Sew along one side of the strip,
24. Then along the other edge. Leave the middle open and unsewn.
25. Do the same thing to the other romper piece - pin the strip to the waistline, sew one edge, then the other.
26. When you're done, you'll have a casing on both sides of the romper.
28. See how the bottom of the leg holes on both romper pieces has this casing already in it?
29. About an inch (or a little less) down from the seam that's already sewn there, you'll want to sew a straight stitch right across. Do this to all four leg pieces.
30. See how you have a casing, a straight stitch, another small casing and a straight stitch? All the legs should look like this.
31. Take the small strips that you cut from coordinating fabric (the ones you iron into the middle, then ironed in half?) and sandwich them around the arm holes on both romper pieces. Pin them securely making sure that the romper fabric is definitely pinned in the middle.
32. Sew with a straight stitch along the arm hole curve. Do this to all four armholes on the two romper pieces.
Here's the part that makes it REALLY cute:
33. Take one of your ruffles. Pin the sewn edge to the top of the FRONT romper piece, about 2.5 inches down from the top. Adjust the ruffle as you pin so it fits across exactly. Fold the ends under when you pin them.
34. Sew this ruffle down with a straight stitch.
35. Pin the next ruffle so it overlaps the first one. Adjust the ruffle so it fits across exactly. Sew this one down with a straight stitch.
36. Pin the last ruffle right along the top edge - make sure it's overlapping the last ruffle. Sew along this ruffle with a straight stitch.
37. Take one of your two matching rectangles (the ones you ironed the long edges, then sewed the short edges, then ironed in half?). Sandwich one of them over the top edge of the ruffle front of the romper. Make sure the top of the ruffle is securely pinned in there. Sew across with a straight stitch. Make sure you sewed through BOTH sides of the strip sandwich (front and back). Not only did you cover up the raw edges of ruffle, but you also added a casing to the top!
38. Now, sandwich the other strip over the top of the back piece of the romper. (confession, I cut the strip a little two short, but this turned out to be a happy accident. I just added a tiny pleat in the middle of the back of the romper when I pinned on the strip for the casing, and I super like how it looks.) Sew straight across this strip sandwich, make sure the front and back are both sewn well.
It looks like this when you're all done.
Now you'll add your elastic pieces. It'll really start to look like a romper after this:
39. First, cut two very skinny pieces of elastic to about 2 inches shorter than HALF the size of the waist measurement. Feed them into the two waist casings on both the front and the back pieces of the romper. Use a safety pin.
40. While you are feeding it through, pin the end of the elastic to the romper when it reaches the opening of the casing.
41. After you pull it all the way across the casing and it pokes out the other side, pin this end to the romper as well. (Do this to both pieces)
42. Cut four skinny pieces of elastic to 2 inches shorter than HALF the measurement around the thigh. Feed one elastic piece through each of the SMALL casing openings in the legs.
43. Pin the ends of the elastic pieces to the romper, just as you did for the waist.
44. When you are all finished feeding in the elastic pieces, lay your front and back romper pieces right sides together. Pin up the sides.
45. Sew the sides together with a straight stitch. JUST the sides.
46. Turn your romper right side out. Almost done!
47. Cut a long piece of knit fabric that's about 2 inches wide.
48. Pull on the ends of your knit strip so that it curls into a kind of rope.
49. Use a safety pin to feed the strip through the top casings of your romper. Start on the back piece,
50. Then continue right around to the front casing and through it.
51. Tie a double knot in each end of the knit strip so it won't come out.
Ta da! Your typical pillowcase dress with a twist.
Layers of ruffles along the top front
small pleat in the back
Legs instead of a skirt
Large ruffle bottom on each leg
Single bow tied on one shoulder
(Can you guess what brand of diapers she's wearing? Ok, so it's a TINY bit see-through)
Perfect for freaking out about spiderwebs, being goofy,
One can never have enough ruffles, right?
Poor bug. Just hanging out by the rocks during the fashion show.
Oh, look. You can see the sucker bribe in these photos.
About the time she started trying to poke the camera with bigger and bigger sticks, we decided we should stop.
But she IS just about the cutest model I've ever worked with. Also, did you notice we made it through the whole photo op WITHOUT a major melt-down? Hooray!