Vintage Embroidered Pillow Case Shirt

This pretty little pillowcase has been lingering in my linen closet for years; very much neglected.
I liked it so much that I didn’t want to risk
ruining it…by using it.
Once I realized how crazy that logic was, I decided to put it to good use.
I mean, what’s next? Covering my couch in plastic?

I wear jeans with this cutesy little shirt because it hits me about mid-thigh.
It’s almost long enough to be a dress, but being an ORU graduate…I have been trained that ‘modest is hottest’.

Phew…had to get that out of my system….

Here’s what you’ll need for your own pillowcase shirt:
2 feet of 2”+ stiff lace-I added a decorative 1/4” lace on top of the 2” lace
Iron on hem tape-only if you add decorative lace as I did
Thread to match
Tape measure

First step: make sure your cat approves of the pillowcase. You can test this by allowing him to make a nest on the material.

Cut the seam from the end of the pillowcase.

Fold under and iron 1/4” on the cut end of the pillowcase.

Fold the 1/4” over 1” more and iron. This will be the top hem of your shirt. Sew that sucker in place, stitching as close to the bottom and to the top of the 1” of material-creating two seams.

I slipped the pillow case over my head and found that I had 9” of excess material around my chest. Starting from the front and center of my shirt, I divided the 9” of excess material into 7 equal pleats-one center pleat and three pleats on either side of center.
I pinned all of the pleats into place and ironed them flat.

I sewed on top of my old seams, making the pleats permanent.

Using an iron-on hem tape, I added a 1/4” decorative lace on top of my 2” lace, just for kicks and giggles.
Make sure your ironing board cover is absolutely disgusting like mine is.

These pretty little things will be the straps to my shirt.

Find center of your shirt, measuring out 4” on either side.
Find center of your straps and pin them at the 4” mark.
Do the same for the back of the shirt.

Following your old two seam lines, stitch your straps into place on the front and back of your shirt.

Sometimes, when I am really sassy, I’ll throw a belt around my shirt.
See what I mean about it almost being long enough to be a dress?
It’s just a little more thigh than I am comfortable with in public.
And sorry you had to see so much thigh.

Here’s the back of my cute shirt.
I have worn it mostly without a belt because I like the free and flowy feeling.
Also without a belt, I am able to gorge myself on chips and salsa. Or be pregnant with no one the wiser about my ‘condition’. Or smuggle in snacks to a dollar movie. Not that I I would do any of that.
But, it’s nice to know I have options.
Hope you like it!

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for the entire world. Deal with it.
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24 Responses to "Vintage Embroidered Pillow Case Shirt"

  1. marty says:

    REALLY like this idea. Thanks.

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  3. Penny says:

    I’m afraid I would need something larger than a pillow case, but I like the simplicity of it.

    • Donna says:

      I agree with Penny – but it looks so easy I’m thinking I might be able to find something similar at a thrift shop – for me – maybe a sheet! 😉 LOL!

      • Gail says:

        what about using two pillow cases? i’m not as small as i used to be either!

      • Judy P says:

        I also take old t-shirts, cut them off right below the bust, fold a sheet in 4ths, cut them up, take one of the 4th, sew a seam up one side, hem one end and gather the other to fit the t-shirt and sew it on. Makes a great comfy lounge dress.

    • Judy P says:

      Penny, I too would not fit into ONE pillow case, however I had a set of King size ones that I had bought on sale to use on my body pillow, but they didn’t match my sheet set after I got them home. They are kind of an olive color and have a nice pleated area around the hem. So, I am going to cut the hem off and spit the seam up one side of each of them, so them together and put elastic around the top along with the straps and have a comfy ‘house dress’ or even night gown. 🙂 I’m only 5′ tall so they are long enough for a dress!

  4. Shirley says:

    Adorable! I am going to look for a pillowcase right now! Thanks!

  5. Shirley says:

    Adorable! I am going to look for a pillowcase right now! Thanks!

  6. Chantini says:

    Absolutely love this idea and your sense of humour! It would also work with nice fabric that you might not have quite enough of to make a more conventional shirt but could make this style. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. nancy says:

    IT’s a tube of fabric, Gathered at bust line. So all you need it be large enough
    to go around hips/back side. Follow he rest of directions as shown.

  8. Maria says:

    Haha – I really like the idea and how you did and describe how you did it. Shall try one for spring/
    summer to come. However, I wonder what became of your sweet cat and where on the pillow case I have to put my kitty – it is black with a little white and I wonder whether he must be ironed flat :-))

    One important step already done: my iron board cover even looks more disgusting than yours 🙂

    I really love your humour. Thank you so much for sharing both – the idea and the humour

    • Rebekah says:

      I’m so glad you liked the pillow case tutorial! Sadly, Cowboy (the cat pictured) passed away-it was very hard for us! Biceps thought it best to get two kitties as soon as I could handle it emotionally. So, those two now fill our days with weirdness. 🙂

  9. Diane says:

    I don’t have any spare pillowcases, but I do have 2 cartons full of fabric I bought when I lived on Maui.I could improvise with one or more of them.

  10. Tracy Revalee says:

    The pattern is cute but you I love. A sassy ORu grad. Too funny. I’m following you ! Which sounds creepy, but I’m sure you’ll understand when I say I simply need all the humor I can get walking through this vale of tears. Ciao!

    • Rebekah says:

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad you liked the shirt and my weirdness. Are you also an ORU Grad? If so, my condolences…hehehheh.

  11. Iris Capo says:

    You had me at “First step: make sure your cat approves of the pillowcase. You can test this by allowing him to make a nest on the material.” What a great idea!!!
    My Mom, at 75, will love this. She still has grandma’s pillow cases that are just sitting, packed away. What a great idea to give to the grandkid’s!!!! (and me).

    • Rebekah says:

      I’m so into cats that it’s sometimes a little weird. I’m glad that you didn’t pre-judge me on this! Have fun making pillow case shirts-I just wore mine the other day to Bible study and received tons of compliments!

  12. love vintage roses says:

    i made a pillowcase shirt, similar, for a little girl. i cropped it so the end with the embroidery hit her belly button, but the idea is the same – to use that fabulous vintage stuff! i put elastic in the top casing. my ironing board cover is not as disgusting as yours…

  13. Pauline says:

    Hi there,
    I’ve been collecting up cycling patterns for a few years now as being an army wife, I have travelled with my husband and when we move to a new town or country, it’s hard sometimes to meet new friends straight away if we get a separate posting. I’m originally from beautiful Scotland and I also find your humour and projects uplifting and funny. I’m going to try this but unfortunately I don’t have vintage pillow slips ( if only I saw this when I lived in Germany as they have beautiful pillow slips , new but very vintage ) so I’m going to up cycle a shirt and skirt which have both got lovely material and bits of embroidery . I myself am a dog person and the thought of my British Bulldog or OCD Labradoodle dog testing the material to see if they like it ??? No no no no no way !! Lol xxxx

  14. Jaymie Pobanz says:

    I love the humor in this post. I too am amongst those that would be adding a little fabric, but I am a vintage linen collector and just love them. I am always wondering what to do with them. I am thinking I can find a pair of pillow cases and sew some extras in the sides. Even if I wear it as a nighty, it is just too cute to pass up. Thank you for your cutie little kitty too.

  15. Sam says:

    Old linens rock. If I were to make something like this, I’d have to account for the arms so the garment wouldn’t be rammed up my underarms. Just a little shaping. Higher in front, dipping below armpits, back up in back but not as high as in front. Super easy. If it’s uncomfortabe it drives me up the wall!

  16. Bekah says:

    Super cute!!! I’m not small enough to fit into a pillowcase, but maybe I can figure out how to make something similar with regular ole fabric. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂


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