Pillowcase Dresses

Pillowcase Dresses

Pillowcase Dresses


In the prior post, I wrote about our adventures in Ugly Quilting.  This is the sequel.  

By mid winter of our fourth quilting year, we had completed 250 homemade bedrolls, and were all feeling the need to shake things up a bit. What other creative project could we take on within our little circle of friends that would truly help people? A brainstorming session amongst us yielded an answer (thank you, Kim) that made me grin from ear-to-ear; we’d begin sewing clothing for girls in need. “Dress A Girl Around the World”* is an organization that provides easy-to-make pillowcase dresses for girls in Asia, Africa, Central America, and even parts of North America.

Now, to put my delight in context, you have to understand how much I’ve always wanted a daughter. My husband and I have been blessed with two wonderful, burly sons and, due to no fault of their own, neither of them look particularly good in cute little dresses.  That’s why I was truly tickled to hear about this project. At long last I could dress not only one little girl, but hundreds of surrogate daughters!

Here are a few of my designs:


This is how my dresses began: a simple pillowcase with a few embellishments. The pocket is actually the pouch that the pillowcase was sold in.


Then I started playing with fabric remnants, and I’ve never looked back.


Even I admit that I got carried away here. The fabric store was selling pre-cut quilting squares, so I bought a bunch and patched together a very different kind of dress.


I’m thinking “Pebbles” with this one.


I bought some bandanas for $.99 each and fashioned some dresses out of them. This one is reversible: orange and purple in the front and yellow and purple in the back because, heck, if you only have one dress to your name, you should at least have a choice about which color to greet the world with each day.


These were fabrics from a friend’s quilt project for her daughter that lived in a plastic bag in a closet for years until her daughter outgrew them. Been there, done that!


Asian flair.


This dress may be impractical for a little girl who lives in dusty conditions, but the material was given to me by a toile-crazy friend, and I love it nonetheless.


I wonder w(hoo) is going to get this dress. Okay, owl stop with the bad puns.


The upper half is a girl’s tee, the bottom is all hot pink, zebra print silliness.


The “Watermelon” dress


I love these colors together. Greens, purples and blues make me say, “AHHhhh . . .” Then again, this dress sort of looks like a cool-toned piece of candy corn. No?



Some of my dress-making friends and me, oh, and Sarah’s right eye.  (We haven’t quite perfected the selfie concept.) Gosh, I love these women!


I’ve had a ball creating unique dresses for these girls. Honestly, I’m a usually little obsessed with thinking about the next new design for the next new dress. After having seen photos of many of these dresses, a friend said that she always pictures a little girl with swinging braids and a big smile twirling around with joy in her new dress. It’s a sweet thought to consider as I sew.

It’s not all buttons and bows, however. In many cases, the dress each girl receives will be her first item of clothing ever. The girls live in abject poverty, and if there’s a choice to be made between food, shelter and clothing, food and shelter always win. Apparently when the girls are clothed in a nice dress compared to rags or nothing at all, it helps keep sexual predators at bay. A new dress sends a message that the child is looked after and cared for by someone, so back off. I can’t even begin to explain how sad I feel to think that an item of clothing is the difference between a girl being raped on the way to school or not, but since that’s the reality we’re dealing with, it’s time to get sewing!


Here are some of the girls who have received pillowcase dresses. Photo credit: sewlikemymom.com


And so our Friday circle-of-friends gatherings continue on, this time with a focus on girls in need. Hopefully one day, we’ll be able to visit a delivery destination and see the expressions on their faces as they receive their dresses. I’m sure the experience would be priceless!

* www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/




Written by Becky


  • Patty Rojek says:

    Absolutey Love this! What a great way to spend time with friends and give to those in need

    • Becky says:

      Thanks, Patty! It’s a win/win, really. The girls get the clothing they desperately need, and we have a ball while making them.

  • Al Dyon says:

    Warren: You and Karen are inspirational. Your giving is unending and total. I hope your condition improves . There is a special place for you. Regards, Al Dyon

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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