Pillowcase Blouse DIY with Shirr Detail

The following tutorial is a repeat from my old blog.  Also, it should be acknowledged that my final product pictures totally suck here.  And that this particular blouse is long gone, which means it cannot be re-photographed, so you’re pretty much stuck with some cryptic half-pic of what this is supposed to look like.  Oh I’m just such a rascal.

Take a pillowcase.  Make sure it’s wider than you.  Trim off the open end if it’s too long.


The width is 19.5″ and the length is too long for me (I’m shorter than average).

Fold it lengthwise (the real lengthwise).  Cut out a neck hole and some sleeve holes.


Those sleeve holes are about 9″ long. The neckhole is half the width of the fabric when it’s folded in half.

Hem everything down and you’ll be left with this:



Which might be good enough for you lazy types, but if you shirr the waistline (and maybe the sleeves), you’ll go from “Meh” to “Meow!”

Shirring is when you sew some elastic thread into the underside of the fabric so that you get that cute stretchy gathered look.

You’ll have to hand wind the elastic thread around your bobbin spool.  And don’t stretch the elastic while you wrap, or you’ll wreck everything!


Can you tell that I photoshopped a mysterious red dot off my finger? It would never have been discovered by the naked eye alone, but from this close-up, it looked like leprosy.

Now, I was once told that you’re also supposed to loosen up the screw on the bobbin case so that the elastic thread can feed more easily through your machine.

However, when I tried that, it didn’t shirr at all.  So forget the screw on the bobbin case, and feel free to backhand anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.

With the outside of the pillowcase facing up (the elastic thread goes on the underside of the fabric because it’s ugly), sew a straight stitch along the bottom hem.

And after I sewed it all the way around, I just spiralled up and kept going.  I didn’t feel like wasting any elastic thread on backstitching –  this of course puts me at risk for a total unravelling if my elastic breaks at any future point, but whatever, I like to live dangerously.


Oh, and I measured the distance between stitch lines by using the sewing foot as a guideline. It’s slightly more than 1/4″

I ended up sewing about 7 rows of stitching to the waistline.  And then I decided to add 2 rows of shirred stitching to the armholes.


I also photoshopped the stubble from my armpits. That’s the closest I got to bathing and makeup yesterday.

Which should explain the excessive crop job on this pic. Don’t look at my messy room in the background.  Also: omg I was so tiny two years ago – since then, I quit waitressing to sew full time, quit smoking-ish, and gained another five pounds on top of all that just for fun.  The pro to that weight gain is that all of my old-lady-sagging issues seem to have been delayed somewhat.  The con is that none of my glorious old wardrobe fits me anymore.  I miss those jeans.