Oct 12, 2022
sewing, embroidery

Pirate Pillowcase Project

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Rrrrrrrrr ya ready to sew a pirate vest from a mere pillowcase? This project is so fun and easy! So rev up that sewing machine and let’s get started!




  1. Lay child’s t-shirt on top of pillowcase estimating the length that you want (I wanted to cut as little of the finished edge of the pillowcase off as possible. This is why I placed my shirt further down on the pillowcase. I wanted the vest to be a little longer than the shirt). Trace the outline of one shoulder seam and one side seam. Sketch in a ½” seam allowance above the shoulder seam marks. Also mark where the armholes are.
  2. Mark the center front and draw a line straight down. Also draw a straight line (just above the shoulder seam allowances) across where you will cut the excess top off of the closed end of the pillowcase. Cut the top of the pillowcase off and up the center front of the vest along your lines.
  3. Open the fabric out lining up the sides seams of the pillowcase (or sides of the pillowcase; some pillowcases do not have 2 side seams just line up a seam with the other side). Draw a curve for the front neckline from inside of should seam allowance down curving slightly to the center front. Also curve along the lower edge of the center front flaps of the vest (just estimate you can always change it later) making sure that it completely curves into the lower hemline of the pillowcase. The curve along the lower edge is important for use with the Bias Binder Foot. Cut along these curve lines on your center fronts.
  4. Next fold the pillowcase in half again along the side seams of the pillowcase (so center front and center back of pillowcase should be somewhat close to lined up). Cut out armhole and shoulder seam allowance. You don’t need to add seam allowance to the armhole as we are covering it with bias tape instead of sewing a seam with it.
  5. Flip both of your center fronts down so that you’re only working with the center back fold measure down about 1” from the center back fold and sketch in a slight curve up to the inside of the shoulder seam allowance. You do not need to add seam allowance to this neckline curve. Clip along this line.
  6. More than likely you’ll need to take in the sides a bit. If you are new to taking in my advice would be to safety pin the shoulder seams along the ½” seam allowance and try the unfinished vest on the child. Mark how much you need to take in. You might take in less than you think then try on child again taking in as needed. Your final shape should look similar to below. When trying on child this may also be a great time to check your front and back necklines and lower center front edge curves to see if they need any tweaking.
  7. Next place a small amount of bias tape into the Bias Binder Foot past the back of the foot and adjust foot to binding size (check the foot instructions for additional help). Then place the foot on your machine. Make sure the shorter side of the binding is facing up in the foot and that your needle is positioned to stitch just inside and along the top edge of the bias.
  8. Place fabric in the groove of the foot in between the 2 layers of bias folds and stitch in place. Continually open the bias to make sure that the fabric is pushed in to the fold of the bias. Side note: this foot is awesome! Bind the outer edge neckline and armholes following (and taking your time around) the curves. If you are new to this practice first to get the hang of it! No need to bind the shoulder allowances.
  9. Stitch and finish your shoulder seams (I ran mine through my serger with a 4-thread overlock stitch). Take in if needed.
  10. Finally apply your Jolly Roger (aka Skull and Crossbones) embroidery design or patch. The Glow-in-the dark thread is really cool for the embroidery design!! Your kiddo will love it!

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