Tutorial Tuesdays: Pillowcase Remix #2: The Halterneck


Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’m back this week with another pillowcase top remix! I’ve made it a personal challenge to see how many designs I can come up with using a pillowcase (Woo! :-)). This week’s tutorial is for The Halterneck. This pattern is adaptable to any child’s size up to a slim adult. Just remember that the width of your pillowcase will determine how the top drapes. If your child is particularly thin or tiny, you may have to narrow your pillowcase’s width by turning it inside out and sewing an inch or so down each side and trimming. This can also be used as a dress tutorial depending on your child’s height.

What you’ll need:

1 standard pillowcase (Or king size for a child’s dress)

Matching thread

Hook and eye (for neckband closure)


Armscye (armhole) length measurement. Using a child’s existing garment (of like fabric), measure around ½ of the armhole from top seam to base seam. If the top seam does not run across the top of the shoulder, measure the entire armhole and divide by 2). We want the armholes to fit snugly, so subtract 1 inch from this measurement to get your armhole measurement for the halter.

Top length – Measure from the collarbone to the desired length.

Neck circumference – Measure around the base of your child’ neck. (You’ll add 3 inches to this number for the neck band’s overlap.)

Neckline width – 1/2 of the neck circumference. (My child’s neck circumference is 11″, so my neckline width is 5.5″)

Step ONE (Top length)

Take your top length (plus 1/2″ seam allowance) and measure from the open end of your pillowcase. Cut the top (closed side) of your pillowcase off at this point and place to the side for later.

Step TWO (Armholes)

Fold the pillowcase in half lengthwise. To find the starting point for your armholes,  subtract your neckline width from the pillowcase’s width. Divide this number by 4. Measure this length from the open edge toward the center fold of the pillowcase. Mark your point. (My pillowcase width was 19 inches. I subtracted the neckline width of 5.5″ to get 13.5″. Divided by 4 to get 3.375. I rounded this number up to 3.5″)

Place the top of your ruler (or measuring tape) at your marked point and measure down your armscye length  (plus 1/2″ seam allowance) to the open end of your fabric. Draw your diagonal line here and cut through both layers of fabric.

Surge or zig zag the raw edges of your shoulder openings. Fold under 1/4″. Iron. Stitch this hem down close to edge.

Step THREE  (Neckline)

Sew 2 rows of gathering stitches at the top edge of each side of your halter.

Pull/Gather threads until neckline measures your neckline length on front and back

Step FOUR (Neckband)

Working with the closed end of the pillowcase that you cut off earlier, measure down 2 ¼ “. Cut the closed end of your pillowcase off at this point.

Your neckband length =  neck circumference plus 3” (plus 1/2 inch for  seam allowance). Cut your band to this length (cutting off one closed end only)

Open your band up and fold raw edge of short end under 1/4 “. Iron. Close band and top stitch this end closed (close to edge).

Both ends of your band should be closed now. Fold 1/4″ of your band’s open end under. Iron and stitch. (Do not close your band’s opening. Just stitch your 1/4″ hem down)

Open your band and place the front neckline about 1/2″ inside of your band flush with the right closed end. Pin in place through both layers of your band.

Open your top and lay flat on its side. (Your front halves should be facing and your back halves should be facing)

Open the rest of your band and slide the back of your top into the band about 1/2″ right next to the front of your top that’s already pinned. Pin the back of your top through both layers of  your band.Following your previous neckband stitching, attach your neckband to your shirt extending your stitches to the end of your neck band.

Have your child try on the top. Gently close the neckband (not tightly) with the longer end of the band concealed behind the front of the band and mark your points for where you’ll add your hook and eye. Attach your closures.

Optional: Attach a flower using my Easy Peasy Flower tutorial here. (I cut 4″ squares for this flower and opted not to sew a jewel or button.)


Keep doin’ what you love!



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