Tutorial Tuesdays: Pillowcase Top Remix: The Peasant Top

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Today’s tutorial is the Pillowcase Top Remix. There are a lot of pillowcase tops out there on the Net, but I wanted to see if I could break away from the traditional. I used a standard pillowcase (approx. 20 x 29 inches)  for this top which should work well for little girl sizes 6 to 10. Smaller sizes might find the amount of fabric too bulky and larger sizes will be too restricted in the sleeve area. Of course, you can forgo the pillowcase and use 2 smaller rectangles for smaller sizes or larger rectangles for larger sizes.

(This tutorial does not take into account bust measurements for adult sizes. Sorry.)

What you’ll need:

1 Standard Pillowcase

3/4 inch elastic for shoulders

1/4 inch elastic for sleeves

1 ½ inch bias tape for casing (I used 2 inch bias tape and cut it down to size)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the pillowcase’s dimensions, there are limitations to some of the measurements. I’ve made special note of those in the measurement section below. Take your measurements first to see if they will work with the pillowcase’s standard size.

You’ll also need the following measurements:

½ 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) **Note:  Your final number needs to be  7  inches or less in order to work with the pillowcase’s dimensions.

Sleeve length: Take ½ armscye measurement above and add 3 inches **Note: This should not exceed half of your pillowcase’s width.

Sleeve Elastic measurement: Take your child’s full upper arm measurement and subtract 1 inch.

Over shoulder elastic: Place the measuring tape about an inch below your child’s collar bone and measure straight up to the top of the shoulder. Multiply this number by 2. Subtract 3 inches. (Example. My daughters total over the shoulder measurement was 10 inches. I subtracted 3 inches to get an elastic measurement of  7 inches.



Working with the closed end of your pillowcase. Measure 10 inches  from pillowcase edge. Mark your point and draw a line parallel to pillow edge. Cut along this line.

Take the end that you just cut off and fold in half. Cut along the fold line. These will become your sleeves.

Two sides of your sleeve should still be closed. Cut open the shortest side.

(One of my sides measured 10¾” the other 10″. I cut the 10″ side open)

Your next step is to add a modified pleat to the sleeve. Taking the side that’s still folded, sew a seam 2½” from fold. Open your sleeve up. Open your pleat and iron flat. Stitch pleat down ¼” from edge.


Sleeve attachment.

Fold your pillowcase in half lengthwise. Measure 5 inches over from the fold and mark this point. Take your ½  armscye measurement from above and add 1 inch. Starting at your marked point measure diagonally (away from folded side) until the end of your measurement meets the open side of your pillowcase. Draw a line here. Cut.


Open your pillowcase up with front halves facing and back halves facing. Sew 3″ from folds to create front and back pleats. Make sure that pleat are no longer than 1″ above base of armhole.

Lay out your pillowcase top with the front side facing up. Open and iron flat the front and back pleats. Stitch pleat to top (¼ inch from top edge). Repeat on back side.

Finish the front and back top edge with bias tape.

**NOTE: Your elastic will be placed into the shoulder casings of your sleeves before attaching.

Create an elastic casing with your bias tape on one edge (long side) of your sleeve. Make sure your casing is wide enough to house your ¾” elastic. Thread your elastic through until it is approx. ½” from edge of case opening making sure that the  opposite end of your elastic remains outside of casing. Stitch in place. Carefully slide opposite end of elastic into casing until it is also ½” from edge. Stitch in place. Do this for both sleeves.

Attaching sleeves to front side of top:

With right sides facing, align and pin top edges (casing side up) of sleeve with sleeve edge of top. Sew together ( ½” from edge). Iron seams flat.

Attaching sleeves to back side of top:

Turn top inside out. Again, attach right side of sleeve to right side of top. Pin. Sew ½” from edge — this time sewing all the way down to sleeve edge. Iron seams.

Sew ½” hem at the base of your sleeves (I did not use bias tape here) leaving enough space open to insert your ¼ elastic. Once your elastic is inserted, close your casing and turn right side out.  That’s it! Attach some buttons, ruffles, or bows and you’re all done!


Play around with the size of your front and back modified pleats. The larger you make them the more square your neckline becomes. The smaller you make them the more relaxed the neckline becomes. In the pictures above my orange polka dot top had the larger pleat with the more narrow neckline.

You also have wiggle room (smile) with the sleeve width. I suggested cutting off 10 inches, but you can cut off less and forgo the pleat, or keep the pleat for a less puffy sleeve.(I would not recommend cutting off more than 10 inches).


Thanks for stopping by today. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Keep doin’ what you love!




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