How to Turn a Pillowcase Into a Skirt

It’s surprisingly easy.

Seeing as we’re gonna be up all night, we definitely won’t be needing our pillowcases for sleeping! So the only logical thing for us to do is transform them into skirts, right? Okay, so maybe that’s only logical to me—I have a thing for turning old bed linen into clothing. But still! This pillowcase skirt would be an excellent project to try out if you’re new to sewing or if you’re up late at night with nothing else to do. It’s quick and simple.

You’ll need:

  • a pillow case (I recommend checking out your local thrift shops. More often than not, thrift stores are packed with all sorts of rad vintage bedding that would make a unique and eye-catching skirt)
  • ½-inch wide elastic
  • a skirt that you already own that you like length-wise (we’ll be using this as a template for the hem)
  • scissors
  • tailor’s chalk
  • measuring tape
  • sewing pins
  • thread to match the pillowcase
  • sewing machine
  • fray check (you can find this at most fabric and craft stores)
  • a scallop pattern that you can download here. Print this out as a fit-to-page image with no borders.

Making the waistband

1. Take the elastic and wrap it around your waist (or wherever you want your skirt to sit) so that it’s snug. I like my skirts to have a slightly high waist so I placed and measured the elastic just under my natural waist. With tailor’s chalk, mark the points where the two ends of the elastic meet. Where you see my pointer finger at the top in this picture is where I marked mine:

Step 1: Measure your waist

2. Next, put the two ends with the waist measurement marks together and cut off all the excess elastic, leaving a ½-inch seam allowance. Run a double zigzag stitch over the waist measurement mark to close it, like so:

Step 2: Trim excess elastic and stitch ends together

3. After you’ve stitched up the side of the waistband, take a pin and mark the opposite end where the fold is:

Step 3: Mark end with pin

4. We’re gonna do the same thing in this step, too. Except this time, we’re going to fold the elastic so that the side seam on the waistband and the pin from the last step meet up in the middle. Take two more pins and stick them on either side of the elastic. My arrows below should help:

Step 4: More pins

5. Next, we’re gonna mark the pillowcase just as we did the waistband. Fold the pillowcase in half, lengthwise, with the side seams matching up as close as you can get them and place a pin in each corner on both sides of the pillowcase.

Step 5: Pin pillowcase

6. Unfold the pillowcase. After you get both your pillowcase and elastic waistband marked with pins they should look like this:

Step 6: Match the pins as shown

OK, so you’re probably looking at this and thinking “How the eff am I supposed to get that small loop of elastic to fit onto this huge pillowcase?” It’s not as difficult as it looks! The first thing you’re gonna need to do is match up all of the pins that you placed on the elastic band to the pins you put on the pillowcase. For example, the pin on the left-hand side of the waistband should be pinned in the same spot as the pin you stuck in the left-hand corner of the pillowcase. Hopefully, my totally professional arrow pointers will help to show you what I mean. It should look like this:

7. Now all we gotta do is sew it on! Position the elastic so it’s right on top of the pillowcase’s preexisting hem stitch. We’re gonna use this as a guide so our waistband will be straight and not lopsided! Carefully sew all the way around the waistband using a zigzag stitch. Be sure to keep the pillow case taut and pull on the elastic as you sew—and when I say pull, I mean really PULL! This way we’ll get a nice ruffle effect and it’ll also ensure that our waistband will reach all the way around the pillowcase without falling short.

Step 7: Sew the waistband

After you sew the elastic on you’ll have this super cute ruffly waistband that is not only decorative, but it holds your skirt up, too. What more could you want?

Hemming the skirt

To complete the skirt we need to hem it! In the interest of simplicity, I’m gonna show you how to make this really neat, no-sew scallop hem. For this step, you’ll need an already existing skirt with a length that you like, fray check, and the scallop pattern.

1. First, measure the distance from the top of the waistband to the hem on your skirt. Mine came out to about 17 inches. Add 1 inch to the first measurement so you’ll have a little extra room to work with.

Step 1: Measure an existing skirt

2. Transfer this measurement to your pillowcase skirt. Fold the pillowcase skirt in half and starting at the very top of the skirt, measure out your desired length as determined by the previous step. Using tailor’s chalk, draw a line straight across from the length measurement (represented by the dotted line below).

Step 2: Chalk a line

3. Place the scallop pattern (which you’ve already cut out) right on top of the line you just sketched out. You might notice that the pattern says “place this side on fold,” which means you need to place the pattern with that end on the fold of the skirt. Pin the pattern in place to secure it and start cutting the scallops, following the pattern.

Step 3: Place the pattern and cut the hem

4. After you cut the hem, soak the raw edges of the scallops with a little fray check. This way, all your hard work won’t unravel once you throw the skirt in the wash! This stuff will turn the fabric a darker color, but only temporarily. The fabric will turn back to its original color once the glue dries.

Step 4: Gluing the hem


…this is what the finished skirt looks like! Pretty snazzy, huh? ♦


  • Susann January 13th, 2012 3:05 PM

    I’m so going to try this! Thanks!

  • Tess January 13th, 2012 3:10 PM

    This is super cool! Totally doing this tomorrow! Thanks for this, it’s rad!

  • Shweta January 13th, 2012 3:33 PM

    Thats so cool my mom usedmake dresses out of floral bed sheets!!

  • EmilyJn January 13th, 2012 3:34 PM

    This is such a good idea! I will be raiding my house for pillowcases, pretty sure we have a spiderman one somewhere….

  • TheLittleMermaid January 13th, 2012 3:35 PM

    This is a really good idea! I will definately be making a ton of these. Thanks, I love everything that you guys put on this wonderful website.

  • lilylaughs January 13th, 2012 3:47 PM

    i’ll definitely use this :) rookie should do more diy posts – they’re awesome!

  • Ruby B. January 13th, 2012 4:04 PM

    Marlena! Yay!

    I HAVE to try this. I suck at sewing but I think I’ll be able to do this!

  • KinuKinu January 13th, 2012 4:36 PM


  • Nicole January 13th, 2012 5:56 PM

    when i saw this i clutched my face and whispered “oh my god oh my god oh my god”

  • Giulia Lain January 13th, 2012 8:35 PM

    YAY! I can’t believe how much easy and cool it is… Pillow cases turned into skirts… IT IS AWESOME… DUDE!

  • Izzy January 14th, 2012 7:01 AM

    this is perfect. i HATE trousers and just today i was bemoning the fact i have hardly any skirts. Thank you!

  • jenjencm January 14th, 2012 4:05 PM

    I have this really pretty satin pillow case that isn’t being used and you just gave me the perfect idea to make it into a skirt. I can’t wait to make it!

  • willow January 14th, 2012 4:10 PM

    This is so awesome! I actually have a pillow case with a really gorgeous floral pattern that I want to do this with, a trip to the craft store is in my future.

    Also, once I read the “turn a pillowcase into a skirt” I knew this was gonna be by Marlena, and it was! Love your blog :)

  • Erica January 14th, 2012 8:50 PM

    this is the cutest ever, as soon as i get unpreg im gonna make it!

  • stellar January 15th, 2012 2:38 AM

    why not make a dress out of a pillowcase? less steps, too!!

  • bewarethejabberwock January 15th, 2012 7:34 AM

    Love this!
    The first ever skirt I made was out of a black and white spotty pillowcase, except it was less professional than this and basically just involved random darts all round it until it fitted. It’s still the item of clothing I’m proudest of, though, and I just remembered I need to go back to it and fix it. Thanks for reminding me how much I love that skirt, Rookie, and next time I make a pillowcase skirt I’ll use your instructions!

  • MissKnowItAll January 15th, 2012 2:06 PM

    Ohmygod I’m going to use my babar pillow case to make this!!!!!!!!

    • Tavi January 15th, 2012 4:51 PM

      that will be SO cute!!

    • VictoryBelle January 15th, 2012 6:06 PM

      AMAZING! so jealous of your Babar bedding! I bet that will end up looking awesome, good luck!

  • whatsupmonkey January 15th, 2012 7:28 PM

    Yeah, I’m going to drag my Mum’s old sewing machine out for this.

  • leatherandlace220 January 16th, 2012 9:18 AM

    I am so tempted to spend my Monday that I’m supposed to be studying for mid-terms to make a skirt out of my pillow case.

  • genus.neotoma January 16th, 2012 11:03 AM

    Nice one! Really happy with this idea ’cause my mom gave me a huge beg of old bed linnen for scrap material yesterday.

  • imeksav January 16th, 2012 2:39 PM

    Very clever! This something me and my mom would do, I’m totally gonna try this :D

  • loonylizzy January 16th, 2012 6:57 PM

    totally gonna do this!! i love love LOVE your blog, marlena! keep being awesome!

  • Kailey January 19th, 2012 11:43 PM

    Eee just looking at this gives me ideas – thank you so much for post this Marlena!

  • VelvetRedDragon January 26th, 2012 11:37 PM

    This is so cool, I really want to try it(:

  • KinuKinu January 31st, 2012 2:59 PM

    I made it 2 days ago and I love it soo much!!
    I can’t wait to go wear it out