Make It Do

Following a “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” philosophy not only protects our planet’s natural resources, but it provides a pause in the consumption cycle allowing for contentment with what we have. In this series I share personal stories of making do.

Details on a Vintage Pillow Case Dress | the beauty in simpleI received a child’s birthday party invite last week. Running to the store to buy a present would be the normal thing to do, but the only stores I shop at these days are thrift stores. This mama friend of mine loves to thrift and would appreciate a secondhand toy or book for her daughter, but my favored gift is giving something sewn by me using materials I have on hand. Looking through my dwindling fabric stash the choices were meager, but I remembered the beautiful vintage pillow cases sitting in the linen closet. A pillow case dress would be the perfect gift for a sweet two-year-old girl.

Vintage Pillow Case Dress | the beauty in simpleIt wouldn’t be right to tell this story without telling a little backstory on the pillow case. The one I used for the dress and three others were given to me by a friend. She suspected her Swedish grandmother handmade and appliqued the gorgeous lace on the cases. My friend stored the cases in her linen closet for years, but having never been used she was ready to let them go and offered them to me. Lucky me. Coincidentally she’s also friends with the mother of the birthday girl so the pillow case dress would in a sense be a gift from us both.

I followed this dress tutorial and this bias tape tutorial for the armhole binding and ribbon ties. The dress was quickly assembled on a Saturday afternoon.

All but a small piece of fabric was left from the project, which was perfect for making a little “hankie” pouch. I’ve been wanting to sew a sack to store my special vintage handkerchiefs that were given to me at birth and marriage. Not caring about perfection in design or construction, I quickly stitched up a fabric envelope to hold and protect my old and cherished relics.

Cloth Handkerchief Pouch made from Vintage Fabric | the beauty in simpleCloth Handkerchief Pouch made from Vintage Fabric | the beauty in simpleSomething new from something old. Nothing wasted. Still treasured.


Other children’s gifts I’ve made can be found here and here. Other stories of “Make It Do” are here, here, and here. Do you have any stories of making do to share? I’d love to hear them. 

10 thoughts on “Make It Do

  1. What a gorgeous dress, it is perfect and has such sentiment behind it and so much better than anything from a store, I bet your friend was thrilled with it too.

    1. Thank you! With three more pillow cases in the closet, it might be my go-to gift for little girls. And yes, I think my friend loved it.

    1. Thank you for that feedback! I do love the ingenuity from making do, so perhaps I’ll do more of these posts. 🙂

  2. Wow!!!! You have outdone yourself with this. Makes me wish I had a little girl…….beautiful dress. I bet your friend was over the moon!

    1. I thought of you when I was making the dress and wishing there was a little girl in the family to make one for. Hint, hint. 🙂

  3. this is so sweet! i can just imagine her blowing dandelion fluff in it. 🙂 i love to make birthday party gifts too- lots of purses and bags.

    1. Bags and baskets have been my go-to gift, but with three more vintage pillow cases left, three little girls will be getting a dress. 🙂

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