DIY "Pillowcase" Baby Dress Pattern

Pillowcase dresses are popular because they are so simple to make, the measurements aren’t super important, and they can grow with baby from a dress into a top.
Image of pillowcase dress
I guess they are often made out of pillowcases, but I used regular old fabric.  The small one pictured here fits about 0-3 months and the large one is about a 2T, templates for both are below.  If you are new to sewing and want to try a dress, this beginner sewing baby pillowcase dress is the one.
Image of pillowcase dresses
See pics of it on my girl here, and get the full DIY on How to Sew A Pillowcase Dress after the jump…

Pillowcase Dress for Babies and Toddlers

1.  First you need to cut your fabric. You need two identical pieces, a front and a back. The easiest way to determine your size is just to trace a dress that fits your child well:

However, I will share with you this drawing of the sizes I cut.  The first is a 0-3 month size and the second is about a 2T.  The great thing about this type of dress is the measurements don’t need to be very specific and it will still fit, AND it can grow from a dress to a top as baby gets taller.
Baby Dress Template size 0-3 months:

Baby Dress Template size 18 months – 2T:

2.  Lay your two dress pieces right sides facing and pin:

3.  Sew up either side and finish the edges by serging, sewing with a zig zag or overlock stitch, or cutting with pinking shears:

2.  Fold the bottom edge 1/4″ to the inside and iron.

If you are going to skip a trim and just hem, then go ahead and fold another 1/2″ iron and sew the hem in place (like the smaller dress pictured).  If you want to add trim, then don’t complete the hem. Instead, with your edge ironed just 1/4″ under, pin your trim to the front of the dress aligned with the folded edge, with the pretty part of the trim up to the inside of the dress like so:

Sew it in place:

Now fold the trim under, iron and pin:

Here’s a shot of the folding in action:

Top stitch into place to complete your trimmed edge:

3.  Now grab a piece of single-fold bias tape, it’s the one that looks like this:

Open the bias tape and align one edge with the armholes on the right side of your dress and pin it in place all the way around:

Sew in place along the fold:

Now flip the bias tape all the way to the inside of the sleeve and pin like so:

Sew it in place along the edge of the tape.  This holds the shape of your sleeve as well as giving a clean finish to the armhole.  You could use double fold bias tape if you wanted it to show, but for this dress I didn’t.

4.  Now fold the top edges of your dress in 1/4″ and iron, then 3/4″ and iron and pin in place.

Sew right next to the edge to create the pocket for your ties.

5.  Thread your ties through with a safety pin.  Any kind of ribbon is cute, or you could sew some ties out of bias tape or matching or contrasting fabric.  You can do one in the front and one in the back so the dress ties above each shoulder, or one long one that only ties on one side (like the smaller dress pictured).  You’re done!:

Now that you’ve sewn your own pillowcase dress, are you ready to try another beginner sewing project?

A racerback dress is a great option for summer play indoor and outside.

The Muu Muu is a great summer option for easy on and off. You can skip the ruffles for our muu muu take 2.

or make her a new dress from an old t-shirt with the t-shirt sundress.

Check out 25 Free Dress Tutorials for Babies and Toddlers and follow us on Pinterest for more great sewing projects!

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126 Comments

Socktopus Creations

I love making pillowcase dresses for my daughter! I've ran out of old pillowcases to use so this pattern will be great for the next time I want to make one! Thanks!

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Mama Iga

Hi Ladies,
I would LOVE to get into sewing for my little daughter, due in August! But having really done any sewing before beyond the basic repairs… Could anyone please help me figure out what is the basic equipment needed for, say, a dress like this? Obviously:
– scissors (should I buy special ones??)
– pins
DO I need a sewing machine or can I get away with doing things by hand, or somehow with some smaller device?

Any advise will be much appreciated!

Iga.

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Pat Revak

Go to http://www.ehow.com/print/how_4787912_pillow-case-dress-child.html or How to make a pillowcase dress(for a child)eHow.com, I found all I needed to know about this project. Good luck on sewing for your little girl. I sewed for my two girls to save money and because it was fun and a sense of pride that I could do it when they were little. I also made us mother/daughter matching dresses out of the same fabric. I also had fun decorating their rooms. I am now a grandmother and I love to sew again for grand kids and do quilt projects. I am addicted to fabric and what I can do with it. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby, and God Bless You!!!

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Pat Revak

I also did not know anything when I started sewing. I taught myself. Ask anyone at a fabric store or a Walmart, in the fabric and sewing department and they will help you. If you can find an older or experienced person in sewing, most of the time they will love to show you. It seems like a dying art sometimes. My daughters or my two step-daughters show no interest. wish they did. I would love to show them. I have bought all of them sewing machines. Good Luck!!

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DEBI

Always buy good scissors, never cut anything other than fabric with them. You also need a good steam iron for sewing. Yes, get a machine! Straight pins are good. A rotary cutter and mat are great options too. Have fun, find somewhere to take a class.

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Dana

Oh dear. Yes you can do by hand, but you would really rather do it by machine. Just start out with a cheap one until you get the hang of it, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

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Jacinda

I'm inspired to make this little dress out of like 20 different fabrics… all with different trims and ribbons. Love!

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Kelsey

This is SO adorable! I have a little girl due in July and I think she will have a wardrobe of these dresses to wear this summer!

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Amy

I'm so excited, going to make this for my niece who just turned 2! How gorgeous..thanks so much for posting instructions, I've been looking for them! I'll be posting my version and linking you! Thanks so much!

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helema

Naw girl you can try for a girl bu ttill then you can make them for others girls. mabey make a few to hand to women that have new little girls and make abunch to give to lil girls in need!! even cancer wards would love these dresses for the lil girls and you can make them with lil kittens and horses!!

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Genie

I love the way you flared out the bottom. Its a very positive variation. I am going to give it a try. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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Amy

i love your website! i have made several pillowcase dresses for my twin girls. i also used the pattern with a bath towel to make swim cover-ups for my girls. they are so cute and great for the pool!

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Jenny May McKim

I love this website..
I made my first dress for my twins today…
Posted it on my blog with a link to your blog…
Thanks for the confidence to make these..

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IndianaParkers

I love EVERYTHING about your blog….thank so much for being the creative voice for this Grammy and it also lets me know what young Mom's like…..thank you~!~!
Marilyn

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Linda

I am so addicted to your site! I am new to following blogs, a week to be exact, but in that week i have become a bias tape addict! what else can i do with it besided cool trim for these dresses and the awesome bags? i made my 7 mth old daughter one of these dresses(my 1st piece of wearable clothing ever from my "gotta have" sewing machine). i can't sleep now…too many ideas in my head. My husband misses me!

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kpmattingly

Thank you!! I used this tutorial to make a pillowcase dress out of an old adult dress for a friend! I will be posting it on my blog with a link to you (probably next week sometime). This was my first time doing bias tape and you explained it great!

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linda s

Has anyone come up with a pattern the right dimensions for a little girl's size 6? I sure could use some help with this…pattern making is not my strong point!

Thank you.
Linda

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Girls

Lovely Collection with nice designs, I really like your costumes and more informative post also sharing pretty design and comfortable fabrics for your affectionate baby's delicate skin, all dress gives off a suitable glow as a gives sweetest smile and making her seem as angel. The excellent selection of Flower Girl Dresses available to all baby and girls size.

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amomwithalessonplan.com

I made this one with my 4 year old. The pattern is so easy that she was able to measure, cut, pin and even help sew it together.

This one was for the Dress a Girl Around the World donation. But I can see my daughter and her babies decked out in matching dresses in the very near future.

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Katy

I made two dresses today out of old embroidered pillowcases for my daughters, who are 6. Your directions worked perfectly! I laid one of their current dresses on top and cut about an inch outside for the sides, top and armholes. Thanks!!

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tolmema

I made a dress similar to this for my little girl for her first birthday. The only measurement I took was of her chest so I knew how wide to make the chest piece. I borrowed your tutorial to make it and couldn't believe how easy it was to make! 🙂 I kind of just threw it together and it magically turned out perfect. Instead of ribbon, I used a shoestring that I found on sale at Joann Fabrics.

I have a few pics here: http://wp.me/p1eggC-1Z

Thanks for the inspiration! I just read the post about the tulle dress and I think I'll make one. Maybe two…or three!

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Emily

Thank you so much…..I recently made two new dresses….used this pattern for one and your one shoulder dressy dress for the other! Thanks for great tips and pics for the arm holes and the pom pom trim. I love the dresses!

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cupcake mama

Wow! Just stumbled upon you and saw this easy to follow dress pattern. Thank you so very much! It is adorable! I purchased a similar pattern a while back and it wasn't cheap or easy. This is the look I was looking for and so easy! Once again, thanks.
mmjohnson555@gmail.com

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babyjohn1

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need, thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.
girls holiday dresses

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Gail

Hi, I’m going to be taking a trip to Roatan, Honduras, to teach some local ladies to sew. Would you mind if I used your pattern to teach them to make pillowcase dresses to sell? This would give the local women a way to earn money to support their families.

Reply
Baby Cradles Patterns | Cradle Of

[…] antique baby cradles – Davinci Jenny Lind Stationary Crib, WhiteBorder Reivers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaBufferbloat – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaHeuristic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFrog BabyRocking Chair Baby NurseryBABY PATTERN KNIT OR CROCHETDIY "Pillowcase" Baby Dress Pattern […]

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gifts

Nice collection of baby dresses.I have sewed two “Pillowcase” dresses for my daughter but they were not properly fitted.I am learning sewing.I will try again and I hope I will make a proper dress for her this time.Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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Parthenia Bolder

Hmm i hope you don’t get annoyed with this question, but how much does a website like yours earn?

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Ruth

Our church ladies are going to make pillowcase dresses for the little girls in Africa. Thank you for showing the different steps. This will be a big help!

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Tiffany

Do you have a formula for deciding what lengths and arm hole measurements if you want to make larger dresses? I have daughters in several different sizes.

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Emily

Love this site!! I just found it when i was looking for a Newborn Pattern for a Pillowcase Dress to make for my niece!! It was recommended on Every website i went to via links to this Site!! Thank you for making an easy DIY that Anyone can follow and be happy with thier final product reguardless of their sewing experiance!! Can’t wait to make many dresses for my sweet newborn niece to wear and have one of a kind baby fashions made exclusively for her through my Creative juices and your Fabulous DIY Pattern/ Template!! Love your site. Much Thanks 🙂

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Pink Dress

This is my favorite style dress for my daughter; when I was young my Mom used to make this style dress for me. I loved it then and I still do

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Sherrie

How do you scale this dress for different sizes? Like for instance a 3T or 4T ?

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Karen

actually you can make them at whatever length… as for the neck and arm holes. I would do this…. take freezer wrap paper and make the biggest pattern there and then measure up to the child and scale it that way. Maybe make the neck 9 inches and the arm holes add one inch in length and 1/2 in width??? Thats my guess

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Karen

Thanks so much for taking the time to share such an awesome little dress. I have been looking all over and ran across this one. This is the best I have seen with such easy instructions. I know cause I am a beginner sewing woman in my mid fifties. My Great niece is so gonna love it. I love the idea they can continue growing into them. Once again Thanks so much.
Karen

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stella

I’m having a hard time sewing up the bottom portion. It’s bundling at the ends?

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Sarah

Thank you so much for sharing this! This was my first time sewing a garment and I was thrilled with the way it turned out! Your tutorial helped me sew trim and use bias tape for the first time!! Thank you!

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Erin

Thank you SO much for this tutorial, it was extremely helpful. I just started learning how to sew (this is literally only my 3rd sewing project ever) – and it turned out great! I had a little trouble getting the bias tape to lie flat, but I found it helpful to iron it on both sides before sewing the final stitching around the bias tape. Here’s how my dress turned out: doublethereinsteins.blogspot.com/2012/07/pillowcase-dress.html

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The Pillowcase Dress | kerry axley

[…] of tutorials and inspirations available.  Some of my favorites include these by Aesthetic Nest, Prudent Baby and The Mother Huddle. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This […]

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Guest Post: Toddler Chevron Pillowcase Dress: A Tutorial | everythingforthelove

[…] A pillowcase dress is very simple to make. You really don’t even need a tutorial. But if you are making a chevron style, then a tutorial may come in handy. Normally you would place your pattern on the fold, but for a chevron print you would need to place on a diagonal with the stripes facing down instead. Don’t fold your fabric, just lay it flat. You will do this 4X’s, two fronts and two backs. Make sure your stripes equally line up when you cut. My fabric didn’t have a wrong or right side. So it was pretty easy. I used a striped jersey material, but you could easily use cotton. If you don’t have a pillowcase dress pattern or know how to make a normal pillowcase dress, you can find the original tutorial here […]

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What To Buy For Baby

Hi,

I never made a pillowcase dress before, but I sure will try one now for my 5 year old granddaughter. I’m also going to make the fancier one after I have some experience. Thanks for the ideas and patterns.

Grammie

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Janai

I have never sewn a piece of clothing ever; I’ve just barely gotten comfortable making extremely simple baby quilts but thought I’d try this dress for my soon-to-be daughter. I loved it! It was so easy (I’ve always been scared of using bias tape) and came together really quickly. Thank you!

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Terri

I can’t wait for my sewing machine to get in.
I have never done anything before but think I may try making one of these cute dresses!! I am not crafty at all, but excited about trying something new out!!

Thanks for the great info!! 🙂

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Leigh Ann

Thank you so much for this pattern and even more for the pictures that go along with the step by step instructions. Without the pics I probably would not have attempted this baby dress, as I have never sewn clothing before. I came across your site from a google search. I had planned to baby quilts for a church in Texas who has a mission group in Mexico. They emailed me saying they needed pillow case dresses, tops, pants, hats, booties, and bibs. A few people have given me tons of different fabrics for quilting. Some of the fabrics I really like and match well with a second fabric included in the stash, but about 70% of it I had no clue at the time what quilting project I would ever use it in (3 maching hot pinks for example). I am know using those fabrics that would otherwise just gather dust to make pillowcases for the Million Pillowcase 2012 Challenge(you make standard size pillow cases out of cotton fabric and donate them to any charity, then go to the Million Pillowcase website and enter in how many you donated. Mine will go to the local Senior Citizens Center for Christmas gifts. Then the pillowcase baby dresses I will be mailing from the east coast to Glenview Church in Texas. Their mission has a great need for some very simple to make things for babies in Mexico. I also noticed on your measurements for the 0-3 month dress, it can easily be made out of 2 fat quarters. So for less than $4 you can make a baby dress for a mother and baby in need! If anyone else is interested in donating to this cause, here is the information:
Glenview Baptist Church
ATTN: Tracie
Ewe and Me Jesus
4805 NE Loop 820
Fort Worth, TX 76137
(817) 281 – 3361
email: ewe_and_me_jesus@hotmail.com

Thanks again for the easy to follow instructions with pics. Your knowledge has made it possible for me to use my time, energy, (and free fabric from other kind souls) to simply help another person in need and hopefully to be able to serve as a witness to Gods love and care to the people being helped. I don’t know if you are religious or not, but it is always a fantastic lesson for our children to be taught, that we not just feel sad for those who have great need, but show them kindness, love, and compassion by using whatever gifts we have. That something so simple as a baby blanket or little dress from a total stranger in a different part of the world can be a message to the person receiving it of, “It is not necessary for me to meet you in order to genuinely care about you.”

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Janis

Love this pattern more than the last one found! Love the flair at bottom. Used bright yellow material with light pink parsley material cut into flowers.. turned out GORGEOUS!!!

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Leanna

Hi! I want to make this for my niece but I’m very new to sewing and I don’t really understand the bias tape part? (I’ve never heard of bias tape before, I’m a total beginner, lol ) Is it necessary or can I just hem it or something?

Thanks for the cute pattern, though!

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Delaney

I am making this for my niece who is turning 1 in April! I’m only 15 but you’d be surprised by what I can do!! I’m actually making this out of my sister’s old bed sheets as a surprise! She’ll love it!

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Mandy

You inspired me! I made this dress for my daughter for Easter, and it is my first sewing project aside from a pillow. I did it and love it and can’t wait to make more! Thank you thank you!

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Jasmine

Thank you very much for posting this!! I made 3 today – 3 mo, 9 mo & 12 mo and they all turned out great. Thank you for the clear instructions and for the pictures. That was very helpful!

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seo company

whoah this blog is great i love reading your posts. Stay up the good work!
You realize, many individuals are searching around for this information, you could help them greatly.

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Ann-Marie

The dress is so cute but I have made one now and the armholes are so big and the cloth over the chest is not so wide. I have the measurements you gave above. Are the armholes to be so big?

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Angela

Great blog! I just got the itch to start using my sewing machine, which up until now had been used to sew some light blocking curtains for my kids and a pillowcase. I wanted to start with something easy and I loved these! I’m not sure how to share some pics, but I did 2 pillowcase dresses and I can’t remember what the others were called….peasant dress maybe? With the long sleeves and elastic necklines and arms, both turned out really cute and the tutorials were very helpful. I’m hoping to take a stab at another one soon!

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Liza

I am profoundly inspired by the information provided on this blog on sewing baby dresses and the pictures are absolutely cute and impressive. Indeed a great tutorial. Now I can start using my sewing machine and sew some cute baby dresses for my kids!

Reply
Emma's Bee Costume | saroy

[…] point was a combination of this bee costume tutorial from Living Well Spending Less and this pillowcase dress tutorial from Prudent Baby. (The first one made the costume from a pillowcase dress, but the second has […]

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trijnewijn

thank you for the tutorial! I made a pillowcase dress in just a couple of hours yesterday (but most of that time I needed to fix my not so successfully cut J-shaped armholes, so next time I can finish even faster 🙂 )
I’m not a beginner anymore, but I still love making dresses like this one. It doesn’t have to be difficult to be very cute 😉

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Danielle

Thanks so much for this tutorial. It is hands down the best one I’ve found. Up until now I was leary of using bias tape, but I’m glad I used it for this dress. Have you ever considered doing a broader sizin chart? Like, the 0-3 month size all the way to 8?

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Danielle

I want to thank you for this amazing tutorial! I was a little intimidated by the idea of using bias tape for the first time ever, but it was extremely easy and the finished results of this dress were remarkable for even a beginner :0)

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Courtney

Have you made this in larger sizes? I made this before for babies and loved the line of this dress vs. other pillowcase dresses. Do you have any guidance on the measurements you would use for a 5T or size 6 dress?

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Lynn Brewer

I am going to make my granddaughter one of these this week to wear to the ball game Friday night. I was wondering if you knew the length of the ties at the top. I am cuting the dress a couple of inches shorter so I can add a contrasting ruffle and using that same contrasting material as the ties at the top. And since she is a baby I am making her a pair of bloomers to go underneath.

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hana girl

Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you
could be a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and will
eventually come back later on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great work, have a nice weekend!

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Budd Amy

Hi. I know this has been a long time ago but I’m desperate to find out how you sew the pompom trim on? I tried and it keeps sliding off under the sewing machine foot.
Thank you
Amy

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