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Vintage Inspired Pillowcase Nightgowns

Vintage Summer Nightgowns The Prudent Homemaker

I love a loose-fitting cotton nightgown for summer.

Winter wanted a summer nightgown, and so she set forth to make one using a pillow case we had. It was a hand-me-down from my mother (the sheets had worn out) and was rather long, being a king-sized pillow case.

It wasn't a vintage-embroidered pillowcase, but she was able to give it an even older look by doing her own hand-embroidery.

She laid the pillowcase flat and cut a rounded neckline in front and back.

In the back, she gave it an additional slit down to allow it to open large enough to go over her head.

She undid the side seams just enough from the top down for armholes. When worn, it looks like a raglan sleeve.

Vintage Nightgown Front Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Around the raw edges that she cut at the neckline and armholes, she sewed a scalloped hem using the scalloped setting on the sewing machine. She trimmed around this with a pair of sharp scissors.

Vintage Nightgown Back Detail The Prudent Homemaker

She added hand-embroidery to the front and back of the nightgown.  For the back, she used an old pattern that you can get for free here.

To close the nightgown in back, she added an elastic loop on one side and a button from one of my button jars. I had a covered button that matched perfectly!

Nightgown Hem The Prudent Homemaker

One of her younger sisters wanted a nightgown like hers, so she chose a vintage pillow case (embroidered by my grandmother) and made one for her sister. She added some hand-embroidery to the top to match the embroidery colors and design on the bottom.

 Vintage Nightgowns Front Embroidery The Prudent Homemaker

Since I had everything on hand already, these cost me nothing additional out of pocket. Pillowcases often out last sheet sets and are a great source of fabric. Don't have a pillow case but have a leftover top sheet after the bottom one has worn out? Cut out a pillow case length from it and sew it into one using an existing pillowcase for size, making the top hem your bottom hem, so that you have an already finished hem.

Looking for free embroidery designs that you can use on your projects? Check out my Embroidery board on Pinterest.


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  • Sheila from Alabama July 26, 2017

    Winter is so talented and creative! These nightgowns are just lovely. My favorite part is that she made one for her little sister. A gift of love that her sister will always remember.

  • Sharon July 26, 2017

    Beautiful job!

  • Amanda July 26, 2017

    So pretty! I love that she made one for her little sister too :)

  • Natalie July 26, 2017

    Two of my favourite makes so far!

  • Holley July 26, 2017

    Like mother, like daughter! Such a wonderful talent!

  • Kirsti July 26, 2017

    Beautiful! They look nice and cool for the summer!

  • Cindi July 26, 2017

    What a great idea. They are beautiful and look so cool and comfortable. And I agree -- so sweet that she made one for her little sister, too.

  • Kim M July 26, 2017

    Beautiful nightgowns!!! I bet if she made some and listed them on etsy, she'd have herself a nice little college fund real fast!!!

    Last week we didnt spend too much money. My sister and brother in law were here from NJ. We spent a lot of time eating at my mom & dads or eating on the run, that my dad paid for. Friday I was able to get out for a few hours and went to the food service outlet store. They had a deal on 10lb rolls of 80/20 ground beef. If I purchased a freezer italian item, I could get 10lbs of frozen ground beef for $10. I did 2 deals. I got 2 bags of rosarita meatballs. They were $6. I was NOT paying $6 for a small box of celentano raviolis. I defrosted one roll of ground beef and split that up into 6 packages. The other day I was making sloppy joes from scratch and I had too much liquid in it. I had brown rice already cooked in the fridge, so I threw that in and it made a really yummy sloppy joe casserole. My new tenants are tenants from hell too, but these people lack common sense.!! Since we are 900 miles away from the house, I have to pay someone $35 an hour for all these little occurrences. We listed the house for sale. Being a long distance landlord is for the birds. Especially when the expenses for repairs are more than any income we receive. Once we get a contract on it, that will be one less headache for us to worry about.

  • Heather July 26, 2017

    I was just going to write to you to say that I really miss updates on the children and their activities. Thanks for this and congratulations to Winter on her hard work.

    Have you heard about Little Dresses for Africa. I think she would really get a kick out of the way they use pillowcases to clothe children. http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/

  • I have heard of them!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. July 26, 2017


  • Sheila July 26, 2017

    She learned well from her mom. I would be to lazy to embroider as I am a purely for function girl. :p It really does look nice with the embroidery. Was it a surprise for her sister?

  • No, her sister asked for one and she willingly obliged.

  • Jo July 26, 2017

    Those are darling, and that's a good idea for a pillow case. My re-uses are functional, but not nearly as charming -- I cover my flour mill and water distiller with old cases, and I split a pillow case to make two wraps for bread that is still cooling and which I don't want to leave uncovered on the counter when I can't be there to keep an eye on it.
    I have a pair of embroidered pillow cases that an elderly aunt made a long time ago, but she never finished the hemmed edge, which is in need of a piece of trim. I didn't know what to do with the cases, because I didn't want to sleep on them, and I don't need two big decorative pillows on the bed. I won't be able to wear them as a night gown, but now you have me thinking outside the box. I may come up with a good idea, yet.

  • Marisa July 28, 2017

    What wonderful ideas!

  • Cindy in the South July 26, 2017


  • Absolutely beautiful work! She's as clever and skilled as her mother! It's really nice to see a new generation learn sewing and embroidery skills; sewing is such a useful and practical skill. Her sister must have been thrilled!

  • momsav July 26, 2017

    Fabulous work from both of you! I taught myself needlework at a young age. There's just something satisfying about playing with a needle and thread.

  • Kim July 26, 2017

    I love Winter's resourcefulness and creativity! She had a need/want and found a way to fulfill that for no cost, just some of her time and talent. Those skills and attitude will serve her well in the future. You are a great mom and have taught her well.

    Several months ago, probably in the middle of winter here in the PNW I found a really nice light-weight cotton night gown for a few dollars on clearance. I thought it looked comfortable so I purchased it and boy am I glad to have it this summer. Our house has no air conditioning and we have been having lots of warm, humid nights and this light-weight night gown is so comfortable.

    I too, enjoy hearing about your children's activities and creations.

  • J July 26, 2017

    These are beautiful. A real talent!

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