Flour Sack Towel Dress

Posted by Crunchy Nana on July 15, 2014.

If you cloth diaper, you have undoubtedly heard about how versatile flour sack towels are! Flour sack towels can be used as flat diapers with a variety of folds, or simply folded down to a rectangle for a natural-fiber pocket diaper insert. You can also use them around the house as kitchen towels, mop pads, changing mats, or burp cloths.

You can also make an adorable, simple dress for your little girl in about an hour! I set out to make one of these - a take off on the pillowcase dresses which became popular several years ago - for my youngest granddaughter.

Flour Sack Towel Dress Tutorial... super cute and easy!

So, let's get started with our dress...  

1. Measure

The first thing you will need to do is measure your little model from her collarbone to where you want the finished length of the dress. 

2. Calculate Length

If you do not want a ruffle, cut the length of the towels to 2" longer than the measurement you took, allowing for the casing at the top and narrow hem on the bottom.

If you want a ruffle, determine how deep you want your ruffle. In this example, I wanted the finished ruffle to be 2" deep, and my granddaughter measured 20" from her collarbone to the finished length of the dress, so I cut the towels at 20". The ruffle basically replaced the 2" added in the above step for the hem and top casing. If you want a different depth to your ruffle than 2", just adjust the length of the towels. 

3. Cut Armholes 

Now we will cut a small triangle from the top and sides of the towels to make an armhole. Place your two towels together to make these cuts - this will make sure the cuts are the same on each side. Measure from the side of the towel to 3" towards the center along the top of the towels and mark this spot. Next, measure 5" down the side of the towels and mark this spot. With a straight edge, draw a line connecting these points. Do the same thing on the other side of the dress. 

Cut off the triangles on both sides. 

4. Applique

If you are appliqueing the front of the dress, do it now. I added an applique to the front of the dress, which does require a little more time. Comment below if you'd like to see another post in which I explain my simple way to do applique!

5. Finish Armholes

Finish the edges of the armholes by turning under the raw edge 1/4"--press in place. Turn that over again and stitch in place. Repeat for the other three armhole edges.


6. Make Ribbon Casing 

To make the ribbon casing for the front and back of the dress, fold over 1 1/2" on both top edges and sew in place.

7. Sew Up Sides

I used a 1/2" seam to sew up the side seams of the dress. The towels have a finished edge, so the seams won't ravel. Press the seams open.

8. Prepare the Ruffle

I wanted my ruffle to be 2" deep, so I cut 2 strips (from 45" fabric) 2 3/4" wide. That allows for a 1/4" seam and 1/2" narrow hem. Sew the short ends together, making a tube of fabric. Press the side seams open and run two rows of gathering stitches on the top edge of the piece, and sew a narrow hem at the bottom.  

With right sides together, pin the ruffle to the bottom edge of the dress, matching side seams and raw edges. Pull up gathers to fit and sew using a 1/4" seam.

9. Make Shoulder Ties

Cut two pieces of ribbon, each 1 yard long for the shoulder ties. Secure a safety pin at one end to help you guide the ribbon through the casing.

10. Finishing Touches

Now simply thread one ribbon through the front casing and the other through the back casing. (At this point, I highly recommend using Fray Check on the cut edges of the ribbon to keep it looking nice through washings; affiliate link.) Tie the ribbons at the shoulders and finish press the dress!


This is my precious granddaughter sporting her new dress - so cool and comfortable!!

Crunchy Nana


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