Dress A Girl Around the World Sewalong: Embellishing with Freezer Paper Stencils

If you are visiting from Little Big Girl Studio for the Dress a Girl Around the World sew along, welcome! I am happy to be a part of this event.

When it comes to charity, I am always wishing that I could do more, give more. With this tutorial, I would like to show you how to inexpensively add a little something extra to a solid pillowcase to make it into a cute dress. Because it won’t cost you a lot, you can give more!

I purchased solid colored pillowcases at Target and prepackaged bias tape at JoAnns. I followed the tutorial provided by the Dress A Girl Around the World organization for my dresses. I wanted to keep my dresses fairly simple so that they would wash and wear well.

I embellished my dresses with freezer paper stencils. I would like to show you the basic technique that I followed here.

The first step is to design your stencil. You can use clip art images if your talents don’t lie in drawing. If they do, the sky is the limit! For my first design, I sketched a stylized flower. I colored in the design with a Sharpie and taped it to my cutting mat. I then placed a sheet of freezer paper (purchased at the food store in the wax paper/aluminum foil section) on top of the design, wax side down, and taped it in place.

Then I began to cut out the areas that I had colored in with my Sharpie using a sharp X-ACTO knife.

Once my stencil was cut, I positioned it on the dress, wax side down, and held a hot, dry iron to the surface for a count of 10. This melts the wax and temporarily adheres the stencil to the fabric. Then I applied fabric paint to the stencil using a flat bottomed stencil brush.

After allowing the paint to dry for at least six hours, you can peel the freezer paper off and ta-da, your stencil is complete! Depending on the brand of fabric paint that you purchased, you may need to heat set your design before washing.

For my second dress, I sketched a house and apple tree. This type of stencil requires a bit of thought and planning. In some cases, I needed to save pieces that I cut out and used them again when it came time to iron on the stencil. I think that the step by step pictures show this more clearly than words. Click to download the pdf showing the various steps.
House and Apple Tree Stencil Process.pdf

Finally, I made two more dresses with an easy, beginner friendly design that I will share with you. Click to download the apple stencil.
Apple Stencil.pdf

First I cut the apple exterior and leaf from the freezer paper, ironed on the stencil and applied the paint. On one dress, I stenciled a red apple and on the other, a green. (This picture was taken of the stencils once they were used but it shows you which shapes to cut first.)

Once the paint dried, I adhered a second piece of freezer paper with the seeds cut out and used a second color paint.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will join us in making dresses for girls in need around the world!


  1. You’re just too darned clever!! 😀 Simply wonderful, cute little dresses!

  2. What a great idea! They turned out beautiful!

  3. Cute! I have seen freezer paper things done but never an actual tut on it, ty!

  4. love the stencils Amy! they look so pretty on the dresses!

  5. Love it!! How very cute!

  6. Amy, these are so cute! I’v been scared to try freezer paper stenciling but might just have to give it a try. The little house and tree are my favorites!

  7. I may have to give using a premade pillow case a shot. I have fabric, but the thought of having the hems pre-sewn is very attractive… I have not taken the time to look at the bedding department at Target. I will next time I am there…

  8. They look so awesome!!! SO much cooler than the stenciling my mom did in the 80’s! 🙂

  9. I’ve used freezer paper for a few sewing projects, and it’s quite wonderful! Great designs you’ve showcased here 🙂

  10. Thank you!! this was a fun tutorial and I plan on giving it a try! I’ll hop over to Target today and get me one of those colored pillowcases. I think I have some fabric paint that will work.
    Thanks for the PDF! I am art challanged 🙂

  11. Very cute! I love the ideas!

  12. Very cute Amy! I love the house with the tree. so clever!

  13. I wasn’t sure I was going make one, but I really want to try this!!!

  14. Great job on these Amy – they are adorable and the stencils make them extra special.

  15. How cute are these?! I’m so excited to try my hand at these, seems like a simple enough dress to make. LOVE your embellishments!!

  16. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! Those stencils are gorgeous and the dresses adorable!

  17. BEautiful! Your designs and choices of color for the dresses is so pretty. Great job Amy! I’ll have to try this some time

  18. These are adorable. I may have the nerve to try freezer paper stenciling after this.

    Kathy b

  19. I love these! I’m so glad that I was able to join in on the fun and actually get them done before the big day:)

  20. So sweet…and your talent always makes everything seem easy!! LOVE these!

  21. Oh Wow, you too make dresses for dressing girls less fortunate than our own! Love the stencilling too, must try that …. oh so many things to try and not enough hours!

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