You guuuuuuuys!! Thanks so much for all of the wonderful well wishes after my last post. It has been truly heartwarming reading each comment, hearing some of your own stories and feeling the love you’ve sent my family’s way. I really appreciate it! You guys rock
So last week, I did a guest post for sewpony‘s series “When We Were Young” and I shared an outfit that I made for my daughter that was inspired by an outfit that I wore when I was young! I also mentioned that I’d post a tutorial for the simple pinafore, so here I am, being true to my word.
Here is the original next to the version I made for Yuki:
I did a lot of guessing and “winging it” when making this little pinafore, but it came together pretty simply so I wanted to share how I did it in case you wanted to try it too! But I have to warn you, this tutorial is not about exact measurements or precise directions. It’s just a basic how-to. Since I was just making it up as I went along, you may have to be a bit flexible and daring and wing it too. Hope that’s ok!
The jumper has a bib bodice in the front and is open in the back with criss cross straps. The skirt is gathered in the front and has elastic in the band for easy comfort and fit. Really, it looks a lot like an apron. There is a cute notched “collar” (clearly, it’s not a real collar, but I wasn’t sure what else to call it), and a crocheted lace detail on the pocket. It’s perfect for hot summer days, but can easily be layered as we transition into fall.
What you’ll need:
- Main fabric (1-2 yards depending on what size you’re making)
- Contrast fabric (1/4 yard)
- Crocheted doily or lace
- Lightweight interfacing
- 1″ wide elastic
- 2 buttons
To draft your pattern, measure the child’s chest and divide that by 4. That will be the width of your bodice pattern piece (since it’s drawn on the fold). You can also measure across the front of a dress or shirt and divide that in two. When I drafted my piece, I added seam allowance, but my bodice ended up being just a little too wide. So I’d just stick with the measurement and not add seam allowance and then the bodice will be just smaller than the chest width, which I think will fit better.
The height of your pattern piece will depend on how long you want the bodice to be. Measure from the point you want the bodice to start on their chest and down to where you want the skirt to begin. Add a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both the top and bottom (1 inch total). I also cut the top corner a bit to allow room for arms. I eyeballed this, but for my 3T-ish pattern, I made a mark about 1 inch in on the top and 2.5 inches down and drew a diagonal line connecting the two and then cut. You can place your pattern on your child or on a shirt to see if it’s about the right size/angle (remember to take into account the 1/2 inch seam allowance). Sorry people, I don’t have an exact formula – like I said, I usually just wing things around here.
To draft the collar, I placed some tracing paper on top of the bodice piece and traced along the top section of the bodice pattern. Decide how long you want this collar piece to be and cut straight across, remembering to add seam allowance. I used a 1/2 inch SA to sew along the outside edge of the bodice, but only a 1/4 inch SA along the bottom of the collar piece. To add the notch, draw a diagonal line along the fold line of your pattern piece the size and angle you want your notch to be. Then draw a second line a quarter inch over (towards the fold line) and cut.
You’ll also need a pocket pattern piece, which you can make whatever size/shape you want.
Now you’re ready to cut your fabric. From your main fabric, you’ll need 2 bodice pieces, 2 pocket pieces and 2 strap pieces. Your straps should be 2.5 inches wide and whatever length you’ll need to reach from the top of the bodice, over the shoulder and to their waistline on their back. My 3T straps were 14.5 inches long.
From your contrast fabric, you’ll need 2 collar pieces. If desired, add lightweight interfacing on the wrong side of one of the collar pieces.
You’ll also need to cut 2 rectangles for the skirt front and skirt back from your main fabric. I used one of Yuki’s dresses to determine how wide to cut the rectangle (by measuring the width of the bottom of the skirt then adding 1 inch for seam allowance) and the length will depend on how long you want the skirt to be, plus added length for seam allowance and hemming. For the skirt back piece, add one inch to the length to create casing for the elastic. My skirt pieces were 27×14 inches for the front and 27×15 inches for the back.
First we’re going to add the decorative lace to the pocket piece. Depending on what shape lace doily you have, you can probably just leave it as is and sew it on to one of your pocket pieces. A square or strip can be placed across the top edge of the pocket. Or a circular piece can be cut in half so that a curved edge lays across the top half of the pocket. Play around with whatever shape or look you want and sew the lace down onto the right side of one of your pocket pieces.
Because I was trying to replicate the pocket in the original photo, I needed a triangular piece. I cut my lace into a triangle and then serged the edges to finish them. I did kind of a crappy job.
After you top stitch along the outer edge of the lace to attach it to one of your pocket pieces, lay the other pocket piece on top, right sides together and pin around the edges.
Sew all the way around the pocket leaving about a 1.5 inch opening.
Clip corners, flip the pocket right side out and press. Sew this pocket onto the front skirt piece.
To prepare your straps, fold them in half lengthwise (right sides together) and press. Then sew along the long edge and one of the short edges with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Be sure to leave one short edge open. Trim the corner.
Repeat with the other strap and then turn the straps right side out and press.
Place your collar pieces wrong sides together and pin along the bottom (notched) edge. It may help to mark the line you want to sew along, for the notched portion, to assure you get a nice even and centered notch. Sew just along the bottom edge of the collar.
Trim corners and carefully clip your notch as close to the stitching as possible – but don’t snip the stitching!
Flip your collar right side out, use a chopstick or something to push all the corners out and press.
Lay the collar on top of one of your bodice pieces, right sides facing up and baste the collar to the bodice.
Place the raw edge of one of your straps along the top edge of your bodice – measure a 1/2 inch down and a 1/2 in and pin. Do the same with the other strap on the other side of the bodice.
I didn’t photograph the next step, but place the other bodice piece on top, right sides together (with straps and collar sandwiched in between) and pin. Sew the bodice pieces together along the sides and top of the bodice (leaving the bottom edge open) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim seam allowance down to a 1/4 inch and clip corners. Flip right side out and press.
Gather the skirt front piece by sewing two basting lines along the top edge of the skirt. To baste, set your machine on the longest stitch and do not backstitch at the beginning or end. Leave the threads long and pull carefully to gather the skirt. You want the width to be 1/2 an inch longer than the bodice on each side. Leave that 1/2 inch ungathered.
Pin the bottom edge of the bodice to the top edge of the front skirt piece with right sides together. There should be 1/2 an inch of ungathered skirt sticking out on either side of the bodice.
Sew the skirt and bodice together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Finish this raw edge with your serger or a zig zag stitch. Press the bodice up and the seam allowance down.
To make the casing for the back skirt piece, fold and press the fabric just less than 1/2 an inch down along one of the long edges. Fold the fabric down again just over one inch – you’ll want the casing to be slightly wider than the 1″ elastic. Sew very close to the folded edge.
Using a safety pin, pull the elastic through the casing. Sew the elastic in place 1/2 an inch in from one side and then continue pulling elastic through to the other end. The skirt back piece should match the width of the skirt front piece, or be just a little bit smaller for a snug fit. Sew the other end of the elastic in place 1/2 an inch in from the end. Trim excess elastic.
Place the skirt front and back pieces together (right sides facing in) and pin along the side edges of the skirt. Sew together using a 1/2 an inch SA, trim and finish edges using a serger or zig zag stitch.
We’re almost done! Just a few more finishing touches. On the inside of your back skirt piece, hand sew two buttons to attach the straps to.
Then sew buttonholes on the ends of your straps.
Hooray! A sweet vintage frock for your sweet little one!
Please remember to add any of your you & mie inspired creations to the flickr pool! Oh and let me know if you have any questions or corrections. I wrote this when I was really sleepy
I hope you’re all doing well. I seriously can’t believe how quickly this summer is going by! It’s already AUGUST! And I went from having no real sewing agenda, to a list of about 15+ projects that I want to get done before the baby comes in a couple of months! I better get to it! What have you been working on?