The Perfect Pinafore Dress!

During the last year I have been experimenting with making pinafore dresses for my daughter.  I have tried different ways and used various patterns but this has been my favourite.  Thought I’d make a record of how I did it just to remind myself for when I get the urge to do this again!!!

IMG_4979Tried to make it as easy as I could (no zips or buttons to fiddle around with just straight sewing and zig zag)!!

1.  Simplicity 2156 – I used two pieces from this Simplicity pattern to make the main body of my dress.  I didn’t follow the pattern exactly as it wasn’t quite what I was after.

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2.  Cut out main pattern pieces – I cut out pieces 7 and 8 and then cut them along the adjusting line as shown below.

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3.  Cut out the Dress pieces – I cut out the front and back pieces as shown below (using the pattern pieces as a whole piece even though I had cut them in two).  Although I cut this dress on the cross of the fabric I have found that this is not essential and the finished dress still fits if you don’t do this – there is just a little more give in the fabric if you do!.

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4.  Cut out contrasting Interface – Then cut out just the top sections of these pattern pieces from a contrasting fabric that will be used as the interfacing for the pinafore dress.

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5.  Cut out pockets and Trim – In addition to the main pieces of this dress I wanted to add pockets and a contrast edging for the bottom of the dress so I cut out a small pocket for the breast of the dress and a large pocket for the front.

My pockets were approximately rectangles of 12cm (w) x 13cm (h) and 26cm (w) x 19cm (h) but you can adjust these measurements to suit or leave them out altogether.  To finish the pockets I wanted a trim detail which I cut from contrasting fabric approximately 12 cm (w) x 3 cm (h) and 26 (w) x 3 cm (h).

Finally the trim for the bottom of the dress was approximately 100 cm (w) x 12cm (h).  This may need to be slightly longer for a larger dress – mine was for a 4 year old but you could take a rough measurement for the width from the bottom of your pattern pieces.

Here are all the pieces laid out.

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And a close look at the pockets (not that evenly cut but they’ll do!!!)

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6.  So where to START!!  …..Pockets!

First I  prepared the two pocket trims by pressing in the edges by about 0.5cm.

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7.  Then I sewed the trim to the top edges of each pocket about 4cm down from the unfinished top edge.  I like the detail of a zig zag but this could just as well be a straight stitch.

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Here are the pockets with the edges attached.

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8.  Press in the outside edges of each pocket about 0.5cm to 1cm.

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Prepare Pockets ready to sew/position – Fold each pocket in half and press.  This gives you a fold mark which you will be able to used to position the pocket on the centre front of the dress.

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Below you can clearly see the fold in the fabric which you can use as a guide to help you position your pocket on your dress.

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9.  Finish top edge of the Pocket – Now sew a zig zag stitch across the folded edge of the top of the pocket to secure the fold and finish the edge.

10.  Position Pockets – Press the front of the dress in half and press to give a fold line in the centre of the dress.  This will help you to position the pockets centrally.

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11.  Pin the pocket to the dress using the fold lines to help position the pockets where you want them to sit on the dress.

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Below are the pockets pinned to the front of the dress.

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12.  Stitch the pockets in place.  Here is the large bottom pocket stitched in place with a straight running stitch.  As it is such a large pocket it is better to stitch down the centre line as well to make two pockets, one for each little hand.  (If you don’t do this the large pocket tends to gape out a little).

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13.  Sew the front and back of the dress together at the shoulder and side seams.

14.  Sew the interfacing together at the shoulders and side seams and turn under the bottom seam of the interfacing and zig-zag to finish.

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15.  Pin the dress and interfacing together at the neckline – right sides together and matching up the shoulder and side seams.

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16.  Press a small 0.5 cm seam in around the armholes of the dress and facing (clipping seams where necessary and tack the dress and interfacing together.  Then use a zig-zag stitch very close the to the edge of the fabric to stitch and complete the armholes.

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17.  Attach the contrasting edging around the bottom of the dress (right sides together) with a small hem allowance (I used the edge of the sewing machine foot as a guide – approx 0.5 cm.

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18. To finish the hem I created a fold with the main fabric of the dress and capture my raw edges inside the fold and then topstitch on top.  This creates a really neat finish to complete the bottom of the dress.

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