Hello there, Welcome to the Mouse House readers! I’m Jenn from A Jennuine Life and I am so happy to be a guest for Hayley. I have also been running a series on teaching kids to sew on my site as I teach my four (now five) year-old daughter Arden to sew.
Today I’m sharing a tutorial and free PDF pattern that your child can use to sew a reversible doll pinafore. The pattern has two sizes which should work for most 12″ or 15″ dolls. I wanted a project that would have a lot of impact without any tricky sewing. The crossover back allows for easy dressing and your child can help choose two different fabrics to use. This pattern has some new skills to learn: curved seams and clipping into the seam allowances to make for smoother seams.
I sewed a test pinafore to take step by step photos, and then Arden set to work making her own. The steps for your kid (with some help from you) to make their own reversible doll pinafore follow. I’ll call out the adult jobs as I go:
- Adults – Print out the pdf pattern found here. Print with no scaling and check the test square to be sure the print was accurate.
- Adults or older children – cut the two pattern pieces from the two fabrics. The front is cut on the fold and the back is one cut through two layers so one is reversed. You’ll have two fronts and four back pieces when finished.
- With right sides together (RST) sew each set of pieces together at the shoulder seams with 3/8″ seam allowance. This is typically the width of the presser foot to make for easy sewing. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
- Adults – press seams open. Pin or apply Wonder Tape to hold the two resulting pieces RST. Help your child sew along the curves along the bottom front, neckline, and the two underarms which wrap around to the opposite sides. Be sure to leave the straight side seams open.
- Help your child clip into the seam allowances. Inside curves which I think of as “frowns” as the seam allowances are towards you are clipped, and outside curves or “smiles” are notched. Clipping allows the seam allowance to open up and lay smoothly without pulling after turning, and notching reduces bulk and keeps the fabric from bunching once turned. Be sure not to cut through the stitching.
- Turn the pinafore right sides out through the openings at the shoulders. This might take a bit of work; I like to use a pencil eraser or the larger end of a chopstick to help turn.
- Adults – press the pinafore flat, making sure to pull the seams out to the edges and even so you’re not seeing the opposite fabric from either side. On the open sides of the front, press about 3/8″ to the inside.
- Slip the opposite back piece into the side opening on the front and pin or use Wonder Tape to hold in place. Repeat on the other side.
- Sew along this seam on the front piece close to the edge. This is a good place to try out a decorative stitch if you have one available on your machine.
Here’s Arden at work on her pinafore. She has really gotten the hang of guiding the fabric through the machine. I helped her a bit on the tighter curves at the neckline, but she did everything else solo!
This vintage Betsy Wetsy doll dressed more easily from the legs up since her arms don’t move, but this should be an easy on/easy off outfit for your little sewist to play with his or her favorite doll!
I’d love to see your kids’ finished pinafores; send me your photos at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can tag me on Instagram @jennuinelife or hashtag #tinysewists.