Monday, 10 October 2011

Making a pinafore... sew simple!

You need a few simple measurements from your baby or child.
I am making this one for my neighbour, and good friend, Frauke's baby - Luise, who is about 7 1/2 months old.

1. Measure the width that the top of the pinafore should be.
2. Measure from the one edge of this to the middle of the arm pit - at the right height; not too high that it irritates the arm pit.
3. Measure the broadest part of the chest all the way around
4. Measure from armpit marker (armpit end of 2) to finished length of dress.
5. Measure from point 1. on front to 1. on back (over the shoulder) to determine how long the straps should be.

You will see I have drawn the blue line (1) in line with the shoulders - that is INCORRECT, but my picture is a bit basic! The measurement should be ABOUT in line with the armpit - you will be able to tell on your child.
You are done measuring!

Make your pattern.

Draw line 1 in the center of your silk pattern making paper
Measure 1/2 way between these and draw a line down at 90 °
Use a compass to draw measurement 2 in from each edge of line 1
Divide measurement 3 in half & use this measurement to join the 2 compass lines up
Draw line at length of 4 at an angle from lower edge of 2 to create the side of the dress.

Clear as mud?

That help? I hope so!
Now cut generously around this - in case you need to adjust. Place it against your child (or baby) and see if you need to make adjustments.

You will notice my left side looks better than my right - this is not serious - I will fold it in half & cut according to the better side to ensure the dress is perfectly balanced.

Once you have the pattern 100% to measurements, add your seam allowance around all sides - enough to double fold at top & around armholes and cut on fabric folded double so you have a back & front. If you use a plain fabric like I have, you can embellish it with a pocket in a contrast, or with an image appliqued on the front, with ribbon, with lace... the options are endless!

Cut out 2 straps as long as your measurement 6 with added length for a button hole, and double width so you can fold in half stitch down

Double fold over top & stitch down, add buttons to front - divide the seam roughly into thirds & place a button at each point. I have used bachelor buttons which are like the metal buttons on jeans and require no sewing. It is basically a thumb tack (drawing pin) on one side and the metal button on the other. Once they have been pressed together, you cannot undo them - safe for babies, and they suit the pinafore very well.

Then double fold your arm holes under & stitch with straight stitch.

Do the same on the back piece, without the buttons of course.

Now make your strap pieces. Fold in 1/2 length ways & iron down right sides together. Fold the ends under towards the wrong side & iron those down. Stitch the long side, right sides together. Turn right side out & iron. Now measure where your button hole must go, mark it with disappearing pen & stitch in. Then fold the ends under into a point - as per photo...

Stitch down.

Now join the straps to the back seam 1
Go over your stitches a couple of times. IF you are unsure of the placement, or the length, pin in place until you are done & can fit on child.

Now sew up the side seams, matching up at the armpit seam.
All you have left to do is hem the bottom, and you are done! You can also add a fringe or lace to the lower edge of the dress.

I cut my lower edge on this one in an arc to give it a cute finish & added crocheted lace to the edge.

NOTE: Since Luise tried it on, I have 2 suggestions...
either make it quite a bit wider that measurement 3 (about an extra 4cms) or add a zip down one side in the side seam - straight stitched zips are very easy. This will make it easier to get it on & off tiny people.

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