Pinafores are easy and inexpensive to make. They also can save a good dress from accidental spills. Sewing a new pinafore is easier than replacing a dress. Try this project for a special little girl in your life. Making a pinafore for a special dress is easy if you made the dress yourself from a pattern. A few simple adaptations to the dress pattern will make a pinafore pattern just perfect for that dress. You will need the dress pattern, a small ruler or seam gauge, tracing paper or lightweight interfacing, and a marking pencil or water-erasable marking pen. For a little more money, you may use special pattern tracing material with a one-inch grid marked on lightweight interfacing; Tru-Grid and Do-Sew are two brands you may find in your local fabric store.
Plan the pinafore fabric and trim
As an example, let us assume the pinafore will be made of lightweight cotton batiste with self bias binding at the neckline and armholes. The pinafore will follow the lines of the dress (A-line, empire, princess, etc.) and should fit easily over the sleeves of the dress. Finished length can be the same as the dress or an inch or two shorter.
Make the pinafore pattern
Using the dress pattern, trace the front and back bodice and skirt pattern pieces onto tracing paper or featherweight interfacing, marking the neckline and armholes about one half inch in from the dress seam lines. These openings need to be larger so the pinafore can float over the dress. If the dress zips up the back, the back opening can remain the same. You will simply hem the back edge instead of adding a zipper to the pinafore. If the dress buttons up the back, you may use the “center back” lines as your new cutting lines. Mark the finished hemline on the skirt pattern pieces. Mark a cutting line one to four inches below the hemline. Use a narrower hem for heavier fabrics, a wide hem for sheer fabrics.
Cut and sew
Pin your new pinafore pattern to the pinafore fabric. Cut the pieces and enough bias strips for the neck and armhole bindings. Sew the shoulder seams and side seams. Bind the neckline and armholes. Hem the back opening, adding a button and loop at the top to fasten the pinafore. The back waist may be fastened by another button and loop, or ribbon ties may be added.
Hem the pinafore to complete the project. Once you complete one pinafore, you can plan adaptations to try on your next project.Adding a ruffle at the hem is easy to do. Add pockets by using a patch pocket pattern piece from another pattern or drafting your own pattern in a creative shape.