How to make a pleated Pinafore dress of any size!
Today's article: Learn how to make any size pleated pinafore dress by creating your own pinafore dress pattern.
My daughter has asked for warmer dresses for the winter. I'm actually amazed at how many dresses (even during the holidays) have short sleeves that make worship quite cold in January. I love the look of pinafores dresses, so I decided to make her a nice fluted pinafora from a warm flannel. A pair of long sleeves and tights or tights and she'll be warm enough by spring!
Now I should warn you that this post is long. That's because first, I'll show you how to make your own model pieces so you can make this pinafore dress any size!
I've also included a 10-inch (25-inch waist) size for girls' dresses, so the process will be easier if you design it.
Below, I will introduce you to each step to sew a pineapple together. There is nothing very difficult about making this dress, but it has more steps than my usual sewing tutorials. That's because we'll sew it the right path, including all professional looking finishes.
Don't worry if you are more of a slim seam (which I am most of the time!). I love pinafors so much that I'm already working on a scam version that will use shortcuts. Check it out next month!
Create your own Pinafore dress model
Instructions on how to make your pinafore dress model look complicated as I've tried to be very thorough but to be honest it's not that difficult. You only have to create 4 different patterns, and they are all rectangles! So follow each step and you will be good to go.
To make this dress any size you want, you will first need to make some measurements. You will need four different sample pieces, so you will need four measurements.
1. PROMOTE REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE HEADS, measure the girl's waist. Measure over the shirt, like what she would wear under the pinafore, and hold the tape measure comfortably, not tight. The waistband model piece will be two inches high, plus two inches longer than the WAIST MEASUREMENT. (NOTE: it creates a waistline of about an inch to "dot" so it's not too tight.) You will need 2 pieces of belt band model.
So if the waist size was 25 inches, the waist pieces would be 2 inches long by 27 inches wide.
2. TO WORK FOR A SAMPLE PIECE, measured from the girl's waist to the knee or wherever you want your skirt to go. Add two inches to this figure to get the length of the skirt. The width of the skirt piece will be the double waist piece. You will need 1 piece of skirt.
In my example, the waist to knee measure 18 inches. So the skirt piece will be 20 inches long by 54 inches wide (that's double 27 from the waist at the waist).
3. TAKE THE PINAFOR SQUARE SAMPLE, measure the size of the area that will sit against the girl's chest. It seems to me the easiest way to hold a piece of paper and cut it to look good. Measure it and then add one inch of seam to the allowable height and width. You will need 2 pinafore squares.
In my example, the square ended with a 7 × 7 inch so the pinafore piece will be cut 8 inches wide by 8 inches long. Please note that this piece does not have to be exactly square – I really wish I had made the mine inches wider than it is long.
4. USE WORK TABLES, measured from above, where the area will sit above the shoulder and back down to the waist, crossing the cross. Add about 4 inches to this number to get the strap length (this will make the straps a lot long and we can shorten it later). Each piece of strap is 3 inches wide. You will need 2 pieces of strap.
In my example, the top of the square is 21 inches above the shoulder to the waist. So my straps will be each 25 inches long and 3 inches wide.
If you want, you can make paper pattern pieces for your pinafore dress, but since all four pieces are rectangles, you don't need them. You can cut pieces using newly created measurements.
What fabric should I use and how much will I need?
You want to use a woven (non-elastic) fabric for this pinafor. I use a flannel which is nice because it is durable but not too thick to fold. Medium weight fabric is best. If you choose to use a lighter fabric, you may want to iron out the strap and waistband pieces (and maybe the pinafore square).
Be sure to wash and dry the fabric before you begin.
How much fabric you will need will depend on the size of the dress you make as well as how long you want the dress. Once you have the size of the pieces, you can figure out how they will fit into your fabric. I recommend that you use a 60 inch wide cloth if possible as it will be much easier to insert the skirt piece.
From my top chart you can see how the model pieces I needed for a size 10 dress fit into a 1.5-inch, 60-inch wide fabric. I could have been away by a quarter of a meter, but it's always good to get a small extra, especially since most fabrics shrink when they are washed and dried.
Please note that you will also need a 7 inch invisible zipper.
NOTE to create models for larger sizes
Please note: If you use a 60-inch wide fabric, you will be able to cut pieces as instructed to a 28-inch waist, which will cover most girls' sizes and small adult sizes. If you want to make this skirt for someone with a larger waist (like me!), You have two options:
First, you can simply cut the skirt piece across the width of the fabric (60 inches), no matter what your waist length. This will require some adjustments when pulling the skirt; that is, you will not be able to insert as many folds, otherwise the folds will have to be smaller. You can simply play with cracking to make it work. This option is the simplest, but the skirt won't come full.
Second, if you really want your skirt to be full, you will need to create a skirt piece that is twice the size of your waist. Do this by cutting two pieces of skirt, each + 1 inch in your waist. Cut one piece in half widths, then sew one half piece on each side. This will give you a skirt piece that is twice the size of the waist with a seam on each side. It will require more fabric (extra yarn that matches the length of your skirt piece).
NOTE on using plaid fabrics
PLEASE NOTE when cutting the fabric pieces when using checkered fabric. Make sure that the vertical center of the pinafore squares, waistband and skirt pieces is located on the line where two colors meet, Is NOT the center of the square. This will make merging centers and creasing a lot easier.
Ok, the hard part is done and now it's time to sew this dress!
How to make a Pinafore dress: sew the straps
Fold each strap lengthwise in half and sew along the long edge using a small 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Turn the right side of the straps outwards. Iron.
If desired, place the top edges along both long edges. It is not necessary, but it still gives a professional look.
How to Make a Pinafore Dress: Sew a Pinafore square
Place one square of pinafore on the table with the right side up. Place the strap a little over half an inch on each side and pin as shown below.
Place the second pinafore square above the first one facing right. Pin one side up and the other side down. Sew with a half inch seam allowance. Be sure not to catch the tape at the side seams.
Clip in the upper corners and rotate the pinafore square to the right. If desired, press well and place along 3 stitched edges.
How to make a Pinafore dress: Assemble the skirt
Place the piece on the waist on the table. Mark the center. Place the skirt piece under it. Mark the center.
Starting from the center of the skirt, measure and clip at two inches on both the right and left. The photo below has numbered pins, where 0 is the center, then 1, 2, 3 and so on.
Grasp pin 2 and align with pin 1 by folding excess fabric under center. This creates your first fold. Clip the pleat to secure it.
Then take pin 4 and align it with pin 3, creating another pleat. Continue to fold from center to outside on each side until your skirt piece is approximately equal to your waistband piece (the skirt on each side may end up slightly wider than the waistline, which is fine).
NOTE: You do not want the folds to be directly on the edges of the belt because you will install a zipper there. Make sure the last crease is 1.5 inches from the waistband. If you have a crease very near the end, just remove that crease.
NOTE: Your folds need not be 2 inches apart! I did it just because it's easy. But if you want to have fewer creases, feel free to move them apart or make your creases shallower. If your skirt piece is not twice the size of your waist, you will need to add fewer folds or leave them farther away. Just play with a gap until your skirt piece is approximately equal to your waist.
When creating your folds, press them down about 2 inches from the top.
Sew over the top of the folds, 1/4 inch from the edge to remain in place.
Then place one piece of waistband along the upper edge of the pleated skirt, aligning it with the middle and the right sides. Sew the waistband piece to the skirt using 1/2 inch seam allowance and press.
Pull up the piece of belt tape and press the seam allowance upwards. Topstitch (if you want) above the seam allowance. This is done in the photo above.
How to make a Pinafore dress: Install a zipper
At this point you want to wrap the skirt around the girl and clip the sides together at the back where it feels most comfortable. Make sure the girl wears all the shirt she usually wears under the pinafore when you do.
Note where the two pieces should meet. Add 1/2 inch on each side to get the amount of stitches and at this point trim the excess fabric.
You will now install an invisible zipper. zipper teeth start 1/2 inch below the waist. This probably means that zipper tape will be located just above the upper belt as shown below.
And you need to help install an invisible zipper, this is great tutorial. Training uses an invisible zipper foot, but you don't really need it. You can use the usual pressure foot; but be sure to first press the zipper tape and then sew it even 1/8 inch from the zipper feet.
Sew the other back seam and press open.
How to Make a Pinafore Dress: Attach a Pinafore
Ok, now the skirt is sewn and the pinafore is sewn and it's time to knit it.
Find and mark the front center of the skirt's waist. Place the pinafore square above the skirt, aligning the raw edges and center points. Pin. (If you want pinafore can be sewn to the skirt, just use the 1/4 inch seam allowance.)
THEN align and clip the other waistband (now known as belt belt) to the waist of the skirt, placing a pinafora in the middle.
The waistband edges should be 1/2 inch behind the zipper as shown below:
Sew everything at the top by sewing the waistband to the waistband (with pinafora in the middle).
Now we finish the finish to make the dress look tidy and very professional.
Press the waistband up and the seam allowance down. Go ahead and, if you wish, make a seam allowance starting and ending at 1/2 inch from the zipper.
You should also cut the top 1/4 inch of the cladding and press:
Now you can fold the waistband inwards and it will completely cover the seams at the top and bottom of the waistband. Put the short edge closest to the zipper as well.
Snap it down and sew on the outside seam between skirt and waist. This is called "ditching".
You also want to sew it around the edge of the zipper and pull it in your hand so it's out of the zipper path.
How to Make a Pinafore Dress: Decoration
Ok, almost there! Now you can try on the dress for your girl and decide where you want to fasten the straps on the back. You can sew the strap in place OR attach the buttons to the waistband (or outside). If you add buttons, you will need to finish the ends of the straps and add a buttonhole.
I discovered that with my open zipper my daughter could pull on the dress and pull it off without the straps needed. So I just sewed the straps on the back of the dress. I sew on both sides of the thigh line.
The last step is to fold the bottom 1/2 inches, then 1/2 inches and sew around the bottom. Pliss done!