The most awesome pinafore ever

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This is not Laura Ingalls Wilder’s pinafore. No calico. No ruffles. This one is about as modern as you can get.

I didn’t know we needed one of these, even as I started to make it, but now that it’s finished all I can think is, doesn’t every little girl need a pinafore? For the big pockets to hold her treasures, if for no other reason? At least for this girl who picks up every leaf, flower, stick, rock, and bug she comes across. It would, of course, work great as an art smock or cooking apron, but my vision involves a magnifying glass in one pocket and a sketchbook and pencil in the other. (We’ll see what Maia’s vision involves… Probably bottle caps and dandelions.)

I used the pinafore pattern from Wendi Gratz’s Absolutely A-Line. It’s a little large (I went with size 5 and she still wears a 4), but it’ll give her some room to grow and will probably fit perfectly by this fall.


Here’s the back view of the pinafore.

Maia calls it a dress, but you can see why she needs to wear it over clothes. The tab is velcro so Maia can fasten it herself.


I asked Maia if she would like to draw pictures for the pockets and she said yes, of course.

I taped some muslin down taut and flat and got out the fabric crayons. We use these Pentel Dye Sticks and I really like them. They draw on smoothly like oil pastels and an iron sets the drawing.


This is pirate girl on the left (in a blanket) and slime (?!) on the right. How completely awesome is that? I think we all need pirate girl on our side.


I love creating with Maia in this way. And love that she’s excited about wearing an outfit with her own drawings on them or a skirt that she helped print the fabric for.

I’m trying to think of other ways to involve kids in making clothes. Let them help choose the fabric is an easy one. Embroider one of their drawings onto a shirt or dress is another. What else?

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  1. Jessica says

    I just love it. How old is Maia? My little girl is 2-1/2 and very process oriented right now. I look forward to gradually adding skill appropriate complexity to our projects. I remain impressed with your clever ideas. Do you have posts from when Maia was under 3?

  2. says

    Sooo cool. Treasure pockets are desperately needed around here. I think I’d add a zip to one of those pockets (that’s if I could sew zips!) as they are the favourite clothing aspect of the moment.

  3. says

    love it! i’m slowly trying to get my little girl involved too…i’m itching to try the tiny little fingerprint critters in ed emberley’s books. i love playing with scale on tees, making the focal point super-big or super-small:)

  4. says

    it looks great!
    Go the next step, get Maia to design some pictures, scan them into your computer and make them into a repeat pattern and print it at Spoonflower, I did this with some of Ebi-kun’s robot drawing then made him a bento bag and various other things from the fabric.

  5. says

    So super cute!
    To engage kids in making the clothes, how about:
    – Having them draw themselves in the clothes they’d like to have and then tell you about what they drew so you know what they want…
    – Having them use glue to put on the velcro or the buttons – even if you’re going to wind up sewing them on tighter later.
    – Having them hold the measuring tape when you’re cutting the fabric
    – Have them trace something on the fabric with that special chalk
    – Have them follow lines on the fabric to cut out squares
    – Test out the zippers/buttons/velcro as you’re putting them on

  6. says

    Thats’s awesome! my daughter is a dadelion and bottle cap collector too. The caps are her treasure!!

  7. Nancy says

    The pinafore is very cute! I love her drawings on the pockets. Have you tried using freezer paper to back the fabric before drawing so that you don’t have to tape it to your table? You iron it on the back side of the fabric, shiny side down, so that the fabric is much more stable and then peel it off after you heat set the paint/pastels etc. You can buy freezer paper at the grocery store in the plastic wrap section. It is mainly used to wrap meat for the freezer, but many quilters and artists use it to stabilize fabric.

  8. annette standrod says

    love it, love it, love it. I once made a pillow using the same technique but I used regular crayons. It was a long time ago but I think I ironed it to melt it in and then made the pillow. Of course, that wouldn’t work for clothes so I need to get those handy fabric crayons!

  9. says

    I don’t know how you keep up this pace. You are a huge inspiration to me. I don’t need any other craft resources, because you offer me about 10 times the projects I could do with my daughter. We made the watercolors today and plan to make the butterflies tomorrow. Thanks so much.

  10. says

    this is so awesome! could a boy where a pinafore? maybe a “lab coat”? ;-) LOOOVVVE the pirate/slime. we are very into pirates around here.

  11. says

    I have a 3 year old (4 next month) little boy and am so jealous of the pinafore! Any ideas on how to make a boy version??? Envisioning the “lab coat” being a little warm in the summer. Maybe a vest?

  12. Barbara Zaborowski says

    You could let her sew a design on the pockets. Use the big plastic needles at first and thread them with embroidery floss. The pockets will give her a set area to work in and you could even put the fabric in an embroidery hoop so she doesn’t pull the thread too tight.

  13. says

    Yes! I like that idea. She did some sewing with embroidery floss and hoop a while back, and some with just thread and no hoop more recently. She had a lot of fun doing it. Maybe for the next pockets…

  14. nina says

    That is one of the more fabulous things I’ve seen in a long time!! :) I’m glad she’s enjoying it.

  15. says

    Sorry I didn’t see this comment before! Maia is 4.5 now. If you look back in the archives you should find lots of posts from when she was younger. I started the blog when Maia was your daughter’s age.

  16. says

    Hi Jean, What a wonderful surprise to have you on Craft Schooling Sunday!I love this project and so happy to see you! Hope you’ll be back again soon! And thanks for your wonderful blog, you’re my hero!