How to Sew a Pinafore: Turning an Old Dress Into a DIY Pinafore

Julia Rafael
by Julia Rafael
11 Materials
3 Hours

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to sew a pinafore dress. I started with a long oversized dress made from jersey material that is pretty thick. So, I decided to turn it into a DIY pinafore. Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Oversized dress or jersey type fabric
  • Newspaper
  • Tape
  • Buttons
  • Measuring tape
  • Pen
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Button footer
Long oversized dress before the DIY

Measuring the waist

1. Take your measurements

Start by measuring your waist and the desired length of your DIY pinafore dress. 

Making the DIY pinafore pattern on paper

2. Make the pattern

I didn’t have a piece of paper big enough for the pinafore dress sewing pattern, so I taped some newspaper together.

Now, let’s make the circle skirt part. To make the inner circle, take your waist measurement and divide it by Pi, which is 3.14. Then, measure the number from the corner of your paper, in increments. 

Measuring the pinafore dress sewing pattern

For the outer circle, take the desired skirt’s length + the inner circle measurement and measure that number in increments on your pattern paper, too.

Join the dots for both the inner and outer measurements, respectively. 

Cutting out the pinafore dress sewing pattern

DIY pinafore dress sewing pattern

Cut the outer circle as well as the inner circle. 

Placing the pattern on the dress

If you don't have an oversized skirt, then fold your fabric in half and place the pattern’s straight side on the fold.

Tracing around the pattern

In this case, I’m placing it in the middle, as shown. Trace around the pattern.

Cutting out the fabric

Then, cut out the pinafore dress sewing pattern. 

DIY circle skirt

3. Assemble the skirt

Place the layers right sides touching and sew one edge of the skirt. Do this with a normal straight stitch, and then a zigzag stitch. 

Cutting out fabric from the dress

4. Measure more pieces

With the leftover fabric from the dress, measure a rectangle for the center of the dress and another for the waistband of the skirt. 

Attaching the waistband

5. Attach the waistband

Pin the waistband of the skirt to the top edge of the skirt, right sides touching, and sew to secure. 

Pinning the waistband to the dress

Next, fold the upper edge of the waistband downward, pin, and sew to secure. 

Sewing down the side seam of the skirt

Sew down the side seam of the skirt, right sides facing. 

Cutting out the rectangle for the center

6. Assemble the center

For the center part of the skirt, cut a rectangle, and sew down three sides, right sides facing. You can make this as big or small as you like.

Cutting out long and thin strips for the straps

Then, cut out three long and thin rectangular pieces from each sleeve of the dress (so,six total). Attach the strips together by the short ends to create two long strips. 

Hemming the straps

Hem the strips on both sides with a single fold. 

Attaching the center piece to the skirt

Now, attach the center piece to the center of the skirt, right sides touching. Sew it down to secure. 

Sewing the straps to the back of the pinafore

Also, sew down the two fabric strips to the back of the dress, making sure each end is aligned evenly from one another. 

Marking the button and buttonhole placement

7. Attach the buttons

Lastly, make buttonholes on either end of center piece and attach the buttons to the ends of the straps.  

Making buttonholes

Here’s the buttonhole. 

Hand-sewing the buttons in place

Mark where you want the buttons to be placed and handsew them to the straps. 

DIY pinafore

How to sew a pinafore

How to sew a pinafore

Here’s the result! It came out really well and I’m happy with how this DIY pinafore dress turned out! I hope this DIY was useful for you, and that you now know how to make a simple pinafore dress at home.

Thanks for tuning in and let me know what you thought of this sewing project in the comments below. 

Suggested materials:
  • Oversized dress or jersey type fabric
  • Newspaper
  • Tape
See all materials

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