Tutorial: Make a smock using kids’ drawings

AUG 6, 2012 updated Apr 28, 2021

This week Anda Corrie from Etsy shares a tutorial for making a kid's art smock. She made one using fabric created from her daughter's own drawings! For more on how to turn drawings into fabric designs, check out Anda's previous Photoshop tutorial.


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This tutorial will show you how to create a very basic pattern and then sew a simple art smock for your child. In this example I’ve first created Spoonflower fabric based off my daughter’s artwork — the techniques I describe in this tutorial might be helpful if you want to do something similar.

Materials:

  • a few sheets of 8.5 x 11” paper
  • tape, scissors, pencil, & ruler
  • sewing machine, matching (or contrasting) thread
  • 3 yards of ¼” double-fold bias tape
  • 1 yard cotton quilting-weight fabric, or ½ yard of fabric for main and a 16”x6” scrap of fabric for pocket (for a toddler or preschool-aged child)

How-To: Tape two pieces of paper together along their long edge. If your child is older than 4 you may need to tape more pieces together — or just rustle up some bigger paper.

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Get a shirt that fits your child comfortably and lay it flat on the paper. Line up the center of the shirt to run along the longest side of your paper.

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Trace around neckline, shoulder, side, and bottom. Lift up the sleeve a bit and carefully trace along sleeve seam. Now add ½” seam allowance at shoulder and an extra inch to the side, as shown in the photo.

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Cut two pieces of your main fabric from this pattern. On your pattern piece, measure 5” from bottom and draw a straight horizontal line, then cut off that part. This is for your pocket. 

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Cut one piece of pocket fabric on fold — it can be the same fabric or choose a different fabric.

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Sew bias tape along top edge of pocket piece.

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Line up pocket to bottom of front piece, pin and then baste around the edges to hold it in place. 

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Measure halfway point and sew a perpendicular straight stitch to connect pocket at center as shown (creating two pockets).  

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Sew shoulders. Use a serger if you have one but a straight stitch will do fine. I like to use French seams* purely because they look nice.

*French seams in a nutshell: with fabric wrong side together, sew a straight stitch using a ¼” seam. Trim fabric as close as you can to where you’ve sewn. Press down seam and turn smock inside out so right sides are together. Now sew a ⅜” seam and press. The seam is now hidden and looks very smart, I think! This technique is more often used for delicate fabrics like silk… but to me they make everything look better.

Open up smock, measure to center of front neckline and cut a 4” slit. 

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Carefully sew bias tape around slit.

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Now measure 36” of bias tape and sew around neckline, leaving about 8” at each end. Those 8” ends will become the tie at the neckline. 

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Sew bias tape around (open) sleeves. 

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Sew up the sides of smock. Again, you can use a serger, a straight stitch, or French seams as I’ve done in the photos.

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Turn smock right-side out again and sew the last of your bias tape around the bottom to hem the smock. You’re all done! 

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About Our Guest Blogger

Andasidosmiling
Anda Corrie is an American illustrator, Etsy designer, and émigré living in Berlin, Germany with her small family. In her spare time she obsesses over vintage children’s books, makes homemade schnapps, sews tiny dresses that her 4-year-old stubbornly refuses to wear, and draws. Visit her Spoonflower shop for some lovely hand drawn fabric designs and her Etsy shop, Boosterseat.

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