Get ready for beach season with this fun sewing project created by Ceri Staziker! She shares how to stitch a sweet cover-up for your kids along with a downloadable PDF to create your own custom sewing pattern!
This is an easy, step-by-step sewing tutorial to create a Minky beach cover-up for a child aged approximately 4-8 years. The tutorial uses my cut-and-sew patterns which can be found here. Alternatively, you can download my free PDF pattern to create a version from your own fabric designs.
I use cotton twill tape to stabilize and neaten vulnerable seams and hems in this tutorial, so you do not need to use a serger to complete this project despite the stretchy nature of the Minky fabric. A regular sewing machine will work perfectly! However, if you are unsure, there are many helpful online articles and tutorials regarding sewing with knits on a regular sewing machine. If you do have a serger however, feel free to use that if you wish.
1. Cut out all of the pattern pieces.
2. Cut two strips of twill tape 8.5 inches long. On the reverse side, align the twill tape with the bottom edge of the POCKET, and also with the centre of the pre-printed guidelines on the front side. Baste in place.
3. Machine stitch on the front side of the pocket, in the direction of the nap, along the pre-printed guidelines. The twill tape will act as a strong reinforcement for the pocket separators. Press the tape with a warm iron (use the synthetic setting) on the wrong side of the Minky.
4. Fold over the top of the pocket towards the wrong side, 0.5 inches deep. Cut another strip of twill tape 18.5 inches long. Place it over the raw edge of your fold and baste in place. Machine stitch two rows at both edges to create a firm, non-stretchy hem. Press the tape with a warm iron on the wrong side of the Minky.
5. Pin then baste the pocket to the front piece of the cover-up. Align the bottom corners first when pinning. It is really important to baste the pocket securely to the front piece because the nap of the Minky can cause the two pieces of fabric to move around when machine sewing.
6. Machine stitch along the pre-printed guidelines (on top of your previous machine stitching), in the direction of the nap, to create the pocket dividers. Do not remove the basting until the garment is complete.
7. Cut two strips of twill tape 4.5 inches long. Lay them on the reverse side of the shoulders, on the BACK of the cover-up. Baste in place.
Lay the BACK piece onto the FRONT piece with right sides together. Baste at the shoulders and then machine stitch a 3/8 inch seam. The twill tape will reinforce the shoulders and stop them from stretching.
8. With right sides together, pin and then machine stitch the HOOD LINING pieces (sateen) along the back edge. Seam allowance is 3/8 inch. Clip and press the seam.
With right sides together, pinning corners first, baste and then machine stitch the HOOD pieces (minky) along the back edge. Be careful not to stretch out the fabric as you sew. Seam allowance is 3/8 inch. There is no need to clip or press the Minky.
9. With right sides together, matching seams and corners first, pin and baste the HOOD LINING to the HOOD along the front edges. Machine stitch a 3/8 inch seam.
10. Turn the right way round and press the seam (on the lining side) so that the edge is crisp and it lies neatly.
11. With wrong sides together, pin and baste the two open neck edges of the hood and hood lining together, matching the middle seams.
12. Now comes the trickiest part — you’re going to attach the hood to the main body of the cover-up. It really isn’t that tricky if you take your time and baste the pieces securely, so have confidence!
With right sides together, pinning as you go, match the back seam of the HOOD LINING to the notch on the BACK piece. Bring together the two corners of the hood to match the notch on the FRONT. Baste securely, especially where the two corners of the hood meet in the front. This is the part which is most likely to wriggle out of place when you machine stitch it, so give it a few extra basting stitches.
13. You can either go ahead and serge this neck seam and skip to step 15, OR for extra neatness (or if you don’t have a serger) I like to do the following:
Cut a strip of twill tape about 24 inches long. Starting at the back of the neck, fold back the raw edge of the tape then pin and baste it along the neck hole (on the hood lining side). Align with the edge of the layers of fabric. Continue around until you get back to where you started. Overlap the edges of tape about ¼ of an inch. Now you are ready to machine stitch this seam (3/8 inch seam allowance).
14. Remove all of the basting from around the neck area. You will need to trim (very carefully) some of the bulk from this seam, avoiding the twill tape. Then wrap the free edge of the tape around the raw edge of the seam. Neatly enclose the join with some hand stitches. This gives a very neat (and strong) finish to the neck area. Well done, the hardest part is finished!
15. With right sides together, starting at both corners (A and C), pin the top of the sleeves to the armholes. Align the notch on the sleeve with the shoulder seam on the main body (C). Machine stitch, being very careful not to stretch out the minky as you sew. Seam allowance is 3/8 of an inch.
16. All of the pattern pieces are now attached and you’re on the homeward stretch! Lay out the garment, inside out. You are going to pin and baste the arms and side seams. Machine stitch this in one continuous seam on each side. Seam allowance is 3/8 of an inch. No fiddly setting-in of the sleeves — hooray!
Pin and baste, matching corners and under-arm seams first. Machine sew.
17. You are going to finish off your sleeves and bottom hem using the same twill tape method that you used in step 4 for the pocket.
For the sleeves, cut two strips of twill tape 14.5 inches long. Fold back a 0.5 inch hem on each sleeve, then pin and baste on the twill tape (folding back raw edges of the tape to hide them). Machine sew two rows of stitches to secure.
In exactly the same way, finish off the bottom hem using a strip of 38 inch twill tape. With a warm iron, press your seams on the wrong side to neaten them off.
Your beach cover-up is done!
And a special thanks to Marged and Tomos, my little neighbors, and the best models!
I’m a freelance graphic designer, working from home in an old cottage in the countryside on the outskirts of Cardiff (the capital city of Wales). I love to sew with my young daughter, and nothing gives me more pleasure than working with fabrics I’ve designed myself.