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The Storybook Pinafore Short Dress – Tutorial Tuesday

I’m going to be honest with you, I’m already crazy about chickens, owls, daisies, books, basically everything you see in the Garden Roost collection by Elizabeth Grubaugh for Blend Fabrics, so it was love at first sight!  When I saw this collection I knew I needed the perfect pattern to showcase these playful prints.  I mean come on, there are owls riding on handlebars!

Right from the start I knew the Storybook Pinafore Dress would be perfect.  It’s a vintage style pinafore pattern available in baby and girl sizes, or as a bundle, and it has that old-fashioned farm-girl look that I was going for.

Also, if you select this pattern from the drop down menu on the blog, you’ll see that there are already a couple of pretty adorable hacks available, but I had to add one more.  I found my inspiration here with vintage Simplicity 7197 (picture borrowed from Vintage Patterns).

My girls often help me on our little suburban homestead, and although I would love for them to do so in full dresses, it just wouldn’t make the most sense.  The green short dress version in this simplicity pattern seemed most practical, so I included the Potato Chip Shorts pattern to complete my ensemble.  These shorts are perfect for the upcoming warm weather, don’t require a lot of fabric, and they’re available in sizes 12 months to 9/10 years.

Today I’ll show you how to use the Storybook Pinafore Dress and Potato Chip Shorts patterns to create this sweet vintage look.  Whether or not you want to throw in some chickens is up to you!

Storybook Pinafore Short Dress

To make the short dress, let’s begin with our pattern pieces and the changes we’ll need to make to them.

I started by using the measurements from the Cross Back Pinafore Tutorial for the added width to the waistband pieces and front skirt piece since I was eliminating the ties at the sides.  Here’s the chart for the added width for the waistband pieces (add this measurement to both sides of your waistband).

To the front skirt piece, just add 5″ to your width (I’ll get to the length a bit later).  I cut the back skirt width, straps, ruffles, and 2 bodice pieces per the pattern’s instructions.  I waited until my top portion was sewn together before cutting my skirt pieces.

First, assemble the bodice pieces, straps, and ruffles according to the pattern’s instructions.

Then place your waistband front and back pieces right sides together, sew at the short ends, and press seams open.  Repeat for lining waistband pieces.

Now place your waistband main fabric and lining right sides together, matching side seams.

Center your front bodice piece to your front waistband, and sandwich between the waistband and waistband liner.

Do the same with your back waistband and back bodice.

Sew around this seam using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Trim your seam allowance to a 1/4″.

Pull your waistband pieces down, wrong sides together, and press.  Edge stitch around the top of your waistband, close to the seam.  I love how this pinafore pattern frames these chickens too.

I did cut the skirt pieces shorter, but I didn’t cut them until after I put the entire top portion together.  I really wanted to ensure the proper length (actually I just really wanted to highlight those bike riding chickens!).  The Storybook pattern provides a chart with finished length measurements, so you can use that to figure out how much length you want to remove from the skirts if want to cut your pieces before constructing the top.  Keep in mind your hem allowance.

I made size 18-24 months for my girl, so I cut the front skirt piece 7.5″ long by 24.5″ wide and the back skirt piece 7.5″ long by 19.5″ wide (the back skirt piece gets some added gathering from the elastic added at the back waist).  The finished length for my dress according to the pattern is 17.5″, and my short dress from shoulder to hem came to 14.5″ (I’m going to add a little note here.  My girl’s chest measurement falls in the 18-24 months size range, but she is 4″ taller than the max height for this size.  If your child falls within the 18-24 months height range, you may want to cut your skirt pieces shorter than I did.).

Once your skirt pieces are cut, place them right sides together and sew them at the short sides, finishing these seams.  Sew gathering stitches along the top like step 2 of your pattern, then hem the bottom.

Press you waistband lining bottom edge under 3/8″, then push the lining out of the way.

Place your bodice inside your skirt piece with right sides together, matching up raw edges.  Before you gather your skirt, pin at your side seams, at center front, and at center back.

Gather your skirt and sew to the waistband using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Pull the skirt down and press at the waistband, careful to avoid pressing your gathers.  I also added an elastic channel to the back waistband so it can be worn without a top underneath.  To do this, just sew the back portion of the waistband down first, making a casing for your elastic.

I derived my elastic measurement by taking my child’s chest measurement and subtracting her waistband measurement from it.  Her measurement looked like this:  20.5″ – 12.375″ = 8.125″ or 8 1/8″.

You can use 3/4″ elastic, or simply cut off 1/8″ of your 1″ elastic like I did, and it fit perfectly.  Pull your elastic through and secure it at the side seam line when the elastic peaks out 1/2″, then pulling it through and securing at the other end in the same way. I tend to sew another row in the middle to keep the elastic from rolling by pulling the waistband taught as I sew.

Then sew your front waistband down and your short dress is done!

The Potato Chip Shorts are absolutely adorable in a mix of these prints.  The back yoke is a contrasting print that ties into the pinafore.

This really was a fun collection to play with, as you can see from my little chicken poking out of the pocket!  The little chickens and owls have so much personality, my girls just loved looking at them and figuring out just what they were up to.  The Garden Roost collection will be available in May so you can have some fun with it too!

I’m also thrilled with the way the Storybook Pinafore short dress hack turned out!  Isn’t it just so cute with leggings too?

You can find the Storybook Pinafore Dress and Potato Chip Shorts patterns in Tie Dye Diva’s new pattern shop!  If you haven’t seen the new site yet, take a look.  Also don’t forget the bundle and save discount, you know, to make your own sale!

I hope you enjoyed this little vintage inspired hack for the Storybook Pinafore Dress, and remember to look for our patterns in our dropdown menu, “See Posts by Pattern/Category”.  There are always lots of ideas and inspiration so you can get the most out of Tie Dye Diva’s patterns.  Enjoy!

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