Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sewing: Child's Oilcloth Artist Smocks

I'm starting a DIY co-op preschool with some women in the neighborhood, called Joy School. I'm excited about being involved with "schooling" of this type for Audrey. It's a developmental approach and from what I've seen of the curriculum so far it looks really fun. There are three other girls in the group and the moms and I are all trying to get our list of supplies ready before we start on the 14th. I volunteered to do the artists smocks, because even though it suggests an old man's shirt would work I couldn't resist using their pattern to make some cute ones out of oilcloth--I love oil cloth. I thought it woudl be fun to have some cute smocks for school. Hopefully the girls will think it's fun to wear them. (My darling niece, Kate, modeling the smock above doesn't look like she's having a super fun time but I'm chalking it up to being camera shy.)

So I selected one of the more girly patterns: this darling pink strawberry. I used red seam binding to finish them off. I love pink and red! When I was in gradeschool I had my mom make me a red velvet suit, which I wore with a bubblegum colored ruffled shirt. Pink and red just makes me feel happy.

The pattern for this smock is part of the Joy School curriculum. I modified it a bit to make the neck lower and apron shorter. One could easily make their own pattern--laid out flat this piece looks like a rounded rectangle with rabbit ears that curve out. I made mine 26" tall from bottom to neck, 23" wide along the bottom, with "rabbit ears" that are 11" tall from the neck and about 4" wide.

I thought these turned out so cute that I decided to make a couple more out of the leftover oilcloth from Audrey's preschool bag so we have some from home.



Child’s Art Smock

  • Yardage: 1 yard (1 yard will do 2 child’s smocks)

  • Notions: 2 packages Wrights extra wide double-fold bias tape (1 package is 3 yards) (you need about 4 yards for one smock); 5” elastic (5/8”-1” wide) for each smock

  • How to: Trace the Joy School pattern (or the one you developed) on wrong side of oilcloth and cut around outline. Seam bind along entire perimeter. Pin edge of shoulder straps ("rabbit ears") to top curve of apron, forming an arm hole, and stitch shoulder straps along apron seam binding stitching line. Stitch elastic across the middle of the shoulder straps in the back.

**NOTE 4/28/10: I just went to one of my oilcloth resources, Mendel's, and read this warning on their site about using oilcloth for children under twelve. "There is no lead in the oilcloth, but the levels of Phthalates are too high to comply with the new standards for items which are going to be sold and are intended to be used by children under 12 years old. So you can still make and sell bags and other things created with oilcloth but items like bibs and splat-mats cannot be sold." What a bummer. I haven't had much luck finding the perfect substitute in a more health and enviro-friendly form. I need to research some more!**


Anonymous said...

Did you first hem the oil cloth then add seam binding and stitch around again or did you slide the cut edge into the binding and sew? Thanks:)

Anneliese said...

@Anonymous: yes, I slid the "raw" edge into the seam binding without hemming in first. The seam binding does all the work for you!

Anonymous said...

I clicked on the link for joy school but not finding the pattern, can you repost? Thanks!

Anneliese said...

@Anonymous: The actual pattern I used for this is part of the Joy School curriculum, which I'm not able to share. But if you look at the shape you may be able to draft something very similar!

Holly said...

Hi! I just wanted to say I found your post through a google search and LOVE this smock! I made one for my daughter who's going into 1st grade. Thanks so much for the measurements and description! I posted about my own over here, if you want to see it...

Thanks! =)

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