art smock tutorial

Project Design Team Wednesday ~ Art Smock Tutorial


Hi, sewing friends!  It’s Becky from U Create again! I love contributing to the Riley Blake Blog!  I hope you will love this little project as much as my baby girl loves the end result.

My preschoolers LOVES to paint!  I am not talking about the dollar store water colors either.  She likes the acrylic paint “that mommy uses.” So I usually put an old shirt of mine over her clothes and let her paint shoe boxes and butcher paper.  That is until I was introduced to Riley Blake’s Laminate Fabrics.  I knew EXACTLY what to make with it: an Art Smock for the little one.
Supply List:
1/2 yard of Riley Blake Laminate Fabric
Butcher paper to create the pattern
a sundress to create the pattern
Sewing Essentials: Matching thread, pins, Sew machine, scissors, serger (if you have one)

So why am I showing you a picture of a sun dress?  This is exactly what I used to create the pattern for the art smock tutorial.  Grab a sharpie, butcher paper (sometimes I use old wrapping paper) and the sun dress and let’s make a pattern.
I folded the dress in half so the front of the dress is facing outward and traced around it adding an inch around as I drew; I didn’t trace right next to the dress.  I didn’t make the pattern as long as the dress. The Art Smock measures 21 inches from shoulder to bottom hem.  Rather than creating a straight line across the bottom, make sure to add a slight curve.  That creates the front pattern.
Then I folded the dress in half so the back is facing outward and traced around it, also adding an inch around as I went.  However, I added an extreme curve to the bottom of the back (so it wouldn’t look like a dress and would look more like a smock). This back pattern isn’t to be cut on the fold.  It’s actually two pieces…unlike the front.
I added the inch around for seam allowance and ease.  I didn’t want the art smock to be as tight as the dress is.
This photo is a rough draft of my pattern. Of course, it is not to scale; I am just using it to show you what the pieces look like.

1.  Cut out your laminate fabric using your hand drawn pattern.

2.  Sew the shoulders first.  Put right sides together and sew the back piece to the front at the shoulder.  Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

This photo shows one side sewn on and the other not yet sewn.  It will begin to look like ears attached to the front of a dress.

3.  Top-stitch the shoulder seam.  Top-stitching is just adding a tiny stitch on the seam you just sewed together.

Above you can see one side is top-stitched down and looks nice and the other is just sewn together without the finishing top-stitch.  I always add a top-stitch because it just makes the garment look

4.  You’ve created the bunny ear look now. :)  Before we sew the sides together, we are going to finish the raw edges.

I have found that it is easier to hem the arm holes and around the unfinished raw edges now rather than trying to do it when the garment is completely sewn.  Wrong or right, that is the best way I have found for me.

5.  Serge or zig zag stitch the raw edges like I have shown above. Also do the same to the bottom front hem.  (I didn’t show that.)

This photo is just to show you what I mean by serging and zig zag stitching.  The only part NOT sewn on at this point is the sides where we will sew the garment together.

6.  Because I CANNOT iron the laminate fabric to create the crease where I would sew and I don’t like pinning the fabric, I used the serged stitch as the guide to where I would hem the raw edges.  I just folded it over as I went.

The bobbin thread ends up being your top-stitch.  Above is a finished arm hole.

And here is the finished back.  Now all the raw edges are turned under and look finished.

7.  Next we are going to sew the sides together! Putting the right sides together, sew down the sides using 1/2 inch seam allowance.

8. Top-stitch down the side so it looks pretty.

9. Let’s add the back closure: Velcro!  This is where I tried the smock on my daughter to determine where I wanted the velcro.  If you don’t have your model handy, I placed the Velcro about 1.5 inches from the bottom of the arm hole.  Sew all around the Velcro.

10.  Add the other side of the Velcro to the inside of the back and sew all the way around it.

Ta-Da!  You are all done and your little one is ready to get messy.  The Laminate fabric wipes right off and is also perfect for bibs!   I love this stuff.

If you are a bit nervous to sew with the laminate, try this Roller Sewing Foot! It helps pull the fabric through.

Happy sewing!

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