How I made Lian’s pinafore… a semi tutorial…

Kathie sent me this piece of dainty batiste embroidered fabric from a vintage baby dress (I’m pretty sure) but I was sort of intimidated to use it. I absolutely adored it and didn’t want to mess it up in any way! The best way to do that was to just “look” at it and not cut into it… BUT… I really wanted to use it for Lian’s red Christmas dress, so I put all my fears to the side and just jumped in. The first thing I had to do was get the creases out of it. I used my steamer and got them out…

This is how I envisioned it as a pinafore… I’m sure you can tell what it’s going to look like, right? If not, hang around and by the end of this post, you’ll know!

If you click on any of the pictures, they will enlarge.

This was my fabric piece… cut off at the top to make it the right length for a pinafore skirt…

I finished off the ends of the fabric by pressing them under and then topstitching the edges. Then I gathered the top edge of the fabric with 3 rows of basting. It was super delicate so I had to be very careful when I pulled up my threads…

Next, I measured around Lian’s waist and pulled my threads to “almost” that length. I didn’t want the pinafore to meet, but have about a 1/2″ space between the ends. I took a scrap of paper and put it down on my sewing machine and then laid the gathered skirt on the paper. Stitching through the paper would hold my gathers in place and stabilize it.

The stitches perforate the paper and make it easy to tear it away…but wait until you have your waistband stitched on… again, it’s a good stabilizer and keeps things from shifting…

I cut a piece of the batiste fabric to use as a waistband, and stitched it on.

NOW you can tear off the paper!!! Finish the back of the waistband with tiny hand stitches. I could have stitched it on the machine, but decided to do it by hand.

Next comes the bib part. I didn’t want to cover up ALL the red on the dress, so I used a piece of heirloom lace I had for the bib part and some dainty cotton lace for the straps. I did add a section of the “strap” lace to the bottom of the bib to add a little bit of length… This is how it looked…

I centered it on my waistband and stitched it on by hand…

…then finished up the backside by hand too…

Here’s what it’s looking like so far…

Next I pulled the straps to the back and pinned them in the right place… then stitched them down…

Here’s a look…not totally finished, but getting there…

You can see the back part of the pinafore waistband that is pinned in the back.

I decided to sew some soft Velcro on the band and add a “pre-tied” bow… that makes it SO much easier to dress the dolls…

Here’s the back all finished…

I think the red dress by itself is very pretty, but some might think it’s too plain without the pinafore. I was playing around and I’m going to include this little “belt” for a different look to the dress. It just slips on the button on the back on one end of the piece of lace and then loops onto the button with the other end of the lace… If the winner doesn’t use it or like it, it’s no big deal… I just thought it was kind of cute on the dress for a different look.

So, that’s how I made Lian’s pinafore.. now who’s going to try one?

Linda reminded me about the Fashion Show we were going to have… remember? I asked you to send me 1 or 2 pictures of a doll you have that has a favorite Christmas dress on. It can be a doll dress you made, or bought… doesn’t matter. It can be a new picture or an old one…Tell me why it’s your favorite and I’m going to show them in a post soon…

Well, I better get to bed… I never did get that nap, Joy!

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Yay–you got to sew!!

    I love that little pinafore–and that belt is cute, too! I wouldn’t have thought to do that with that piece of lace.

    I don’t think all of my LDs have Christmas outfits yet! I know one or two of them do. I’ll have to see if I have a picture on my computer I can send you.

    • HI Charlotte,
      YES, I did get to sew… and it was productive sewing too! I’m glad you liked Lian’s pinafore. I can’t remember the last one I made… probably for Nellie, years ago!
      I’m afraid my Christmas sewing is going to be very slim this year… maybe even reduced to one dress… Lian’s! It was a crazy Fall and since Thanksgiving, my life has been on overload with things to be done. Oh well, maybe I’ll have a GREAT Easter!
      Thanks Charlotte,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Jeanne, that pinafore is just the most dainty, delicate looking one I have ever seen! It’s sometimes hard to match up white of different laces, especially when you have an older piece to match them up with, but this is just so perfectly done! I’m so glad you got to get some sewing done today, finally! I also love the little lace ‘belt”! I love the lace on the cuffs of the sleeves too, and that adds to the dress so that it isn’t perfectly plain. I’m saying “love” a lot here!!
    A pretty little bow in her hair would finish it off and maybe if you had some tiny little jingle bells to add for her to hold. This is just going to be adorable for Lian and anyone else her size!

    • HI Linda and thank you for your sweet compliments on Lian’s pinafore. She does look pretty sweet in it, doesn’t she? I was thrilled to be back in my sewing room yesterday… not so much today… I worked on momma’s stuff, changing mail over, calling about canceling trash, sorting through her bills that she received the last 2 weeks, etc. It’s a mess, but I’ll get it figured out sooner or later… (probably later!)
      I took the Christmas towels to her today, and she LOVED them.. she hung them on a bar over one of her kitchen cabinets.. They looked so pretty! Thank you SO much for thinking of her. That was very sweet of you!
      I might do a bow for her hair, but I was working on a new hat pattern this morning. I might have to just show pictures of my pattern, but I’m hoping to cut out at least a prototype of it tonight… and see what it looks like stitched up… nothing big and heavy, but dainty and very girlie!
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. What do you think — black boots? A headband that matches the dress? Or white? I too like the lace belt, and, as Charlotte said, would not have thought of it. With the pre-tied bow, the back of the pinafore is as cute as the front. It would be fun to see how this outfit would look on a blonde or red-head, and with Janie, you could show both easily.

    It is great to have you back in your sewing room, only one of the places you belong, and this outfit definitely makes it worth the wait.

    • HI Marilyn,
      I do have a pair of black boots and might use them… I’ll have to see. I told Linda I cut out a new hat pattern this morning and was going to see if I could make it work… it’s just a sweet little girls hat… not heavy, but sweet as can be. I can see it in my mind… now I just need to get it perfected out of fabric…
      I might have to try the dress on Janie in a blonde wig.. or Emmie in a blonde wig…(she seems to be my forgotten girl right now!)
      It was wonderful to sit at my sewing room again.. I had a girl ask me at church Sunday, if I could give her sewing lessons in January.. she said it was on her bucket list and she wanted to learn from me! That was pretty flattering, I thought! :o)
      Thanks so much Marilyn,
      We are very cold here today and yesterday… in the teens and low 20’s with the wind chill factor… probably nothing compared to what you have in Colorado, but I’m too cold to suit me!
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Charlotte A. says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. You always do such an excellent job at them. I’m not sure when I will try one but I’m sure I will at some point. The pinafore is just beautiful. The dress is too so together they make a very special outfit.
    Hope you have a good day!
    Take care –

    • HI Charlotte,
      Thanks for the compliments on Lian’s dress set. I’m glad you like it.. She does too… now just the half slip, the thigh highs and her head piece… and of course her accessory… something Christmasy!
      Thanks Charlotte,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Lovely pinafore and dress. Perfect for the holidays ahead. Just think of all of the other dresses upon which it might also sparkle. A beautiful piece of fabric now has become a special heirloom. I vote for the big hairbow too. Or a simple headband.
    I don’t think I have any pictures of Christmas past, but I’ll take a look. I haven’t sewn anything since summer. Bad me.
    Know you are probably working behind the scenes on the dinner as well as many more things this week and here it is Friday. Hope you did get some rest last night at least.

    • HI Joy,
      I decided to leave it plain and just white in case the winner wanted to use it with other dresses… I think the fabric is pretty enough to stand on its own.
      Well, if my hat design fails, I guess I’ll be doing that pretty hair bow! :o)

      I was working on my Married couples Christmas party stuff… working on games, stuff for the favor bags and the candy jar! :o)
      I didn’t get that nap yesterday, but I did get some sleep last night.. I’ll catch up hopefully soon! (if you ever really can!)
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Dorothy in PA says:

    Jeanne, I love the outfit! The belt is a nice touch. Lian is stunning! I bet she doesn’t want to give up that dress. You might have to make another one for her to keep (smile).

    • HI Dorothy,
      I don’t think Lian wants to give it up… but she knows the drills around here… she’ll do it, because she knows there’ll be more…
      Thank you Dorothy,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Ohhh Jeanne! It’s soooo pretty Love love love it! I’m so happy to see you made it into your sewing studio. I hope you took that nap you talked about.
    Oops Happy Friday LOL almost forgot … I was lusting after that Christmas dress and nearly forgot to wish you all a Happy Friday. It’s snowing here, just a dusting… thank goodness it’s not the 2 feet they called for earlier this week!
    Enjoy your day.

    • LOL Missed that last bit sorry No nap for you … you are a naughty one! You need to recharge those batteries to get over that cold. Naps are allowed!

      • HI Ingrid,
        I was really happy to make it into my sewing room too. I watched the Great American Baking show as I was sewing… so I got in a good 2 hours of sewing! YAY! That hasn’t happened in a really long time…
        We’ve had some really cold temps here in southern Illinois, but no snow yet… maybe a few flurries in the morning… but so far, it’s just been very cold… in the teens and low 20’s for the wind chill factor.
        I”m glad naps are allowed… I need to take advantage of them more… but yesterday it didn’t happen… :o(
        Thank you Ingrid, and happy Friday to you too!
        Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Wow, this is a fun post. I will not be able to try it for a few weeks, but I can hardly wait to go through my laces and see what will work. thank you so much!

    • HI Kathleen,
      Oh, it’s so fun when you finally get to gather up all your laces and start on a pinafore… I hope if you get to one soon, that you enjoy it. They make little girls dress SO pretty!
      Thanks Kathleen,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Adorable!! I absolutely love pinafores on little girl dresses. That the wonderful thing about the dolls, they can wear something forever. thank you for the tutorial, I always love them and it will work for the PC/AG girls, just on a larger scale.
    Love the little belt. Is it an applique? Lian looks beautiful.
    I went to our garden store again yesterday. The one where I got my little woodland animals recently. The store usually changes the decor two or three times during mid-November to mid-December to showcase all the Christmas decor. This year the theme is a lot of woodland/natural items and then beautiful Czech and other European unique ornaments. Need to hit the antique store one more time next week to enjoy the antique/ vintage decor. Sorry you didn’t get a nap, I think those are for january, after the Christmas rush. LOL

    • Thank you Laura,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial on the Pinafore. I’ve always liked little girls in pinafores too… nothing is quite as sweet! The belt is just a length of a pretty Venise lace that I had… it went around Lian’s waist so perfectly, I just decided to throw it in and see what everyone thought.
      Your garden store sounds wonderful and a place to find fun gifts! We have one like that too…always something unique there!
      Yep, I’m waiting for January and a LONG NAP! :o)
      Thanks so much Laura,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. I love, love, love pinafores, and this one is especially pretty. I think it’s perfect over the red dress. I just realized I have that Christmas fabric, except mine is green. I haven’t figured out yet what I will make with it.

    • HI Carolyn,
      You should make a Christmas dress like mine…then you can wear it for St. Patrick’s day too… it’s still chilly in March… mine can be worn for Valentine’s Day… I love versatile fabric, don’t you?
      Thanks for your compliments, Carolyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

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