The mini pinny is a classic children's dress, perfect for personalising and making for all seasons.
To make the Mini Pinny dress you will need to buy the pattern from our shop. The pattern comes with full instructions and diagrams, but you can use this sew-along if you would like extra help.
I've made the dress in the tutorial out of a light-weight cotton lawn, which is perfect for summer, but it can also be made up in denims or corduroy fabric for layering up in the cooler months. You can also personalise this dress with applique, pockets or lining fabrics, which I will write tutorials for soon.
Before you begin
What to have to hand: Sharp fabric scissors, long sharp pins, tape measure, sewing machine with straight stitch and a zig zag stitch (or an overlocker) and buttonhole foot.
Preparing your pattern: Using paper scissors ROUGHLY cut out all the pattern pieces Using the measurement chart determine what size to cut the pattern pieces and cut out following the size key on the pattern. If your measurements land between sizes go for the larger one.
The seam allowance is 1.5cm (5/8") inch throughout.
Cut out your pattern
Check the lay plan for how to lay out your pattern pieces. Fold your fabric as shown in the lay plan diagram. Place all pattern pieces marked “place on fold” along the folded edge of the fabric.
Pin all the corners of the pattern first before continuing to pin the paper to the fabric all around the edge of each pattern piece. Fabric weights will also help to stop the fabric wiggling around whilst you are pinning but take these off to help you cut the fabric.
Cut out 1 front, 1 back, 1 front facing and 1 back facing- all on the fold. If you are using lighter weight fabric (cotton lawn/poplin) also cut out 1 front and 1 back facing on the fold in light weight fusible interfacing. Use an iron to fuse the interfacing onto the wrong side of the facing panels.
Using sharp fabric scissors will make cutting all fabrics so much easier. As you cut try to keep the fabric fairly flat to the table.
Finish your edges
Start by finishing the raw edges of the front and back panels at the side edges only. If you are using heavy weight fabric finish the hem edges too. Finish the bottom curved edge of the facing panels also.
The edges of woven fabrics will fray so you need to finish the edges with one of the following methods:
- Overlocking: Use an overlocking machine to finish the edges of the seams. Try not to cut off any of the seam allowance.
- Overcasting: This stitch looks a bit like mountains and valleys. Some machines have a special foot to use with this stitch to keep the fabric really flat. Line up the edges of the fabric with the gap in the foot and use the protruding leg to guide the fabric
- Zigzag stitch: Set your machine to a medium length and wide zigzag - this will reduce rolling or puckering of the seams
- French Seams: Sewing each seam twice - first with the garment wrong sides together then again with the garment right sides together- to enclose the raw edges and provide a tidy and strong finish.
I've overcast the seams in this sample.
Sew the Side Seams
When sewing woven fabrics, use a straight stitch with a length setting of approx 2.5mm - this should be the default on most modern machines.
Place the main back and front panels with right sides together and sew the side seams.
With right sides together, sew the front facing to the back facing at the facing side seams
Press ALL the seams open.
Attach the Facing
Turn the main dress to the right way out and place the facings (inside out) over the top of this with the right sides together. Align the facing and main dress neckline edges, stating at the seams, and pin.
Stitch all around the neckline, including the straps, to join the facing to the main dress.
Trim the seams and topstich
Snip the corners and clip into the curved seams every 1cm.
Turn the facing to the inside of the dress and press the neckline edges flat.
Top stitch around the neckline 1cm (3/8 inch) from the edge - you may wish to make your stitch length a bit longer for the topstitching as it looks nicer - I used 3.5mm stitch length.
Sew the Button Holes
Mark the position of the buttonhole using the paper pattern as a guide and stitch your button holes.
Put a pin horizontally through the end of the button hole and use an un-picker or small embroidery scissors to open-up the button hole.
Mark the button position and hand stitch on the buttons to the back straps. There are 2 positions marked for buttons on the strap so the dress can grow with you child.
Hem the Dress
Press up the hem by 1cm and then another 1cm for lightweight fabric or finish the raw edge and turn up just 1cm if using heavier weight fabric.
Pin and topstitch the hem remembering to change to a longer stitch length if you used this previously.