How to make a simple kid’s paint smock

Being a thrift store junkie I have fallen victim to the fifty cent impulse buy of colorful cotton handkerchiefs. I love them! I’ve used them for bias tape, I’ve used them for appliques. Most adorably, I’ve used them for aprons and paint smocks. I’ve sold these in my store, I sold a few at my Lehmann’s Hardware show, and I’ve made a couple for my own kids.

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For this tutorial I chose a very kid friendly, Valentines Day friendly heart hankie. I picked some coordinating scraps and lace and got down to business.

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First off, to make cutting and sewing easier, give the hankie a quick once over with your iron.

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Then fold the hankie in half, like a rectangle, and cut off the top corners, as shown above. The cuts should be about 7″ from the corner on the top and 8″ from the corner on the side.

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When it’s unfolded it should look a whole lot like a strapless apron.

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That’s where my favorite finishing technique comes in, the bias trim! For this project I use a quarter inch trim, and make it using a similar technique as described in the t-shirt-bag tutorial.

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Cut two pieces of trim measuring one yard each. Sew it over the curved cut edge with a zig zag stitch catching the front and back with one pass. There will be long tails at the top and sides, these should also be zig zagged and will become the neck and back straps for the smock.

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Rather than sew the raw ends closed I just tied them into a little knot to keep them from unraveling. It looks nice this way and it saves a step.

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Using the same fabric as the bias trim I cut a rectangle to embellish with lace and make into an accessories pocket. Size is up to you, mine is about 6″ by 5 1/2″.

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I found a 2 year old sewing helper and stitched the white lace over the finished edge of the top of the pocket. Then we made crayon/scissors holders by sewing vertical stitches on elastic lace across the front of the pocket. To finish the sides of the pocket I folded the raw edge under a quarter inch and stitched all the way around.

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Once I found a place just right for the pocket I stitched around it. This place looks good!

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Stitch stitch stitch stitch….

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Look at that! Armed with scissors and markers! Now you can color the world and keep your very important sun dress free from smudges. Phew!

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3 Responses to “How to make a simple kid’s paint smock”


  1. 2 Elizabeth January 21, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I love it! So cute!

    How big is that hanky? I don’t recall them being so huge, lol, but then I don’t look at them often.

  2. 3 devona January 21, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    It’s a regular sized Bandanna sized Hankie. It’s not a women’s scarf, more of a man’s size.

    Thanks guys!


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Creating unique fashion from fortunate thrift store discoveries. And otherwise making our house a home, on the cheap.

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