Thursday, September 15, 2011

Art Smock and Mat - Easy as 1-2-3!

In conjunction with my daughters Little Artist Party, I finally got around to making my girls some much needed art smocks.

I wanted it to be very simple, and of course, kid friendly. Meaning they can put it on and take it off all by themselves. There are no tricky side or back ties to fiddle with. After having these around for a week, I'm not sure how we managed to create without them.

With the leftover fabric I had, I also made an art mat for them to cover the tables with. Much improved from the newspaper we used to lay down that would stick to the table like glue if any water or paint soaked it. And I am here to tell you that these are so easy, any beginner sewer can spit one of these out in no time.

Let me show you how I did it in 3 EASY STEPS!

But first, a little about the supplies. I picked up 1 yard of oilcloth from Joann's. Oilcloth has the ability to wipe right down. They don't have a huge selection, but I thought this fabric was perfect for the job. Bring a coupon! I neglected to check how wide it was, but it must have been 90 inches wide, because I managed to make 2 art smocks and 2 mats with the one yard. Not bad.

The other thing you will need is a package of double fold bias. I bought the little stuff, 1/4 inch. If you are making a mat, buy 2 packages.

Lastly, you will need a tiny bit of Velcro.

Step 1: Cut

1. You will need to cut a rectangle to the measurements of 34 x 15 inches. Adjust if you need to on length or width, but those are the numbers I used to fit my 3 and 5 year old's. I imagine they will suite them well for a few more years.
2. Fold in half lengthwise, and then fold in half width-wise. Mark the center of the smock with a pin.
3. Open it back up, (just the width-wise fold). Find something round you can use to trace the neck hole. In my case, I found the bottom of a garbage can that looked like it could serve me well. You need to have your hold large enough to slip over your child's head with ease. Test on scrap fabric if needed. Place half of your circular item in the center of your smock, on the fold, and trace.
4. Cut on your markings. You now have the shape of your smock.

Before I continue, if you want to avoid corners use that same rounded item and round out the bottom corners also. Your results will be as shown below. I did prefer this method when it came binding time.

Step 2: Bind

1. If you will notice on your store bought binding, one side is ever so slightly not as wide as the other. Place the smaller side up, so then you always know you are stitching the back as well. Start anywhere on your smock - anywhere except a corner. Put the binding in place as you sew along. Also, be sure to increase your stitch length a bit. This gives a more professional top stitching look.
2. When you get to corners, angle them and simply stitch right over.
3. When your ends meet up, clip on an angle and fold the raw edge inside.
4. Stitch and back-stitch closed.

Don't forget to bind the neckline as well.

At this point, your smock should look something like this.

Step 3: Closure

1. From the folded top, measure 8 inches down. Pin on both sides to mark that 8 inches.
2. Place a small piece of Velcro under each pin and stitch in on securely. Do this for both the left and right sides of the smock.
3. You could stop there but I decided to sew on a button to cover the Velcro stitches on the outside. The button is purely for looks.

Now wasn't that easy!

If you have some leftover oilcloth, you have to make one of these mats. I think I've enjoyed this more than the smocks.

Your dimensions can be whatever you would like, but mine came to 24 x 18 inches, and it seems to be perfect for holding artwork and paint plates.

You can square the corners,

Or round them.

Either way, they are going to love it.

But probably not as much as you will.

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Chelsea said...

Could you please make a classroom full of these? Love it! I'm going to have to put my fashion class to work for my preschool class!!

Brittany said...

I saw this on TT&J and had to come check it out. This is adorable!Thanks for sharing the tutorial. My daughter could REALLY use one of these! Maybe I'll make it for Christmas!

Nicole Mariana said...

I love this art smock. My mom made me one like it when I was little! I just found your blog through a blog hop, I love it. If you're interested please take a look at my blog at and if you like it PLEASE be a follower!

XoXo Nicole Mariana

Lorene (just Lu) said...

Popping over from Helping Little Hands -- LOVE this! My little guy definitely needs one of these -- thanks!

Robyn... Pen Pals and Picture Books said...

Really great tutorial. I just pinned it! very cool. I'm coming by via helping little hands. Your blog looks wonderful! I just started following- would love to have you stop by mine sometime. You'll find me and