This week after discussing the needs of the Activity Closet with Jerome and Theresa I decided to make a gift the Wanblee kids could use for art and other “messy” projects. Since having enough clothes (and clean ones) is always an issue on the rez I thought an art smock would be ideal, clothing remains clean and the kids could really let their imaginations run wild and become Picasso for the afternoon. I thought it would be cute to add pockets and fill them with some art supplies so the kids could do some creating at home and not just at the center.
I found some sheets in pretty decent condition and decided to use them instead of a print fabric, after all those budding Picasso’s might want to do a little decorating on their smocks. An old issue of Sew Beautiful magazine (issue 107) provided a wonderful pattern for a smock that just slips over the head of a 3-5 year old. The original pattern used bias tape around the arm and neck edges but I decided to make it more durable by lining the entire smock. A waterproof fabric could be used too but that makes the project a little more expensive.
First a lined pocket was sewn to the front ,side tabs were sewn to the back of the smock, then with lining and front right sides together I sewed around the outside of the piece leaving the entire neck edge open. I turned the smock right side out, closed the neck opening by turning the neck pieces under 1/4”and topstitched 1/8” around the neck edges and the smock. Finally I divided the front pocket into 3 parts by stitching two lines equally spaced in the pocket area, made buttonholes in the side tabs and sewed the buttons on the front. Velcro or snaps could be used on the tabs if you don’t like making buttonholes. At the end I added a design to the front of the smock for fun.
You can make a smock by following Figgy’s directions, also check out her blogspot. This one uses bias tape but attaches at the back, it could also be lined using the directions above. Nothing against bias tape, but for me it takes longer to make and sew together. Tape can be purchased ready made but I prefer to make my own to keep costs down, the cost of sewing notions has soared in the past few years.
I’ve also made some larger smocks for the center from men’s short sleeve shirts for the older children. Cut off the collar and turn the neckline under a ¼ inch twice and sew in place. Open the side seams just under the underarm and insert ribbon ties to each side so the smock can be pulled in for a better fit (worn with buttons in back). Long sleeve shirts can be used for the winter months which provides more coverage for clothing, just follow directions for the short sleeve version, cut off the cuff and make a casing and add elastic
You can find lots of free patterns online for smocks, many using recycled materials. On our pattern page you could use this Toddler Apron as an art smock. Please look at our Activity Closet list and consider making a donation to our project, and if you sew, a smock for a child. An old sheet and an hour of your time is all it takes.
Thanks from Sew For Kids.