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Reversible Pinafore Dress for Toddlers

When I purchased my first batch of fabric for The Fabric Squirrel, my friend came round to "help". It was really just a way of her fabric shopping without her actually spending any money. A few of her favourites were Riley Blake's from the Dear Diary Range by Minki Kim. Minki appears as Zeriano on Instagram and she has a beautiful page; I would recommend you follow her for crafty inspiration, especially if you like bags!

With this fabric in mind, I wrote her little girl an IOU for a reversible pinafore dress for Christmas. I wasn't sure how to tackle it and didn't want to rush it while I was busy during the Christmas period. I didn't think she would mind it being a little late, she was only one after all.

I'm pleased to say I did it start to finish in under two hours. It is a really easy project if you have a few undisturbed sewing hours.

I used a dress that she currently fits in as a guide. I made it an inch or so bigger so she has room to grow into it, making it a size 18-24 months at my best guess. I thought having my own small human would make it easier when it came to baby sizes, but it has made it more confusing since he has never followed any age guides on clothes. With it being loosely fitted I would say it would fit up to a 2-3 year old.

EDIT 17/04/19 Over a year after first making it I have revisited the instructions and made it a little clearer around inserting the tabs. Some of the images turn into Miffy half way for this reason.


  • Pattern

  • 2 Metres of coordinating fabrics (pre washed)

  • 6 sets of KAM snaps and KAM pliers or sew in poppers

  • Sharp fabric scissors

  • Rotary cutter (optional)

  • Pins

*a 1cm seam allowance was used throughout and is allowed for on the pattern.

1. Print out your pattern and ensure the 1" guide measures 1" when printed so you know you have the right size. Cut out your pattern and piece it together. Unfortunately it was slightly wider than A4, hence the little extra triangle at the bottom that will need to be added. If you want a different size and you are feeling confident, you could try using this as a guide for the shape and an existing dress that is the size you want to fit it to. Remember to allow a seam allowance if you do.

2. Lay out your fabric and pin your pattern on the fold (or if you hate pinning I use stones as weights). I don't tend to use the natural crease in the fabric as it creates a lot of waste. You will need a front and back in each fabric. Plus 2 3.5" squares for the poppers on the side. I did one in each fabric.

If you have pinned you can use fabric scissors or a rotary cutter. If you have used weights like me I would stick to a rotary cutter or you will risk the fabric moving too much.

**Don't you just love my pattern weights?! The owls were a gift but the purple one is just a decoupaged stone. They are so pretty and make great gifts for fellow sewers.**

Once your fabric is cut, ensure the front and back match exactly. I went around and trimmed them down if they needed it. Accuracy is super important with this pattern because it is reversible, both sides need to be exactly the same.

3. Fold your 3.5" squares in half and sew down the two short edges, clip the corner, turn the right way and press. You could top stitch the edges at this point, but I decided not to because they will keep their shape with the KAM snaps.

4. Lay your two front pieces right sides together and sew from 3" down from the arm hole, up and around the curve of the armholes all the way round the straps to 3" down from the other side. Clip curves, turn out and press

5. Now with your back piece, place the tab close to the seam with the raw edges lined up. Sew from the edge of the tab and all the way around. Clip curves, turn out and press.

6. Now open both sides out, with right sides together match them up at the 3" down point with the matching fabrics together(yellow on yellow and blue on blue). Repeat on the other side. Turn the dress the right way and press.

7. Top stitch in a coordinating thread, I used grey because it blends nicely with most colours. Continue carefully all the way around the arms holes, straps and neckline. The aim is to have the same distance from the edge all the way around but mine certainly isn't in places. I tell myself it adds to the handmade charm.


8. Now you should only have the bottom edge left to sew. If you need to trim it down to equal lengths, do so now. Press the hem line half inch to the inside all the way around both fabrics. Press side seams to the back when you meet them.

Pin the contrasting fabrics together. Again, I always pin the seams first so I know they line up and work my way into the middle. Straight stitch all the way around the hem and your dress should be looking like a dress!

9. I have used KAM snaps because A - I like a quick project, B - they are so much less fiddly than buttons when you are trying to dress I wiggly toddler and C - they look pretty from both sides which is perfect for this reversible dress. They come in loads of colours. I couldn't decide what colours so I went with 4 different ones. I got a set from Amazon relatively cheap so if you are going to be making clothing for small people it is worth investing in a pair. You could alternatively use the sew in snaps if this is just going to be a one off use.

I didn't add markers to the pattern with where they should go, so just ensure you line them up and you cant go wrong. The centre of mine are about 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric. There are two on each side tab and one on each of the straps.


Congratulations! You have finished your reversible pinafore dress. I hope it went smoothly for you, but if it didn't I would still like to hear from you. This is my first blog post so if there are any improvements you think that could be made, don't hesitate to get in touch. If your dress was a roaring success I would obviously love to hear from you too and see your pictures! I run a Maker of the Month over on my Facebook page so make sure you head over and enter.

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