Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Postcard Pinafore

So what do you do with those kitsch souvenir tea towels you found in your Nanna's cupboard? Make them into dresses of course!

You know when you have those ideas and you think 'this could be brilliant or it could be so horribly, horribly wrong!'? This was one of those for me, but I think it works and I hope you like it!

This is the final item in my series showing you all what I made for Brandi as part of our Fall/Halloween swap hosted by Pink Stitches - The Postcard Pinafore!

This one isn't really for Brandi though - this one was made for her gorgeous little girl Julie. You can see Brandi's blog post about our swap and pics of Julie wearing her dress here!

When Brandi and I first started exchanging emails, she admitted that she didn't know very much about Australia. So I thought I'd add a couple of little gifts that were very Aussie. I included some Australian chocolate bars that you can't buy in the US, and a cute calendar of Australian animals. I wanted to make something with an Australian theme too, but getting fabric with some kind of Aussie theme was hard. I was shopping in the kitchen aisle one day and saw some tea towels, and the light bulb came on - I'm sure I can get a tourist one with some animals or birds on it! So I did, and I bought it here.

This is kind of a tutorial, but I was working at night which doesn't lend itself to good photography, so it isn't as detailed as it could have been. However, here are the steps to make a lined Postcard Pinnie(size 2T).

You need:
-a souvenir tea towel (mine was 77cm x 47cm, 100% cotton)
-1/2 metre exterior back fabric (I used denim)
- 3/4 metre lining fabric (I used a thin soft poly cotton)
- 2 buttons
-sewing machine and basic sewing items
- pinafore pattern - I used New Look 6578:

Cut your pattern pieces - the beauty of pinafores is that they are simple - a front and a back piece. Cut your exteriors, front from the tea towel, then back from whatever you are using. Then cut your lining pieces.

If you want to make your dress bigger than a size 2T, you may have to add some fabric to the tea towel at the widest part of the skirt. The tea towel was only just big enough when I cut the size 2 pieces.

Pin your exterior pieces together at the side seams and sew (use the seam allowances instructed on the pattern) and then repeat for the lining pieces.

Turn your exterior dress right sides out.

Have the lining with right sides facing in. Slip the lining over the exterior dress so that all right sides are together.

Align side seams and pin the dresses together around the top of the dress.

 Sew all the way around the top of the dress. Clip into curves and trim corners being careful not to cut your stitching. Turn the dress out the right way.

 Press the top of the dress.

Topstitch around the top of the dress. I chose a bright pink which matched the colour of some of the flowers on the tea towel and it contrasted nicely against the denim.

Line up your buttons and mark where you want the button holes to go with tailors chalk or disappearing ink.

Use your button hole foot on your machine and make your button holes. (Confession - I always freak out when doing button holes. Don't know why, it usually works out well!)

OK, phew, scary part over. Now hem to the desired length and you are done!! 

You can also use the same technique to make a reversible dress - just make your lining and exterior out of similar weighted fabric, pop buttons on both sides (so you'll need 4 buttons) and when you hem, fold both hems under, press together and topstitch.

 Here is a close up of some of the details on my pinnie - cute mama and baby koala:

Some Australian native flowers:

What do you think? Success or too crazy? Would you make one? These tea towels would also make great tote bags I think!

If you make one I'd love it if you shared a picture over at my Flickr Group!

Linking up to Creative Spaces today and lots of other lovely link parties - check out my link party page.


  1. Its awesome - I'll have to try it but with a Kiwiana teatowel instead! You should link in with creative spaces with this! Jen x

  2. Total success, I love it! Where did you get the tea towel? Now I'm thinking about what other things I could use to make a one of a kind dress. :)

  3. I just love this idea. I have that pattern too. I might give it a go ♥

  4. Julie really loves this dress. She is crazy about animals and the whole time she wore it she kept pointing at the Koalas and giggling. I am definitly going to try and make some more dresses for her using this tutorial!

  5. Love, love, LOVE it! Looks like I'm going to have to go get me a pinafore pattern now ... it'll be my first proper pattern purchase!!

  6. A very creative idea, Ros and perfect for an overseas present.

  7. Success! It's a great use for the towels and adorable as well. I'm a new follower. Come by and visit me if you have a minute.
    Jamie @ Backless Shirt

  8. I Love It! Perfect gift to send to friends overseas! Also I might collect a few myself in future travels for my one day babies! LOVE IT!

  9. This turned out very cute!!


  10. What a unique little pinafore. Thanks for linking to Things I've Done Thursday.


  11. Oh how cute! I have a one year old grandaughter and a pile of Austrian teatowels I could use! Dashing off after dinner to raid my stash!

  12. This is adorable! Wish I knew how to sew using a pattern... Would love it if you would link this up to our Rockin' link party going on now at RoCa and Company. Here is the link: Come and show off what you got. Hope to see you there...

    Remember...YOU ROCK!!

    Carmen @ RoCa and Company

  13. What a clever idea for a tea towel. Your button hole looks way better than the one I made today.

  14. Too adorable! A+ in cuteness and creativity. New follower from Northern Virginia.
    Audrey at

  15. This is awesome! Very cute and a funky way to mix it up!
    I love the lining too!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing and for linking up to last weeks show and share. We hope to see you and your newest project on Wednesday.

    A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW

  17. This is so adorable you are very clever indeed . Thanks for sharing it and thanks for popping by my little part of the world too.

  18. love a cute tea towel dress, here are a couple I made from london teatowels a while back. I wish i'd kept one
    x cinti

  19. That is just the cutest! Who would have thought a tea towel would make such a lovely dress!

  20. this tea towel dress is so cute. what a wonderful use of a tea towel!

  21. OH MY!!! This is an awesome idea! Thank you so much for sharing. This is just adorable!

  22. This is AWESOME! I only just spotted this tute. I have a couple of teatowels that would be perfect!!!

  23. Wonderful idea! Visited Aus for the 1st time in Nov 2011 (From Texas :) ) and have some tea towls! I now know what I can do with them!! Thank you so much!!!

  24. I love the upcycling idea!!!


  25. I love the towel you bought. I went to the place you said you bought yours and I couldn't find it. Is it possible for you to get me a towel similar to yours and send me a PayPal invoice and I'll pay you for everything.??
    I have a granddaughter that would look adorable in this dress.
    Thanks in advance for your reply. Evita

    1. Hi Evita,
      You haven't left an email address for me to contact you so I hope you get this reply.

      I am not sure where else to source that exact tea towel however there are a lot of different ones available on eBay - copy and paste this link into your browser.

      It would be cheaper for you to buy directly through a seller rather than through me, but if you have trouble with it I would be happy to help you out. Be aware though, if you live outside Australia the postage would be quite expensive and may not be worth it for you.

      Email me directly if you would like any further help.


Thank you so much for your comments - I adore hearing from you! I love to reply personally via email so if your email isn't visible in your profile feel free to leave it in your message so I can get in touch!

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