Thursday, October 25, 2012

How to make a child's lab coat, without collar.

One of my children's favorite dress-up activities is playing doctor. They have had a few kits in the past, and I'm currently working on a felt version that will hopefully last longer than the cheap plastic ones.

My oldest requested a doctor's coat. Instead of spending the money to buy some, I thought I'd work through my fabric stash and make both of my girls one. However, googling yielded few results, most involved refashioning a men's dress shirt, or using a pattern. I knew I'd have to create my own pattern, which I did from a shirt that fit each of them. I also used a set of curtains that I picked up on clearance, intending to make them summer dresses out of the material, but that never happened. Since I used curtains, I had the hemming finished. However, if you are using off the bolt fabric, you will need to add in hems.

 First, I'd like to start off by saying that there are two different fabrics. I originally wasn't going to do a tutorial on this, but I figured I would share in case anyone else out there is looking for a simple lab coat. This does not have a collar. First, I'm not confident enough in my sewing skills to make one. Also, my children do not like collars. Also, I suggest doing your hemming last, for an even finish.

 Start by laying your fabric out. All cuts, with the exception of the pockets will be done on the fold.

First, lay out the sleeve like so. I'm using a pajama top here. I added 2" to the depth of the sleeve, to allow for seam allowance and arm room with clothing underneath. This is marked with the yellow pin. Second, if you are hemming, you'll need to add 2" to the length. Double fold 1" and hem. Trace your sleeve, include the curve where the sleeve meets the shirt. Cut 2.
 Next, the body of the coat. Fold your shirt in half, lay it on the fold of the fabric. Add enough length for the coat to hit mid-thigh, and if you are hemming, add 4" for a 2" double fold hem. Trace around the shirt, including a curve at the neckline and sleeve.

I did not picture the pocket cutting, as this is optional. I just cut two rough squares, larger than I would need. Later, I squared them up and added them.

This is all of the pieces laid out. At the top is the back of the lab coat, the sleeves(2) and the pockets(2). Below is the front. You will want to cut this piece in half, so the coat will be open. I did not add any closures, so that my children can put them on and take them off easily.

 You will want to pin the two front pieces to the back piece at the shoulders, with right sides together. Match up the neckline and the arm holes. Sew across each.
 This is what it should look like when laid out.
 Next, match up the center of your sleeve to the seam on the shoulders. Pin in place, and then match up the ends with the ends of the armholes. Pin in place and sew around the curve.
 This is what it should look like when sewn. Repeat on the other side.
 Next, fold the sleeve in half, and line up the armpit seams. Sew up the seam, starting at the cuff of the sleeve, and all the way down to the bottom of the coat.

Repeat on the other side.
 Hem the top of your pocket, and press down about a half inch on each of the other 3 sides. Pin in place, then stitch down. Repeat on other side.

Do any other hemming, if necessary.
 There are two ways to finish the coat. You can just fold down the raw edges of the opening and neckline, and stitch in place. Or, you can bind it all with bias tape. Here are both pictured. I did it two different ways to designate which coat belongs to which kid.
And, here it is on my 2 year old model. She was really excited. I'm going to make some fabric name tags for the coats as well.

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