1800’s Child’s Pinafore Dress Sewing Pattern

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Today’s freebie will take us back to sewing in the 1800’s. Unlike the wonderful sewing patterns we have today, the patterns used in the 19th century were diagrams in magazines such as Peterson’s or Godey’s Ladies.

Pinafore Dress

This is a dainty pinafore dress for a child. The material suggested to sew this pretty pinafore is Mull Muslin, Diaper or Holland.  Each of these is a thin plainwoven, opaque linen or cotton fabric. 

Childs Pinafore Dress Pattern - Vintage Crafts and More

Diagram for Pattern Pieces

The pattern pieces include back, front, side fronts, sleeve, shoulder and trimmings. Pattern piece measurements are given in inches. The dotted lines on the pattern pieces represent a fold. You’ll also notice letters and asterisks to match the pieces when sewing. The trimming is your choice and could be lace.

Antique Childs Pinafore Dress Pattern - Vintage Crafts and More

You’ll need to draw the pattern using the measurements noted. Probably on wrapping, freezer or shelf paper, taping portions together as necessary. The instructions below suggest using some old muslin rather than paper.

Instructions for Enlarging

In a May 1877 Peterson’s Ladies Magazine volume an instruction on how to enlarge their diagrams was written. It’s assumed that most ladies of this day knew the fundamentals of sewing, but there must’ve been a few questions about copying the diagrams into a sewing pattern.

Enlarging our Diagrams for Pinafore Dress - 1877 Petersons Ladies Magazine


PDF File Download

You’ll find the paragraph on enlarging the diagram in the PDF file below:

1800s Child’s Pinafore Sewing Pattern

To read a file in PDF format you’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer. Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link and select either “save target as” or “save link as” depending on what browser you are using or simply click on it and save or print.

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  1. Kristin says:

    Debra I don’t see a Twitter handle or other for you here, & wanted to share these images with somebody! I picked up some vintage (year??) handkerchiefs with just stunning work. I had to get a magnifying glass to see the stitches on one of them. I could not discern the front from the back, it’s that good. Here is a link to one of them https://flic.kr/p/21qZ7xU if you click left or right arrows, there are some others. Apologies not a good camera (computer port problems & no Bluetooth capable)

    • Debra says:

      You’re right, I have my Pinterest available but not my Twitter handle. It’s @VintageCrafts. If you click on the little blue bird on the bottom of the post it will let you share it on Twitter. I haven’t done too much with it, because I could spend all day on it. So much good stuff! Love your handkerchiefs!

      • Kristin says:

        Perhaps I should join Pinterest. Debra even you might be delighted with the stuff Ive found (vintage stuff) I haven’t uploaded to Flickr the best of what I have which is unfortunate. I need to get cracking. & yes I know what you mean about “spending all day on it” the internet eats up a large chunk of my time if I let it. Too many Americans waste precious hours on it each day, time never regained. Anyway, enough of that. Thanks for sharing this old stuff it’s very nostalgic even for us not around in those times.

  2. Lisa fritz says:

    I love old patterns for little girls dresses. I save them hoping I can someday sew them for a baby in our family. This one is simple and classic. Thanks so much!

  3. Bee says:


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