Menu
Children's / Inspiration

Art Smocks!

Art smocks | Megan Nielsen Patterns blog

Birdie’s school requires each child to have an art smock for when they do art or messy science experiments. I really love this policy, and though i always forget to post them here, I have really enjoyed making my kids art smocks over the years. So I thought it was high time that I shared each of my kids art smocks!

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog

Bunny and Birdie’s art smocks where made using a pattern I drafted about 7 years ago, and I am really happy with how well it has worked! Originally the school told everyone to bring in an old button up shirt – which we tried, but my kids just really hated and found uncomfortable.

So my first attempt at an art shirt, was to take one of Chris’ old shirts that Buddy had been using as an art shirt at school, cut off the collar and cuffs, added bias tape to the neckline and sleeves as an elastic casing and thread elastic through. This worked really well and satisfied Buddy through all of primary school until he hit highschool where they have school provided art aprons.

When it came to Bunny, she was not keen to have an altered men’s shirt, and wanted to choose a fabric from my stash for a *custom* art smock. My friends, this is what happens when you raise children on handmade everything, they begin to expect that you can make everything hehe. Do I love it? You know I do ;) This was back in 2016 and I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so I knew it was a good time to draft a pattern. I went for a very loose fit oversized raglan with a curved gap at the back to make it easier to get on and off. The neckline and arms were again elasticated.

We found that the open back worked so well and made it very easy to pull the smock on and off without getting the paint on herself. Bunny chose a vintage sheet from my stash and I think this was such a great print for an art smock! She really loved this art shirt, and used it for many years, and once she went to highschool Birdie inherited it.

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog

Sadly after a year of Birdie using it, this art shirt when missing. This is not an uncommon issue in primary school, and I was hoping that at some point it would turn back up (and it did!! The lovely art teacher found it two years later and gave it back to me). While it was missing, I decided it was a good opportunity to improve my art smock pattern and change the construction and fit. I made the pattern even more oversized so it would last longer and cover more of the uniform, and added an overlap to the back panels. Bunny’s art smock back panels simply met in the middle and i found that a bit unnecessarily fiddly. Construction of Bunny’s involved simply turning in the neckline, sleeves and hem, and though it was fine, i didn’t really love that finish and also felt that the design needed to be broken up with bias tape. I mean doesn’t everything??

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog

So for Birdie’s smock we used a gorgeous Ellie Whittaker print that she chose from my stash along with some striped bias tape. You may recognise this bias tape from when Naomi did a tutorial on how to make masses of bias tape quickly. This print was such a fantastic choice for an art shirt! Birdie has been using this art smock for three years now and though it has paint all over it, you can’t tell!

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog

I would like to mention that when it comes to using non-waterproof fabrics for art smocks, i usually like to spray them down a with a waterproofing spray once in a while. For our family this is usually only once a year as the art smocks tend to live in the art room at school. But when they come home at the end of the school year i give them a good wash and then coat them with 3 layers of waterproofing spray to help prevent paint going through to the school uniform. This has worked pretty well for us so far and we haven’t had any paint go through onto uniforms yet (fingers crossed!).

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog

It feels so good to finally share these art smocks with you all! I think it’s such a great example of how an idea can grow and change as you develop it. It’s one of the things i love about when i get to sew the same thing over and over for my kids, i get the opportunity to refine an idea or pattern that i wouldn’t otherwise. Looking forward to Birdie getting a few more years of use out of this art smock!

DIY Art Smock using Ellie Whittaker Fabric and bias tape | Megan Nielsen Blog
About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Linda (ACraftyScrivener)
Linda (ACraftyScrivener)
1 year ago

Gosh that was a lovely trip down memory lane, I had forgotten about that Australian custom! I believe I just had an old shirt of Dads :-)

D S
D S
1 year ago

You’ve given me a lovely idea for some gifts for my nieces.

Hope
Hope
1 year ago

Oh, Meg! I love these – creativity sparks creativity :)

Trudy
Trudy
9 months ago

I am new to your blog; but it answered my question about using a waterproof spray on a cotton smock. Thank you. (I am considering making smocks for our class of 12 two year olds.). Do you, though, offer the pattern that you created for this smock? If so, please guide me as to how to find it. I love this blog. Thanks.