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How to Make a Child's Graduation Gown

by Rosenya Faith, studioD

Your little munchkin will have plenty of years left to celebrate graduation after preschool, but what a reason to celebrate right now! She's made it through preschool and has already learned so much. As she gets ready to celebrate moving on, help her delight in her accomplishments with her very own graduation gown to mark the special day. And the good news -- you don't have to break the bank to make her that special gown.

Lay the adult-size dress shirt flat and use a seam ripper to take apart the individual pieces. You need to end up with a right side, a left side, two sleeves and a back panel. Remove the collar because you don't need it. Now, you've got the template for your little munchkin's graduation gown.

Lay each template piece on your satin fabric and trace around the outer edges of the pieces with tailor's chalk. You can put aside the dress shirt now and use it in another sewing project later.

Lay the back and side panels together on your work surface and pin the side seams in place to keep them from wiggling around. Sew a straight or zigzag stitch to attach the side panels and start the gown making.

Fold the sleeves in half and sew along the side opposite the fold to make the sleeve shapes.

Pin the sleeves around the arm opening of the gown and sew these in place. Make sure you sew from the inside of the gown so no stitching shows.

Try the gown on your little graduate and pin up the sleeves just beyond her wrists. Now you know the exact length you'll need for the sleeves. She can go ahead and take off the gown now. If she's a wiggling kiddo, make a mark on the sleeves with tailor's chalk instead of pinning them while she's got the gown on her little body.

Cut off the fabric of the sleeves just below the pin or chalk line. Fold over the edges of the sleeves about 1/4 inch and then fold them over again another 1/2 inch. Sew along the fold for a pair of neat and tidy sleeves.

Fold over 1/4 inch and then 1/2 inch along every rough edge you see. You'll need to fold along the hemline, the neckline and down the left and right front edges. Now, sew along each of these edges for a neat and tidy graduation gown.

Lay the gown flat. Open the zipper and pin one side to each of the inside edges of the front of the gown. Sew the zipper in place. That's it! Your little graduate's gown is complete.

Items you will need
  •  Adult-size dress shirt
  •  Seam ripper
  •  Satin fabric (about 2 yards)
  •  Sewing pins
  •  Sewing machine and thread
  •  Zipper

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images