I sewed this in the few days after new year before returning to normality. I was feeling pensive about our move to York being exactly one year ago and thought making the York pinafore would be a nice way to celebrate the anniversary. I also thought it would be a really nice simple project to reignite that new year sewjo! What a mistake that was!
Don’t get me wrong – the pattern is indeed a simple one. I just got way too overconfident, completely stopped looking at the instructions and made some rookie errors on top of a complete failure to try it on as I was making it (it’s only going to take a couple of hours – why stop to try on?!) GAH what an idiot!
I would like to start by saying that this is my first time using a Helen’s Closet pattern and I do think they might possibly be the best instructions I have ever worked with. As well as some very clear instructions and illustrations there were also tips for more advanced sewists to make the process quicker/more enjoyable. I will definitely make other Helen’s Closet patterns in the future!
I had won a £20 voucher for The New Craft House for taking part in their Sew Yourself Sustainable month in September. After much deliberation I settled on ordering 1.5m of this cotton/linen denim and putting some money towards it. I cannot usually afford to buy £18pm fabric but I am pleased I ordered something good quality that I think has real longevity and I will wear for years. I also like that it is overstock. It feels like a slubby denim but with added drape thanks to the linen, it also has the extra creasing too though!
The neckline and both armholes in this pattern are bias bound and I had decided to make my own bias binding out of the small scrap leftover from making this dress. Cotton lawn is the perfect weight to make nice bias binding and I am always amazed by how much a small piece of fabric makes. In case you were wondering, my favourite tutorial for making continuous bias is this one because it shows you how to make it out of a rectangle of fabric (not just a square!) which I think usually means less waste!
Once I had my fabric, bias and pattern sorted I thought it would be smooth sailing. Based on my measurements (B37 W32 H47) and using the fitting advice provided in the pattern I cut out the 12 bust, 14 waist and 18 hips. It started coming together nicely, the fabric is beautiful and I was excited to put my pretty homemade bias in. I even used this fancy variegated Gutermann overlocking thread to make it extra nice inside. To keep costs down I used regular navy thread in the needles so I only needed two cones of the Gutermann thread (in the loopers) to create this effect:
I think I was a bit too overexcited and I had definitely stopped looking at the instructions because before I knew it, I had all the bias sewn in (miles of it on the neckband and both armholes) BUT I HAD SEWN IT ON THE INSIDE. Guys, I’ve done this before, and had even thought to myself “Don’t do that stupid thing where you sew the bias on the inside” but I did.
After contemplating unpicking it, (did I mention I had graded and clipped it all before I realised?!) I decided I probably would not be able to reuse the bias as I had graded it to a very narrow seam allowance and I didn’t have enough to do it again, so I decided to “make it work” as Tim Gunn would say! I basically worked the rest of the bias instructions in reverse (press it, fold it to the outside then back inside again) but it meant the only thing I wasn’t able to do was the understitching which is a shame but not the end of the world.
Once I had got over the bias fiasco, it was supposed to be smooth sailing, I just needed to decide on a length so I could hem it. I tried it on and DAMN it was too big. Like WAY too big. I walked around for a bit trying to convince myself it was just big and comfy but in the end I had to accept I wouldn’t wear it like it was. So that meant I needed to take some width out of the sides but there was NO WAY I was going to redo that bias binding so I was going to have to take the width in from below the armholes. I ended up taking four inches out from the waist down. It has made the hips-section sit a bit funny but I will definitely wear it lots like this.
Hemming was a breeze, thankfully!
Have you ever had a super simple make go completely wrong?! This definitely isn’t my first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last but at least I have a nice pinafore out of it!
For more information on Gutermann threads, you can find out more from their website: https://consumer.guetermann.com/en/products/sewing-threads-accessories or you can email: email@example.com
7 thoughts on “York Pinafore”
Love your gorgeous version of the York, it looks great on you and that thread is so pretty. I wear mine so much I need to make another for when it’s in the laundry x
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At the risk of hindsight is a wonderful thing……my sewing teacher makes us tack side seams by hand before trying on…..then fits garment to us using pins to show any changes then shows us how to adapt pattern and cut pattern as well using bits we cut off or just measuring how much we’ve taken in etc you then have a perfect pattern for next time which fits without any try ons!
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I also messed up the bias binding (but in a different way) – leaving it exposed on the pockets… I’m ok with it! I actually find Helen’s Closet instructions hard to follow for some reason – I think when it gets precise my brain can’t focus on it and I leap ahead! I’ve never seen anyone else say it though, so probably just me…
Your dress looks fab 🙂 Mine is in regular demin and I’m making progress – @fifi_gigi_sews on Insta – It’ll be in my stories until I finish, then on my wall or whatever it’s called 😉
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Ooh great I’ve given you a follow and can’t wait to see! I thought the instructions were great but then completely failed to follow them – no idea why!