Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The York Pinafore


I know that it's common to find the statement 'This new thing I made is all I want to wear right now' on sewing blogs and Instagram posts, but I can't help that. This pinafore IS my favourite thing to wear right now. The pattern appeared, as if by magic, in my inbox, sent by its designer Helen from Helen's Closet as a freebie shortly after she released it. I was under no obligation to sew it up, but as soon as I saw a few modelled versions pop up on the interwebs, I knew I had to make it when the right fabric came my way.... 

Pattern:

The York pinafore is a clever little pattern. Despite the number of pinafore and dungaree type patterns out there these days, I think it's unique. Part of its brilliance, IMO, it how simple it is: consisting of just a front and a back piece, and a couple of pockets. The neck and armholes are bound so there's not even facings to deal with. Once you've printed it out and stuck it together, there are three choices you need to make: which neckline (I went with the higher, but I adore the lower option too), pocket style (I love these big, scoopy ones, but there's also a cute hoodie-style, kangaroo version) and hem length (I picked the longer length so it'd be more suitable for chasing and wrestling with small children). 

(image source: Helen's Closet)

Going into this project, I remembered the realisation I came to during my Gemma tank escapades, that simple garments need to fit really well to look fantastic. I made a toile of this pinafore in some stable cotton to try and figure out if some pattern alterations would need to be made. I have to say at this point that the York pinafore pattern instructions may be the best pattern instructions I have ever encountered. This is in part because they include is a sizeable section on what to look for when fitting this garment, which is incredibly useful and makes this a wonderful pattern for helping beginner sewers to level up. I toiled the size M, and although the general size was fine, I found that the hip area sat too low on my body. This was unsurprising because I'm both short-waisted and an inch shorter than the height the pattern was designed for. I pinched out 3cm total (split into two places, as per the lengthen/shorten lines on the pattern) from the bodice are on both the front and back pieces. Plus, although I don't think it applies to me, I really liked how Helen explained an easy method for adjusting the pattern for larger bust sizes.  


The only other modification I made was related to the bias binding. I bought ready made bias (the instructions include how to make your own if you wish), but I picked a narrower width than suggested and applied it using the Grainline Scout tee method because I find it gives a nicer finish  around curved areas. But in short: the whole construction was super simple, and took very little time. 

Fabric:

I knew that I had nothing suitable in my stash for this pattern, so the next time I visited Fabric Godmother, I was in the look out. I didn't have a clear vision of what I was aiming for, other than I wanted a solid. With some guidance, I landed on this linen twill. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this may be the best fabric/pattern match I've EVER made! I've never worked with or worn linen before, let alone a linen with a twill weave, but it feels soooo nice on, kind of slinky but stable, I really love it. I'm struggling with the urge to go back and buy up the rest of the roll like some hoardy fabric-Gollum. 


Top:

With the pinafore complete, I couldn't ignore the desire for a new, super plain top to go with it. I already had this white cotton/spandex jersey in my stash that I'd procured from Girl Charlie UK for a different project that I later changed my mind about. I reached for my well-used copy of TATB's Agnes top pattern, and the perfect plain white knit top was born, that can also be paired with heaps of my other garments. 


Thoughts:

As you can probably tell, I adore this pinafore, and the outfit generally. Style wise, I'm not sure how you'd describe this whole vibe; the linen and the silhouette of the pinafore makes me think of art teachers, which is a direction Mr SoZo would probably argue I've been heading in for a while. I now own TWO floaty scarves which I wear quite a lot, and I've decided to allow my hair to go grey without dyeing it. Anyways, I don't think you could describe this pinafore as sexy, it gives my bum a kind of teletubby look (see below), but thankfully that's not an adjective I often aspire to. I wish I'd had this pinafore in my wardrobe when I was breastfeeding. I think it would give you sufficient boob access without too much outfit rearrangement required. I got so fed up of the limited collection of separates I wore for over a year, and it would have been great to have a dress option in the mix. 


I'm very happy with the tweaks I made to the fit, and the finish I achieved during construction. The only criticism I have for this garment, and it's a very mild one, is that I often find it shifts backwards a little, and I have to rearrange it slightly so the shoulder seams sit back on top of my shoulders where they belong. Anyone have any idea why that might be happening, or what I can do about it? I'd really love to make another of these early next year, probably with the lower scooped neckline and perhaps in a soft denim. I saw a version on Instagram made by @twodogs_and_a_sewingmachine where she had added centre front and back seams and went to town with topstitching, which looked really amazing. Helen has shared some great blog posts with other pattern hack ideas for the York pattern, as well as releasing an expansion pack to turn it into an apron. What fabric would you make this pattern in and what tweaks would you suggest? 

8 comments:

Tanit-Isis said...

It looks great! I made my version in a denim pinstripe and I’m pretty thrilled with it but I feel like it’s a bit stand-out to wear too often. I’m super happy when I do, though!

Mrsrlr said...

My first was in some Essex linen and I have lived in it this summer. I have just finished a second in a wax print and I'm planning another in a solid, possibly linen, as it'll get worn more often.
I completely agree with you about the pattern instructions- so good.

LLBB said...

Comfy and cute - love it!

didyoumakethat said...

That REALLY suits you, Zoe! That is your dress.

Vivien T said...

Hi Zoe,
I think your problem with the neckline slipping back may be cured by doing a foreward shoulder adjustment to the pattern. I have this problem when making tops and dresses and always make that adjustment now and it always works. I have this pattern waiting to be made up for winter wear and your review is really helpful, thank you!
It looks lovely on you.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Zo I love this! And Art teacher is such a great look, I pretty much go there too :) Having dark hair like me, I'm going to let you into my secret- grey hair is actually Nature's Free Streaks (TM)and I collour my greys with those Schwarzkopf bright temporary colours - so my greys go pink or orange and the dark hair doesn't change much. SO GOOD

Fabric Tragic said...

It is a great pattern and I can attest to the ease of breastfeeding in it! I suspect you might need to do a forward shoulder adjustment on it - next version cut a little extra length on the back straps, and sew this extra distance plus the standard seam allowance on the front piece and see what happens. If it doesn’t work then you can just go back, chop the extra off the back and sew it up as normal. I normally need a FSA in tops but don’t in mine. Might be because I have giant boobs to help keep it in place. Looks cute on you and I think it’s the least teletubby of all the pinny patterns out there at the moment.

Roisin said...

This is beautiful! Such a simple but stylish shape :) I think I might make one to wear with a long sleeved top in the winter :)

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