Wednesday 7 March 2018

My Ivy (Karen) Pinafore

Today I've got another 'look what I made!' blog post for you because I have been sewing A LOT recently. The weather has been horrendous for what feels like months, and my response has been to really hunker down and get my sew-on. I've also made a commitment to myself to steadily turn the contents of my fabric stash into fabulous, wearable garments, but I'll blog more about that soon. In the meantime, look what I made!


I've had my eye on Jennifer Lauren's Ivy pinafore dress pattern since she released it about 18 months ago, but I held off from buying it immediately because of the need for breast-feeding related access. I eventually I bought it at the end of last year, and shortly afterwards I realised that I already had the perfect fabric sitting right there in my stash!


I've had my eye on Jennifer Lauren's Ivy pinafore dress pattern pretty much since she released it about 18 months ago but I held off from buying it immediately due to breast-feeding restrictions. I eventually I bought it at the end of last year and a couple of months later I realised that I already had the perfect fabric sitting in my stash!

I LOVE the utilitarian vibe of a denim pinafore type garment, and Jennifer's denim version looks pure perfection to me. There's a lovely lady called Karen who takes her grandson to the Story time group at our local library that we go to every Monday, and she often wears an olive coloured pinafore that is really similar to this. As I've got to know her, aside from having fabulous style, I've discovered that Karen is awesome in many ways and I basically want to be her when I grow up. 

(image source: Jennifer Lauren Handmade)

But back to the pattern. The pattern view I prefer is a deceptively simple looking shift dress with bust darts, slight waist shaping at the CB, and a fabulous curved yoke. It's lined so it won't stick to your tights when you walk, plus the pattern also includes in-seam pockets, which I omitted in the event that I'd need to monkey around with the fit. 

First up, let me say that this that this project was really fun to make. I find the process and effect of contrast topstitching to be so satisfying. That said, it's now confession time: I didn't make a toile, which is naughty! I felt that a simple pattern such as this would be fairly simple to tweak midway through the construction if need be. According to the measurements, I fell between the size 10 and 12. I erred on the side of caution and went for the larger, however it ended up way too big. I took in the side seams by about one size, but looking at these photos I think it still looks a little on the large side. I plan to remove and reattach the buttons so the straps overlap a little more. That should raise the dress a bit and hopefully get the bust darts to sit more where they belong. Of course, that would all have been avoided if I'd just made the freaking toile that I knew I should have. 


I 'rescued' this length of vintage denim from a retro/vintage furniture and homeware shop near my then-home in Hove. Whilst I loved this fabric immediately, the inbetween-y too-thin-for-trousers-too-thick-for-a-top-or-dress weight confused me so it has remained in my stash for about 5 years until I figure this shift pinafore was its destiny. There was about 3m of it, but it was really narrow so I more or less used it up with this project. The fabric had a pleasing white selvedge which I managed it incorporate along the CF, but because this dress is fully lined, the selvedge is sadly hidden apart from at the very bottom by the hem. I found the buttons, which I believe are also vintage, in my stash and I have absolutely no idea where they came from or how they found their way in there. 


I'm really conflicted about this project. I certainly have a lot of love for this dress; I wore it three days in a row after I finished it. If I'm honest, I don't usually enjoy wearing dresses very much, but this is sooo comfy that it could definitely be classed as covert pyjamas. But when I see these pictures, I'm questioning how well it fits and how flattering it is. I really should have read the instructions through before starting this project because I would have discovered that this has been drafted for a C-cup, which it turns out is possibly a bit full for me post-babies, and I could have done something about it on the pattern before cutting into my fabric. Now I'm looking at these pictures some more, perhaps shortening it might make it look a bit less like I borrowed it from my (imaginary)big sister. I welcome your thoughts...

But it doesn't even matter what I think about this dress because when I wore it to Story time, Karen loved it. So much so, she enquired how much such a garment would cost. Dammit! I hate having to avade a commission. But what a compliment: my muse likes it so much she'd like one for herself! Anyways, where ever I eventually fall down on this particular garment, I definitely see myself using this pattern again. Perhaps in a burgundy needle cord, but starting with the size 10. Lessons learnt.  


Pattern: $9.09/approx. £6.50. I bought it at a Black Friday discount, normally it's $12.99/£9.30 available here. 
Fabric: £10 
Lining: £8 from C&H
Buttons: £0 (from stash)
Total: £27.30


Jenni said...

Zoe, I rarely comment but I have to say that this dress is lovely on you, whilst I agree it looks roomy in the bust I only noticed that after your comments.I have never considered this style of dress before but your version has made me rethink as it is marvellous x

Marina said...

I think this dress looks wonderful on you. As soon as the daily digest of posts popped up on my email this was the only one I opened up immediately because I just love pinafore dresses and this looks marvellous. It needs room for movement, right? Like lifting a child, sitting down with them, or driving without feeling constricted in it. I guess it depends on how you feel wearing it.

wendy said...

This is lovely Zoe, somehow this pattern had completely passed me by. I think if you lift the straps the fit will be spot on, then you can decide about the length. IMHO the length is good as is, especially if you’ll be wearing it with a short sleeved shirt and bare legs in the summer?

Lodi said...

Great dress, and I think it looks perfect on you! I think that a pinafore should be a bit loose for movements sake. How did it feel when you wore it?

Tanya said...

It's a lovely dress Zoe, actually you've inspired me to make my own version (actually I was already planning on making myself a knock-off version of a £65 RTW pinafore dress in black corduroy fabric, but you've swayed me to change my mind to this one!) and I think you are being rather hard on the self-criticism and I say don't worry about it! I love that dress, it suits you wonderfully and let's face it: Haven't we all forgone a toile/muslin at some point? It's just that yours looks absolutely fine and in the process you've gained a commission!! Lol

Linda said...

I agree - the dress looks fabulous on you! I like the relaxed fit, although I can see what you mean about raising the buttons a bit. I think the pinafore look really suits you, and how nice to wear something different from trousers that is so comfortable when you have little ones!

Debbie Cook said...

I think this dress looks wonderful on you! I really like this style of pinafore (jumper in US-speak!) vs. the usual bib front. With this casual style and fabrication, no one but you is ever going to think it might be too big in places so don't tell them, and just make notes for next time. :-)

Justine of SewCountryChick said...

This dress is so cute! The subtle shaping gives it a nice look as it could be too boxy without it. I love the vintage look of the denim. Great find!

Anonymous said...

I love this! The fit is very good. It will be great in warmer weather with a short-sleeve T shirt under it, or can do long-sleeves with or without turtlenecks (or a fitted flannel button-down?) in the cool/cold seasons. Thanks for sharing this project. Marianne

Pamela said...

I am in awe of your topstitching! And the dress looks wonderful on you. I think that if it was any closer fitting it wouldn't be as comfortable.

Demi said...

It looks lovely! I wouldn't have noticed a problem at all if you hadn't pointed it out. And that topstitching is absolutely perfect. I really think you did this dress justice :)

Fabric Tragic said...

I’m often quite torn with pinafore dresses on adults I must admit, but I think in summer with sandals and bare legs over a tshirt it will be super cute on you. Perhaps leave it this length until warmer weather and reassess the length then xxx

Jo said...

Love that pinafore such a lovely design. Jo x

Sarah Sparkles said...

I love this pinafore! The top stitching me buttons are fab and I like the relaxed fit on you. I'd wait until warmer weather to decide on too many fit changes.

Corinna said...

I wonder how different the pinafore looks in real life. A thicker fabric like this might stick and poke a bit in a photo whereas it probably flows more as you move in real life. If it feels good on you then keep it this size and comfy. I'd be interested in your comparison of this v the Tilly and Buttons one you made recently. It's just coming into autumn here in Australia and I'm tossing up between these two patterns.

BLD in MT said...

I think it looks really cute, but if YOU don't that is the most important part of course. That sounds like a swell comfy number though.

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