Sunday 5 February 2017

Knowing right from wrong

For all sorts of reasons, it's been a difficult and stressful few weeks here at Tulip Mansions, and I've really not been feeling at my best. So as I had a more or less free weekend, I thought I'd cheer myself up a bit by doing some dressmaking. Although I've not actually got as far as any sewing yet.

One of the first things we covered when I started my course was the no-no that is plagiarism - passing someone else's ideas off as your own. So with that in mind I'll state straight away that the idea for this project came from Tasha of By Gum, By Golly. She made a stunning sheath jumper dress (what I'd call a pinafore dress) in turquoise corduroy, which you can see here. I loved it so much that even though I'd never felt the slightest desire to make a pinafore dress for about 30 years, I immediately decided that I wanted one.

Looking online for patterns for inspiration, I found lots of examples with full skirts, but far fewer with straight skirts. Eventually I came across this, which is made in one piece, without a waist seam.

1959 jumper dress, with optional pockets

And this, which has full or straight skirt options.

1958, with raised waist

I really liked the raised waist with the 'belt' detail. Simplicity had reissued a similar pattern to this one, but it's now out of print.

Simplicity 3673

So the only option was to draft my own. Now this may not be most people's idea of how to have a relaxing weekend, but I do enjoy pattern drafting. Weird, I know!

Because I'm short-waisted, my version of New Look 6070 has the waistband section coming up to just below the bust, so I used that as a starting point for the bodice section.

The basis for a lot of alterations

I lowered the armscye and neckline, and changed the deep, diagonal pleats to more, smaller, vertical ones. There is something about calculating pleats which just turns my brain into mush, so this took some doing! I then made a toile of the bodice, and it fitted almost perfectly; I only needed to pinch out a little of the front neckline.

For the skirt I took my standard self-drafted skirt pattern, and raised the waist by the width of the New Look 6070 waistband. And that is as far as I got over the weekend.

I'd bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago, when I first decided that I wanted to make a pinafore. It's a wool-mix remnant, and is a perfect example of just how scrambled my brain has been recently.

Much as I love the check fabric examples on the pattern envelopes above, I know that checks don't love me. But, I didn't really want a plain fabric, so I was thrilled when I found this black and white weave with a blue stripe across it.

Blue stripes on a chevron weave

The stripes have a slightly odd, broken effect, and they go across the fabric. Horizontal stripes do me even fewer favours than checked fabrics, but as the fabric is 150cm / 54" wide, I figured that I could just cut the dress out sideways.

If by this time you are shaking your head at your screen and yelling, "Oh for the love of Pete, woman! What were you thinking?", I can only say that I honestly didn't realize. It was only when I washed the remnant and hung it up to dry that the truth finally dawned.

This is the wrong side of the fabric.

It actually looks like this.

Blue flecks on a chevron weave


This does not suggest that an ambitious, draft-your-own project is going to be a roaring success, but we'll see.


  1. Oh no! Is it salvageable? It would be such a shame to not be able to use that fabric, it's lovely (on both sides!) xx

    1. It's the prospect that I'm going to trash the fabric that's currently stopping me! I'm not at all convinced that the pattern as I've drafted it is going to work.

      I'm not going to have the opportunity to do anything with it until the weekend at the earliest, so I've put it aside to think about for a few days.

  2. You might be interested in Indie Angela Kane jumper pattern. She also does a youtube tutorial on stitching it together. Since you are not a newbie seamstser, you will probably no want to use this option. The pattern is easuly adapted for straight skirr option and is available as a pdf download.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Karen, I'll take a look.