top of page

York Pinafore - A quick and versatile make from Helen's Closet.

I don't listen to many podcasts, but one of my favourites is Love to Sew, hosted by Helen and Caroline. Helen is the owner of Helen's Closet Patterns and Caroline owns Blackbird Fabrics They're so knowledgeable and have a great delivery that sticks to the point whilst being really engaging. They really speak my language when talking sewing..... there's so many times when I just want to join in!

The York Pinafore is my second Helen's Closet Pattern, the other being the Yanta Overalls.

Here's the description from the instructions, it's exactly as I'd choose to explain it and how I envisage using it.......

'The York Pinafore is a playful addition to your handmade wardrobe. It is easy to layer over tank tops for summer or turtlenecks and leggings for colder weather. The York Pinafore is a modern take on a classic pinafore dress with a cocoon shape and two views. View A features large scoop pockets, a dipped neckline, and it comes down to the knee. View B is a shorter length with a high neckline and a kangaroo pocket.'

I made view A in the shorter length, it's really easy to mix and match the neck shape, pockets and hem length.

It comes in US sizes 0-34 It has 2 main seams, the shape makes it easy to fit, no fastenings and all edges are finished with bias strips, so perfect for a fact, I'm thinking of teaching it as a beginners workshop.

There's loads of information in the instructions, including how to choose the size you want to make, how to merge between sizes and simple adjustments. If you read the info about making a muslin/toile it goes on to explain how the pinafore should fit......I wish this info came before the sizing and adaptions section! I'm only 5'2" and especially short in the body.

I do wish Indie designers would include the length of the back nape to waist used for their blocks in their standard measurements or at least print the waist level on the pattern.

So here's my experience of using the pattern....

I like clothes to be comfortable, but not too baggy. I'm always cautious making something from a pattern company I haven't used much before. I look at the size chart and the finished measurements. I've gradually got to understand approximately what finished measurements I need.......did you know I have a PDF you can download to record the finished measurements of different types of clothes? It's on the Patterns page from Tutorials (Sorry I'm not linking it to this article as I'm hoping to revert back to my .biz domain soon and any links wouldn't work if and when that happens).

I guess it's easier if you download it here

Bought size chart
Download PDF • 2.17MB

Printing was really easy. I prefer to use Abode Acrobat for opening PDFs as I can use layers and only print the size I need. I decided to print 2 sizes to give me choices as I cut out. The sheets stuck together easily. I get frustrated having to stick large sheets together as I don't have much room and I was pleasantly pleased to discover I could just stick together the sheets for each piece separately.....although that might be because I was using a small size.

I decided to shorten the top by 2" The pattern pieces have 2 lengthen and shorten lines and I used both of them. The lower neckline should be about level with the bust point and the bottom of the armhole level with the waist. The top of my side seam is a bit higher than my waist which I'm quite happy with.

All seam allowances are 5/8" unless otherwise stated. The armholes and neckline have 3/8" allowances.

Here's my fabric as it's not really showing well on the finished pics.

I tried to line up the 'checks' as best I could and match the side seams.

I used the curved pockets and really didn't feel like trying to match the checks so cut them on the bias.

Here's something I hadn't tried before.........use the differential feed on the overlocker to ease in the curved edge of the pocket.

It worked well, but it is a bit bulky and shows on the right side when pressed. I guess I could have used a 3 thread stitch and pulled the needle thread out after top stitching..........but that just seems a faff, when there's other ways to do the curve.

I used my favourite method of marking where the pockets needed to be placed. Pushing a pin through the pattern and both layers of fabric. Then using my chalk propelling pencil to mark the fabric where the pin is.

I tend to eyeball top stitching the pockets on, however you can use any foot that has a guide on it, even a blind hem foot. You might have to move the needle position a small amount.

The side and shoulder seams are straight forward to sew. I machined and then overlocked both layers together trimming off about 1/4"(much easier than pressing the seam open on a curved seam). You can also do this with a wide zig zag or overcast stitch on your machine. There's two ways to do this.

  • If you have an overcast foot trim 1/4" off the finished seam allowance then use your chosen stitch with the overcast foot which stops the fabric scrunching up.

  • Line the standard machine foot up against the straight stitch. sew the zig zag or overcast stitch through both layers. Trim off the extra fabric sticking out past the stitching. Trimming after sewing stops the fabric from scrunching up.

All the neck and armhole edges are finished with bias strips. I made my own from the same fabric as my pinafore. It's probably easier to use bought bias binding...the finished width needs to be 1cm.

The instructions for sewing the bias edges are really good, however I don't see any suggestion about snipping the curves, especially the tight curve round the front neck edge.

Interestingly I'm listening to the Love to Sew podcast and they're just chatting about clipping corners and curves............. and they both like Kai snips for doing this. I love my tiny Kai scissors as they're really fine and sharp to the point. In the UK the Janome branded purple handled scissors are made by Kai.

Back to the bias edges.........

Technically this isn't a bound edge as the bias doesn't go over the edge. It folds to one side and is really a bound facing. If you wanted you could use a contrast bias strip and sew it so it shows on the right side.

Then it's just the hem. I didn't want a machined hem, mainly as it'd be really obvious on my fabric if didn't stitch it perfectly along the fabric's weave...........I overlocked the cut edge and invisibly hand stitched it. The instructions show how to do a double fold hem which is great for most fabrics.

I'm wearing mine today over t-shirt and leggings, after doing the supermarket shop. Nothing glamorous, just my normal everyday sort of style. I think it's going to be great come the spring and summer over tanks and vests. A really quick make and so easy to wear.

I can certainly see me making more of this one ...................... Thank you Helen's Closet

150 views0 comments


bottom of page