I got the sewing machine out again at the weekend, this time for a simple pinafore dress, taken from The Stylish Dress Book: Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops by Yoshiko Tsukiori (the dress is called a jumper dress in the book).
Pinafore dresses are great; you can change the look depending on what you wear underneath (jumper in winter, blouse for work, Breton for a more casual look etc.) but I’ve been struggling to find one I like on the high-street. Everything I’ve found has either been in denim and of the dungaree style (fine for festivals, but I feel a little old for that in everyday life now), or something that looked more like part of a primary school uniform.
So, as the saying goes, if you want something doing right then do it yourself. I found this lovely soft navy blue textured fabric in my local haberdashery and knew it would be perfect. As the dress is quite shapeless anyway, I didn’t want a fabric that was too stiff, so that it would hang nicely.
The book comes with pattern pages, and it took me about an hour to trace and cut out the pieces I needed (I find baking paper works really well for this). Also, the patterns don’t already include seam allowances so it’s important to remember to include these before you start cutting!
This pattern is incredibly simple to make, with just a front piece, back piece, and straps (no need for any zips or fiddly fastenings). However, the instructions provided do rely on previous sewing knowledge. For example, step 2 of this pattern is simply ‘Make the shoulder straps’, and you’re left to figure out how based on the diagrams provided. All of the diagrams are quite detailed, but I personally find it easier to follow written instructions. Luckily, from previous experience I knew to sew the straps inside out, and then turn them out the right way, but I feel this could trip up absolute beginners.
Whilst in the book this dress is midi-length, I decided to make it much shorter, and it’s turned out exactly how I wanted. Not bad for about 4 hours of work! I love the simplicity of Yoshiko Tsukiori’s designs, and I fancy having a go at the box dress featured on the front cover as well. I’ll let you know how it goes if I do give it a try!