Hi friends! I’m excited to get to show off my first project for #sewbibs. (Unfamiliar with #sewbibs? It’s a fun sewing community challenge that runs March 1-Apri 12. You can read all about it here!)
I recently discovered Conni from Art in the Find. Her instagram feed is beautiful and filled with lots of fashion inspiration. As I was scrolling, I came across this cute denim jumper from Topshop. Immediately I started thinking about how I could use the York Pinafore pattern to make my own version.
I’d been wanting to make a denim York for a while. I love my first one but the fabric doesn’t match a whole lot in my closet. I knew that one made in denim would be a lot more versatile.
The fabric I used is a 10 oz non-stretch denim from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics. The denim is the perfect weight for this pinafore. It’s not too heavy, but has enough body to show off the cute cocoon shape of the dress.
It’s 68″ wide so I took a chance and only ordered 1 yard. I had just enough fabric to squeeze out my York. (I did have to cut the patch pockets twice since the first set I cut was a little bit too small.) I used some long-stashed quilting cotton for my bias tape.
Stonemountain Fabrics is one of our #sewbibs sponsors. They are offering a 15% discount with code SEWBIBS15. The code expires on March 31. There are so many gorgeous fabrics on their site that would be perfect for your bibs. When I ordered this denim, I got some black Brussels Washer linen for a pair of Burnside Bibs, too. I’m hoping to start working on those this week.
(Did you see that Heidi got some fabulous pink corduroy from Stonemountain to make her York Pinafore? I love how it turned out and it’s making me feel like I need a pink corduroy pinafore, too. It certainly wouldn’t be the first thing Heidi has made that I’ve copied.
Here are all of the details of how I modified the York pinafore to look like my inspiration jumper:
The first thing I noticed about the Topshop jumper was the cool hip button detail. I knew it would be a fairly easy change to the York to incorporate the buttons on the side. I referenced this tutorial from Closet Case Patterns for adding hip buttons to the Jenny Overalls.
I followed the steps exactly, except that I added a 7/8″ extension to the side of the front pieces (the tutorial says that the extension is optional and to add 1/2″, but the seam allowance on the Jenny overalls is larger than the seam allowance on the York Pinafore. The 7/8″ extension was perfect for getting the buttonholes to fit on it without overhang. Here is what it looks like after I added the buttonholes and the bias tape.)
The Closet Case tutorial uses the fly shield from the Jenny overalls, but I subbed in the fly shield from the Lander pants since I’d recently used that pattern and hadn’t put it away. It would be really easy to draft a rectangle to use as a fly shield if you don’t have one hanging around.
The Topshop dress also has a seam in the center front and back, which the York does not have. This was a very easy modification– I cut the front and back in two pieces, instead of on the fold. I added a 5/8″ seam allowance for both seams so that I could flat fell and topstitch them.
I decided to cut the neckline of the dress between the two views included in the pattern. I also widened the front bib by 1/4″ starting at the outside shoulder and tapering to nothing where the curve starts at the waist area.
I love the cool button strap detail on the Topshop dress. I lengthened the back straps on the York by 2.5″ and shortened the front straps by 1″ so that there would be some overlap for the button/buttonhole.
One thing I didn’t do was to pay attention to the width of the front strap when I lengthened the back strap. I should have widened it a bit as I was lengthening.
My back strap ended up narrower than the front strap and it looked a little strange when I overlapped them. My only choice was to trim down the front strap a bit to be the same width as the back. It wasn’t a big deal but I’d widen the back straps if I were to do it again.
Using the straps as I guide, I cut facing pieces to use to finish the front and back shoulder areas. I knew that this area needed to be reinforced since I was going to be adding buttonholes and jeans buttons. I interfaced the facing pieces, folded the bottom raw edges up by 3/8″, and pressed them into place.
Next, I pinned them right sides together with the shoulder straps. Then, I pinned my bias tape to the necklines and armholes. On the original York pinafore pattern the neckline is finished with one continuous strip of bias tape and both armholes are finished with continuous strips of bias tape.
For my modified York I finished the front and back armholes separately, since there is now a working button fly (I guess that’s still what it’s called?) on both hips. I also finished the front and back necklines separately. The bias tape only needs to slightly overlap the shoulder facings when you attach it since they will be turned right side out and the ends will be enclosed.
I started attaching the bias tape at the front hip, sewed up to the shoulder, pivoted to sew the shoulder seam, pivoted down to sew the front neck curve, pivoted to sew across the other shoulder seam, then pivoted to sew down to the other front armhole/hip. I followed the same steps to attach the bias tape and shoulder facings to the back bodice.
After the bias tape was sewn into place I understitched the bias tape to the seam allowance. It’s best to do this before trying to turn the shoulder facing right side out.
One thing that I found very helpful when it came time to turn the shoulder facings right side out was to use the thread tail method for sharp collar points. Having the thread tails to gently tug made it so much easier to get the narrow tubes turned and to get the corners pulled out as much as possible. (If you haven’t ever used the thread tail method for your shirt collars your mind will be blown. My collars have never looked so good!)
When you’ve got your straps turned right side out you can fold the bias tape and pin it into place for topstitching. I used copper topstitching thread on my dress but I kept all purpose thread in my bobbin.
After I turned out the shoulders and pressed them into place I topstitched across the width of the strap along the bottom fold to enclose the raw edges of the bias tape and the raw edges of the facing.
Then I added the buttonholes and jeans buttons to the shoulder straps. I thought it was cute that the inspiration dress had two buttons so I added an extra button but not an extra buttonhole. I know I’ll never adjust the straps since this dress is custom made for my height. 🙂
Once I had the straps all assembled I realized that I should have shortened the front straps by about an inch more. There is a lot of overlap between the front and back straps and they weren’t staying lined up nicely on my shoulders. I ended up adding another row of top stitching and sewed the two straps together.
The issue with that solution is that now I can’t actually use the buttons on the shoulders. It is actually easier for me to get into the dress if I unbutton the shoulder straps and step into the dress instead of pulling it on over my head. I may unpick that top stitching and add a sew in snap that won’t be visible. That will keep the straps in place and I’ll still be able to use those buttons and buttonholes.
The last modification was to add the round bottom patch pockets to the front of the dress. I used the chest pocket from the York apron extension pack as a guide but widened it by an inch and made it about an inch and a half longer. The patch pockets are a fun touch and they were another opportunity to add some fun top stitching and bar tacks.
I am so excited about how my modified York pinafore turned out! I hope that over time it will fade into a color closer to my inspiration dress but for now I’m loving the dark denim with the copper topstitching thread and antique copper buttons.
What do you think of this hack? I hope it inspires you! I had a lot of fun sewing this dress and I know I’m going to love wearing it!