Tartan York Pinafore

helen's closet york heatherymakes (4)

As soon as the York Pinafore was released by Helen’s Closet I knew I would make it one day. It is such a perfect pattern, and I knew it would fit into my world very nicely indeed.

Well, I’ve just completed my first version and I can honestly say it’s love.

The fabric is one that I’ve had in my stash for years. I pre-washed it at the same time as my fabric for my culottes (before they were made and dyed), so it must have been languishing in the stash for at least 3 years. It’s a wool blend, that’s all I remember: I’m not even sure if I bought it in person, or online.

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It’s been a wonder to work with. It doesn’t really fray, it’s stable, and it also responds really well to a pressing with plenty of steam. Wonderful. It made sewing up this pinafore a delight, although the print matching was rather exasperating at times. Thanks to me having cut a cushion back out of the fabric several years ago, I didn’t have enough fabric to lay the pattern pieces out as required, so the back and front are upside down. I luckily had enough scraps left to cut out four pockets, instead of two, as the first two were pattern matching duds.

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But when it came to sewing it up, the malleability of the fabric made it much simpler to make sure it all came together nicely. I am pleased with how the pockets disappear in, but the top-stitching still helps them stand out a bit.

I used red satin bias-binding on the top edge of the pocket, to give a nice feeling as they were used. The satin bias-binding is almost finished now and I quite fancy some more as it does add a lovely touch to things. A more subtle colour might be more attractive though.

Photo also shows the upside down seam matching at the sides..

I basted and tried the pinafore which was necessary, as it was far too big at first. I cut the size Medium, following the size recommendations, but ended up taking it in 2 cm each side at the top of the side seam, and then grading out into the skirt. I left the pockets where they were because I can still get my hands in, even with the slightly narrower tops, and it would have messed up the carefully cut out pieces if I’d moved them to fit the new shape.

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I cut out View A (longer length), but turned up 3 inches for a really deep hem. Prior to this the pinafore reminded me of my primary school teacher’s dress. She had a wonderful tartan sheath dress that is probably the only item of her clothing I remember. She was a fantastic teacher, and I always loved that dress, but knee length just did not feel like me!

As an aside, my cat adores this fabric. I couldn’t leave it anywhere as she’d find it and turn it into a bed 🤷🏻‍♀️

I tried to finish the dress in time for my boyfriend’s mum’s art show, held at a local art centre, but I really didn’t want to rush the finish, so I never completed it in time. Slightly disappointing, but I am glad I did it this way, as I think I would have ended up compromising on the finish if I rushed too much.

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In the end, it turns out that the bias binding I had was far too stiff for the fabric, so that put a stopper to things anyway. I was so desperate to finish that I did consider the stiff binding, but it really wasn’t right so I am glad I waited for softer stuff to arrive. But… I then didn’t have grey thread for the bottom bobbin. I wasn’t waiting again so I’ve compromised with navy thread on the bias binding, but I’m not happy with this so it might be replaced at a later date.

The end result is very much a winter pinafore: the wool fabric and tartan dictate that. However I see more Yorks in my future. It’s easy to wear, versatile and I really enjoyed making it (is it just me, or is bias-binding the most satisfying thing?). I do need to find a way to stop it sticking to my tights – it may be time to make an underskirt!! – but other than that, I’m delighted.

helen's closet york heatherymakes (6)helen's closet york heatherymakes (3)helen's closet york heatherymakes (9)


This marks a non-tick on my 2019 Make 9 list. I’ve not publicised this, but here’s a sketch of the current items. The York was listed as a runner up, so sadly I still haven’t made a mark on the list.

Moderne, skirt (pattern undecided), Ness, jumper (undecided), Avery, underwear (undecided), culottes (?), men’s shirt (?), Sasha

The runner’s up are: York, sweatshirt (?), Matcha, jeans (?!!!!), jersey tops (this is a given that I’ll be making more of these… Probably Grails). I am hoping to achieve all of these too, as a cheat…

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Dinnocenzo says:

    Beautiful job on the pinafore! I am collecting wool plaid as well and need to sew some of it up. Probably better to line it next time with Something slippery so it won’t stick to your tights.


    1. I think you’re right. I knew it would be sticky, but I do love it anyway! Hope you enjoy choosing what to make with your wool.


  2. Ann says:

    I love how you did thd pockets- the angled placement with the plaid matching the dress.


    1. Thank you! The pattern called for the angled top and I think it’s such a lovely detail!


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