Vintage Sewing

The Vintage Pinafore Dress of Joy

October 13, 2009

This, dear friends, is why I sew, and sew vintage. When I saw this stunning dark blue Paisley needlecord in an online fabric shop, it reminded me immediately of the skirts and dresses I used to wear as a child. I badly wanted to make a pinafore (US: jumper) dress with it, but when I went to look at the pattern books, I found nothing for adults that remotely resembled what I had in mind. Apparently the pinafore or dungaree dress is not particularly popular these days. So I went looking for vintage patterns, and found this adorable 70s pattern: McCall 4137

It was a Junior size 9, which is B=32, W=24.5 and H=34 – that’s about an inch smaller than my waist, so I let out all the skirt seams a tiny bit and made the waistband longer, to end up with a garment waist measurement of 27″ for that comfortable ease when sitting down. I want to wear this to the library (I’m a grad student) so it had to be the kind of skirt you can wear sitting as well as standing!

It was very quick and a pleasure to make up – I love the simple shapes of the gored skirt, the square applied pockets, the topstitching, and the fact that it was the dress of my dreams in a fabulous fabric. The pattern has you make the bib detachable, but I very definitely wanted a pinafore, so I attached it in the waistband front seam and sewed the straps down at the back with topstitching. I would love to make it again, and if I do I might redraft the bib a little, just to try and make the neckline and straps a bit less boxy. I might also lengthen the skirt by an inch so it hits just below, rather than just above the knee. But overall, I’m a very happy sewer!

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