I haven’t really been on the pinafore/overall/dungaree trend of the last few years or so, being a teen of the 90’s and wearing plenty of that sort of thing the first time around, but as often happens when one is exposed to enough styles, body shapes and variations of such a trend I’ve been swayed. I pulled the trigger on Helen’s Closet new pinafore dress, the York the day it was released. Despite overcoming my breastfeeding obstacles with the babelet, and thoroughly enjoying the time I spend nursing him I can’t wait until I can start to choose my outfits and sewing projects simply on what I want to wear, and not based on how easy it will be to access my boobs! But of course that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the York – awesome sideboob access! I loved the scoop sides, the lack of fitting needed and the slight cocoon shape.
The dress was added to my queue but was bumped to the top a few weeks ago after I had a bit of a miserable moment one Sunday morning, hunting for something chic to wear out for lunch with friends that wasn’t jeans. I couldn’t find a skirt or winter breastfeeding friendly dress to wear that didn’t make me feel like an overstuffed sausage. The misery was short lived. I wasn’t going to feel disconsolate about the body I have, and I took immediate action that week, getting the pattern printed at a local copyshop, picking some black stretch denim from the stash and planning the style mods I would be making. I knew from the start that I’d be modifying the pockets – I love the giant patch pockets included in the pattern but long term readers will know I also love a cross body seam with an in-seam drop pocket – I’ve added them to other dress and top patterns in the past and find them very practical as well as stylish. I don’t use a tutorial anymore but in the past have used this one from Colette
I added a seam across the hips at the level of the top of the kangaroo pocket on the original pattern on both the front and back. I also cut the front and back pieces in two rather than on the fold, adding a full length CF and CB seam that was topstitched for some more design interest.
Being a winter piece I wanted to line at least the skirt part so I could wear it with tights, and adding that modification was very simple, by cutting a second front and back skirt piece in some leftover rayon. After sewing the sideseams of the rayon up I then basted it to the denim skirt pieces, treating them as one before adding the pocket pieces.
I pretty much then followed the rest of the pattern without modifications. Despite a bust larger than the C cup it was drafted for I decided to just cut a large with no fit modifications and I’m very pleased with the fit over the bust. I cut the longest length of the shortest view and ended up taking a nice deep hem to finish above my knees for some winter sass.
Even with my modifications this came together very quickly, over a week or so of sewing during naps. I made the bias tape myself from some cotton leftovers in the stash, and a little tag of the same fabric to make it easier to differentiate front from back.
Thus far I’ve worn it as styled in these photos – over a RTW nursing top. I really don’t like these tops with the underbust split but they are very practical as an underlayer, and in a stripe I like to convince myself that the split is a little more discreet. The combination certainly provides excellent access for my small person.
I’m really pleased with the fit – I feel great in it and look forward to making a linen version for layering over tanks in summer. The stretch denim adds that bit of extra comfort when sitting on the floor with the baby and that fabulous pocket is perfect for keys, phone, some cash and the odd random rattle or teething ring.
This is my first Helen’s Closet pattern and I’m really impressed. Her instructions are excellent and I’ve also purchased the apron add on – it’s so cute and clever!