Mel's Helen's Closet York Pinafore made in stretch suedette

York Pinafore by Helen’s Closet

I don’t often make the same pattern twice. It’s not because I don’t want to – I just rarely remake things because I always have a mile long list of new projects and patterns to try! However, there are some garments that I reach for time and time again and those patterns definitely deserve to be revisited. For me, the York Pinafore by Helen’s Closet is a wardrobe workhorse - I made my first version last year in some gold floral needlecord and I love it. It layers beautifully over loads of different tops, is super comfy and easy to wear and it doesn’t need ironing – what more could you want?!

In December, fellow blogger Patsy and I went to visit Harriet at the Sew Me Sunshine studio. We had so much fun stroking every single fabric and one of the first bolts that caught my eye was the Caroline stretch suedette (this fabric does have a slight flaw where it has a slight faded line in the centre, but as the fabric is super wide it is easy to work around this fault, plus Harriet has discounted it by 30% due to the small flaw). I had seen this gorgeous blue-grey floral on the website and were it not for the self-imposed fabric ban I am on, I would have snapped some up ages ago! I immediately thought how perfect it would be for another York Pinafore and Harriet very kindly gave me 2 metres for this blog post – thanks so much, Harriet!

I was really keen to crack on with my project, so I checked the care instructions on the Sew Me Sunshine website ready to pre-wash my fabric. The good news was I could start my project straight away! But the bad news was the suedette is dry clean only. Since making my dress, in the interest of avoiding any kind of specialist cleaning, I tested a 6” swatch of the fabric in my washing machine on a delicate cycle and it washed beautifully! The expected shrinkage occurred (roughly 10%), but the soft texture stayed perfect – what a win! (I would strongly recommend testing a swatch of this fabric in your own machine before washing the whole cut, just in case!)

I really should remake projects more – it’s so speedy to cut out when your pattern pieces are all ready and waiting for you and you know there will be no new alterations required! I made the size ‘small’ York Pinafore (the pattern sizing has since been updated, but I think this is the equivalent of the new size 8) and took 1” inch off the top of each side piece, grading down to the bottom of the pocket. I cut my front and back pieces and carefully pattern-matched my pockets in less than an hour – I wasn’t sure what the fabric would be like to work with, but it was very well behaved. I made and attached my pockets the same evening, then called it a night.

The next evening I joined my front and back pieces at the side and shoulder seams and then I was ready for the bias binding marathon. I bought some really lovely green ready-made bias tape that matched the fabric beautifully – not having to make my own definitely saved me a lot of time. Another great time saver was ‘batching tasks’ during the binding process – I sewed the bias to the garment on both armholes and the neck hole, then graded and pressed the tape on all three openings and so on. Helen suggests this method in the instructions and it was so much faster than completing each section separately. If you have never made a Helen’s Closet pattern before I definitely recommend them – her instructions are fantastic and there are loads of excellent tips and tricks like this shared to help you along the way. I was worried that the stretch in the fabric could make attaching the bias difficult, but it sewed like a dream – so much so that I opted to add a bias tape finish to the hem, which looks really neat and tidy.

I’m absolutely delighted to have another York Pinafore in my wardrobe! The colours and large-scale floral design really are stunning and the simplicity of the dress really lets the fabric sing. I’m incredibly tempted to make a third York in a solid colour – how perfect would this khaki green jumbo cotton corduroy be? Or maybe some indigo stretch denim? I better plan another trip to the Sew Me Sunshine studio!

I was provided with this fabric free of charge by Sew Me Sunshine in exchange for this blog post and all thoughts and opinions are my own. You can see more of my sewing through my Instagram account @stitch_make_bake

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