WOAH! What a doozie this Named Clothing Utu pinafore from Breaking the Patternwas for me! I will go through all the parts, but in the end, I am very happy with it! It brought on some challenges and I learned a lot! I have so much to tell you! But the main thing is that I feel super stylish in this 60’s inspired outfit and feel like I could jump onto the set of an old James Bond movie and start dancing!
I will discuss:
Finding my fabric- love at first sight!
Choice of lining
Tracing the Pattern
Drafting interfacing pieces
Pattern layout and Pattern matching
Closing in the armscye (armhole)
Styling your garment
Finding my fabric:
The first time I saw this fabric was in Sew Over It in London. This is stretch corduroy called Alfie. I saw it on the back wall and I had to double take it because I almost passed it. I was walking along and looking at all the fabric, just marveling at the beauty. I saw it and was like “wait, back it up, what….was…..that!” The design alone was enough to draw me in, but then I saw that it was corduroy! Excuse me….!! This doesn’t normally happen to me but I immediately knew what I wanted it for. I thought about all the beautiful patterns in the new Named Clothing Breaking the Pattern book and knew that the Utu pinafore would be fabulous! Do you ever feel lost in your visions sometimes and feel like they could either totally fail or be amazing! This was one of those times! ANYWAYS….I digress….I didn’t have the book with me and didn’t know how much I needed, so I went ahead and got 2.5 meters. Turns out this was way more than I needed…or was it? I made a mistake when cutting out the fabric and basically needed a whole extra meter, so I ended up needed a lot of it but more of that info below.
I think this pattern would work well with any stable fabric with body. Corduroy worked really well. It would also work with a twill or canvas. Even a stiffer cotton would be nice, as most of the important parts are interfaced. It would be great in denim, tweed, wool, etc. Very many possibilities.
Choice of Lining:
For my lining, I had a viscose batiste from Stylemaker Fabrics. I will be honest and say that I am not sure it was the best choice. While it feels so soft, it was not very slippery and it was difficult for the fabric to keep its shape and it stretched quite a bit longer than my shell fabric (the corduroy). I will discuss more of this later, but I possibly should have interfaced it as well or stay-stitched around the whole thing! Its hard for me to recommend materials for lining as I don’t have a lot of experience with it myself. However, I do think that you should definitely use something in your stash if you can and I do prefer breathable fabrics. I just think that I need to make sure I keep the fabric stable by staystitching close to the seam line. In case you don’t know what staystichingis, it is just a line of stitching slightly inside the seam allowance to help the fabric keep its shape and to prevent stretching. It is usually the same stitch length as you will use to sew the garment or a bit shorter.
What did I learn about the lining?:
I should have used a lining fabric that was a little more slippery and should have stay-stitched the edges. The batiste is a tad bit sticky when it comes to going over layers. Here is a great video for linings! I have trouble deciding on a lining fabric and I think that this videowas really helpful! I do think, if you will be wearing clothing underneath the garment, then the lining should be slippery!
I didn’t modify the pattern very much! In fact, I tried to sew the lining to the sleeves a different way than they recommended in the book and it totally failed! So, follow the instructions unless you are sure!
However, at the end of the construction, I decided not to put a button on the inside. I believe I might have taken too much of a seam allowance when putting the garment together and I didn’t realize this until the lining was in. I couldn’t overlap the pieces that much, so I decided to overlap just enough to attach the main buttons to the buttonholes and then put the other 4 buttons beside it! This makes more sense when you read the pattern, but essentially I cheated on the whole double-breasted thing!
Tracing the pattern:
Tracing the pattern was fairly easy for this pattern. You have to trace part of a pattern piece from one sheet and connect it and continue tracing from another sheet to connect a long pattern piece. There are very few pieces so this was great! You just have to find the right color in the sea of multiple lines of different colors on the pattern sheet in the book! However, there is also an option for you to print your patterns from a copy shop I believe, They announced this on instagram at one point. I haven't checked into it but worth a look!
Drafting interfacing pieces:
I also traced onto the interfacing to draft those pieces. The interfacing does not have a pattern piece. So I put my cut out shell piece underneath some interfacing and then drew the lines for where I would cut my interfacing. This made it easy to cut out. See below:
Pattern layout and Pattern matching:
Layout for my fabric choice was a huge failure for me! At first glance, the layout looks very simple, and it is! However, if you are like me, and you completely didn’t notice that your material has an obvious stripe within the pattern, then you end up with pieces that are slightly off!
If you have fabric that doesn’t have any horizontal stripe or plaid, then the layout is very simple and can even be cut out front and back pieces side by side with fabric that is 60 inches wide and folded selvage to selvage.
I cut out my pieces and interfaced them, sewed all the darts, sewed them at the side seams and shoulder seams, pressed the seams open, and decided to try on the shell to assess the approximate fit. This is when I noticed the mismatch! Surprisingly everything matched, even the fronts, except for the side seams!!! I decided to cut out a new back!! I had to rip the shoulder and side seams from the old back piece and then proceed. I cut out a new back by trying to match it at the notches with the side pieces. In the perfect world, I would have perfectly matched both sides but I was only able to really match one side and the other side just fell at the other side of the pattern piece.I had no control on what the other side of the back piece looked like and I was not able to change that side. In the perfect world, I would have cut out the fronts separately and matched them exactly with the back so that the pattern would connect seamlessly. But at least the obvious stripe in the pattern is level all the way around! I interfaced it and sewed the darts. Then I put it together at the side seams and shoulder seams again. Phew! It still didn’t match that seamlessly but it is much better!
Here are a few pictures below of how I marked my darts with tracing paper! There are so many darts within the pattern! Then I reinforced the line with tailor's chalk.
I explain this in my youtube video, but the hardest part for me was the lining! I had to stare at the instructions for a good while. As I said before, I found that the material I chose for lining was very warped and stretched by the time I had sewed the darts and put it together. I should have stay stitched around the whole thing! Especially the curves and the parts cut on the bias. Because of the stretching, putting in this lining was extremely difficult! I had to pretty much fold it over in places and gather it to attach it. If I could do it over, I would just get another material for the lining, stay-stitch it and do it over, then attach it! I don’t I had realized how badly it stretched until I got to the sleeves! By then, the whole thing is almost attached! Nevertheless, I moved on and continued.
Closing in the armscye (armhole):
Here is a little help with closing in the garment at the armscye (armhole)! Then you will need to sew under the arms on the front and back. I tried to invent my own way of sewing this but don’t do that! In my youtube video you can see how this is accomplished in better detial. You need to first turn the garment right side out. Then you reach up into the open hem allowance all along the bottom, as the lining has not yet been sewn to the shell there, and you will grab the front armscye (armhole) area. The instructions state to turn the seam allowances in right sides together and basically make it look as if it has been sewn shut already. Technically if you want, you could hand sew this here or you could turn the seam allowances in by 3/8 inch and top stitch it. But the instructions tell you to pull the seam allowances out through the open hem allowance. This just helps you grab the seam and set it up as it will look and need to be sewn properly. This helps you mentally see how the right sides are together and how you need to sew the seam. Its hard to see this once you pull it out the bottom! If you grab it correctly then you have a starting point. Then you sew from the shoulder seam to the underarm seam, just on the front. I then pushed everything back right side out. Then, I had just about the worst time understitching it and I just did a small part. Next you move onto the back seam of the same armscye and sew this the same way by pulling it out. Of note, I pulled the front seam out of the hem allowance closest to the front edge and I pulled the back seam out of the hem allowance closest to the center. This sounds all so confusing, but I know but you can do it! And hopefully my video will be helpful! I will also show you what not to do! I thought I had figured out an easier way, but it totally failed and there is no way to turn it back right side out if you try to sew the whole armscye all at one time! Just DON’T DO IT!
When I got to the hem, I initially thought that I had to tuck a lot of the excess into the hem turn up! I then just top stitched it from the front instead of hand sewing it. This is hardly visible from the front as the stitches basically bury themselves in the corduroy! I put it on and noticed the shell was buckling and it seemed as if I had shortened the lining too much by tucking it in! Not my finest moment of sewing. I got my seam ripper out and went to town. Then, I noticed that the length wasn’t too bad and I attached the lining like I was supposed to! With right sides together I sewed the majority of the hem and then turned the whole thing right side out through the few inches I left un-sewn. I then just top stitched the whole thing closed because again, you can barely see the stitches on the corduroy!
Again, as I mentioned above in modifications, I did not add the inside button!
I hope this helps with the construction. It is a little difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. My youtube video offers some explanation as well!
I think because I was having so much trouble with my lining, I may have grabbed too much of a seam allowance and it made the garment a little snug. I also do a small bust adjustment fairly regularly on garments that have darts. I tried to find a video to help me with this because this pattern has a side bust dart and a contour dart. I found help from Anika with Made to Sew for a side bust dart and waist dart in a bodice but nothing specifically for my situation. Looking back, I should have tried the adjustment and just followed her instructions and just redrew the dart moved over. I decided not to mess with it since I didn’t want to ruin the pattern and really warp the garment. However, I wish I would have tried because there is a little too much room in the bust. I will still wear it but it wont fit as well as I would have liked. Here is a link to her video about small bust adjustments with a waist dart and a bust darts! Nothing wrong with the pattern, and nothing wrong with me, just something I should have done!
Styling Your Garment:
This part was easy!! My first thought was to pair it with a turtle neck and this looks fabulous. I also think this would look nice with a white button up shirt with a fabulous collar or no collar and an awesome neck scarf! Either way, this makes me feel accomplished and fabulous! There are so many emotions attached to this garment that I feel like it has been an emotional roller coaster, but I am glad I challenged myself and pushed forward. Thanks for coming on the journey with me!