Just to start, I have to say this pattern was amazing. This was my first time doing a pattern from Helen’s Closet and I loved it. You can purchase the pattern here! I felt so connected to her as I was listening to the “Love to Sew” podcast while I was making this garment! I felt like she was watching over me, telling me “you can do it!” There were so many extra tips within the pattern instructions. So many questions were answered while doing the pattern and reading the special notes. This pattern introduced me to many firsts.
Needles and Thread- The Basics:
This was my first time to even use a jeans needle (110/18). I was worried this would be too heavy for the twill that I had. I have seen a 90 with the jeans label but these were labeled as jeans so I went with it. These needles are great quality and I got them from Sewing Machine Mart in Birmingham, AL. I loved how this needle performed on this project. I also used a heavier weight thread. You can use heavier weight thread for top stitching if you desire. The heavier the weight the smaller the number. I used a 30 wt thread. For all purpose sewing, I use a 40 wt usually or just the all purpose label thread. I also had to change out my serger threads as this was a darker fabric. I don’t do this very often but I have done it before. I also changed my serger needles to a heavier weight. I used some organ needles (love them) and used a 90/14 because it is what I had. I love my Baby Lock Imagine and there is an air threading feature! I used to have a Brother 1034D and loved it as well, but no air threading. It was a good starter serger though! I made so many dresses with that serger. For my sewing machine, I currently have a Pfaff with the IDT system! I love the IDT. Moves my fabric along so easily. Basically just like having a walking foot on all the time! That is another post all on its own.
Cutting out the Pattern:
This pattern was such a joy to cut out and that is rare for me to say! It has barely any pieces! Of note, I did discover something so easy during this project. Everyone probably does this already, but in case you don’t, here is a quick tip. I used a sharpie to make the pattern markings darker and visible from the wrong side of the pattern. Sometimes you need to cut the pattern facing down. Now I was able to mark my fabric without lifting up the pattern piece too high. I cut the pattern on a single layer, therefore, I had to flip the pattern to get the other side of the garment cut. I used my crayon to mark one line at the center of the top and bottom so that when I flipped, I lined it up correctly. I have my cut lines but sometimes I go past the center with those. So the markings help! Of note, don't use crayon or any marking pen on your fabric unless you KNOW it will come out. Sometimes I even have trouble getting the water or air soluble marker to come out. I try to mark within the seam allowances or on the wrong side only. If you must put the markings on the right side, as in this pattern when you mark the pockets, I used tracing paper for this purpose and a wheel.
Sometimes just getting ready for a project, like changing your needles or your threads when you know you have a little time will start your momentum. If I know I have just like 15 minutes. The clothes are in the dryer, almost done, the babies are eating breakfast, I have a moment to breathe. Ok, so change your thread to match your next project or go ahead and change that needle. You will be a lot more motivated next time you see your project to get started.
I think this pattern would fit well and be flattering on anyone! When I first showed this garment to my mom, she said wow, I think that would look slimming on me! I told her she was probably right! At the same time, it fit well in all the right places and also did not look like a balloon on me! I thought I might get lost in there somewhere but it was perfect. The sizing was spot on as well. I followed the measurements chart exactly to pick my size. It is also very easy to get on and off without any zippers or buttons! Yay!!!
Topstitching- Don't be afraid of your seam ripper:
I had to deal with topstitching that actually had to look good for this project! That was a challenge. The seam ripper and I became friends. I used variegated thread for my topstitching, which may or may not have been a good idea. If I had to seam rip a line of stitching that looked crooked, the color that I was starting with to patch the ripped area may have been totally different and changed colors more harshly than I would have liked! NOTED. Just in case someone was considering this. Also, pay attention to what color thread you want on each side. I put the green variegated thread on top and white in the bobbin to better match my bias tape. Also, make sure you are catching your bias tape when you topstitch!
I also made my own bias tape which is another post for another day! I had some beautiful cotton that coordinated well with my green twill. This twill fabric was from Joann’s fabric. Not entirely sure of the content or percentages of cotton. This was more of a wearable toile using some fabric that is not quite as expensive. I like to make wearable toiles!
In general, it is very difficult for me to make garments that are not prints, but solids. It is also very difficult for me to avoid the temptation to spice up the garment with decorative bias binding. If I used print double fold bias binding, then this would be visible from the outside. This would limit what I could wear with the garment, and that would defeat the purpose of me creating a great wardrobe stable! I decided to compromise with a decorative single fold bias binding. Sleek and subdued on the outside, party on the inside!!
I also have a comment on the styling of this garment. In real life, non-instagrammable everyday me, I will probably wear this garment with TOMS and and v-neck knit t shirt or maybe a cami or some other cute flutter sleeve top? However, I could not resist wearing it with some of my favorite heels by L’artiste and the contrasting lines of an off the shoulder top and wide open lines with the thin perpendicular neckline of the York pinafore. It was just so appealing to the eye! It really spiced up the pinafore and added a nice feminine touch! But, I just love this garment because I feel it could go either way. I feel like I can look casual with some flats and a different shirt. Or I can look fancy with some heels and an off the shoulder top! I love how sewing is helping me look cute and comfortable at the same time. Just because I have 3 kids, doesn’t mean I have to look like they have beaten me down and given me tons of gray hairs! If anything they have helped me feel more beautiful and have given me so much joy! I will be slipping this on next time I have to take Emma to ballet!