As the year goes on, I am learning and getting more and more comfortable with true vintage sewing patterns wether they be digitised or the actual original envelope and pieces. We have only made two true vintage patterns which were vintage Simplicity 8398 and McCalls 5142 both of which come from what is known as ‘the big four’ pattern companies. As I was looking at my sewing inspiration board, I saw that I still had a lot of garments featured in The Queen’s Gambit on my board. Although it’s no longer as popular as it once was, I still love The Queens Gambit and it’s become one of my comfort shows. Every time I watch it, I long for a pinafore which is how this sewing project begun. I do wish to sew a Queen’s Gambit inspired pinafore but I’m just waiting for the perfect tartan (which is quite the challenge for me for some odd reason). Today I thought I’d try making a cute tartan pinafore and although it’s not anything from The Queens Gambit, the original inspiration lead me here.
When it comes to true vintage sewing patterns, you can either find a real vintage pattern and use that, or buy from a company that scans, digitises and perfectly reprints true vintage patterns. It’s kind of a great way of sharing true vintage and not worrying about damaging something old. Whilst browsing The Vintage Pattern Shop, I saw the pattern 1028 from Style Print which featured a few pinafore style dresses and a skirt all with variations. I am unsure of the original release date of this pattern but it’s definitely from the 1950’s. I absolutely fell in love with style B as I love the shoulder straps with buttons and the massive pockets.
When it comes to sizing, especially with vintage patterns, they can be a bit hit or miss. The pattern I purchased had a bust 36″ as the size which generally works well for me when it comes to vintage patterns. The other two true vintage patterns we tried had a 36″ and a 34″ bust size and they both fit me perfect. Although I have a 38″ bust, I find that vintage patterns vary so by going down a size, it somehow fits perfectly. I think sewing patterns generally are more generous as it’s easier to take things in rather than let them out. It also helps to measure the pattern pieces to see if you need to add anything when cutting your pieces out; I understand it’s not easy to measure something like an online sewing pattern before you buy but it might be worth contacting the company and kindly (and politely) asking them to help you. I can stand behind The Vintage Pattern Company for having great customer service. I had an issue trying to check out from their website and although they couldn’t help me fix the issue, I was able to purchase from their Etsy store instead.
When it came to choosing my fabric for this project, I knew I wanted tartan which limited the choices in my collection down to two. I chose this tartan originally purchased from fabric.com and it was a fantastic choice. I had 4 and a half yards of the fabric which turned out to be just enough even when trying my best to pattern match. With it currently being more on the chilly side when it comes to weather, I thought this pinafore would be super cute if I wore it with a top underneath and the colours in the tartan mean I can pull out earthy tones but also feel comfortable by just wearing simple black or white tops underneath. This pattern also needs some buttons and I went with plain navy buttons of which I used 4.
Sew, let’s get started. If you’re unfamiliar with true vintage sewing patterns, then it might seem a bit odd at the scarcity and simplicity of the instructions. As home sewing was a lot more popular many decades ago, people had greater knowledge and skills when it came to garment construction. Most households had a sewing machine and even books on how to adjust, mend and alter garments to make them fit perfectly. Over time this knowledge was deemed not as essential which for modern sewers trying vintage patterns can be a bit of a challenge. The instructions for Style Print 1028 were very simple and relied heavily on the user knowing what to do themselves. For something like this pinafore, the construction was actually very simple, straight forward and easy to figure out for yourself.
The front bodice had two sets of darts which the back only had one. The bodice was finished with facing that I added interfacing to for added strength with this type of fabric. I found whilst sewing that the tartan frayed quite a bit and I used my pinking sheers to finish the ends as my overlocker was still broken. I was surprised by just how easy this bodice was to make but I was also proud that I could sew it without too much guidance from the pattern instructions themselves. If you are new to sewing and attempting this pattern, start with the darts, connect front to back bodices, add facing and interfacing and clean up your edges. If you’ve made a few dresses, then this process should be pretty self explanatory.
Whilst cutting out my pieces, I really paid close attention to the tartan pattern and tried my best to pattern match all the lines. I wanted the lines of the tartan in the bodice to match up with the lines of the tartan in the matching skirt. I knew if the lines were off or wonky that it would bother me so I took extra care when cutting everything out. After I cut out the bodice, I used the pieces to line up my tartan lines before I cut out my skirt which really helped. The center front line of the pinafore is straight and continuous and I was super chuffed.
When it came to making the skirt, there were quite a few pieces to put together; 4 in total. The side front skirt pieces also have a folded pocket which you make by creating a large fold, stay stitching it down and then attaching your skirt sides to the front. I made sure to try and align all the tartan lines as best I could to prevent any obvious eye-sores. These kind of pockets are super cute and I had never made them before yet I’m so glad I gave them a shot. They really are easy and a beginner can figure them out too. The last thing I needed to do was to add button holes and sew on the buttons … which took me a month to finish because if I don’t finish when I’m in ‘the zone’ I find it difficult to go back to a project and continue.
This pattern came together over the course of an afternoon/evening and I loved how simple it was. Simple true vintage patterns feel really encouraging as they make you realise that they aren’t so scary after all. Style Print 1028 was probably one of the easier garments I have made this year so far and from this pattern, I am keen to try the other styles option this pattern has. This pattern has a cute retro librarian/teacher vibe which is what I learn towards in the cooler months but I can completely imagine this pattern in a bright print looking super cute for summer.
Fit; The sped and ease that this pinafore came together made me love this garment so much more than I ever thought. After procrastinating with sewing on the buttons for at least a month, when I finally got to wear it, I loved it so much. The fit was wonderful and the only thing I thought that was slightly off was the straps. I think I should have brought the straps in at the front a little more towards the centre but thats a quick fix. There is a slight gape along the neckline but I’m hoping that moving the straps will smooth this out.
I think the skirt is really cute but personally I would prefer it a little fuller. The skirt seemed fuller in the illustration but I suppose I can add more fabric on my next attempt. I do love the pockets and will sew on buttons and add button holes at a later date. The pockets are big enough to store many snacks but they don’t feel natural enough to just keep your hands in your pockets, they’re a little too high.
I do wish that I was able to line up the tartan lines a little better. I’ve never really worked with tartan before and I’m glad the center line is straight but I think the next time I make this pattern, I will make sure to get extra fabric to allow for pattern matching. This fabric was great to work with but I wish my overlocker worked when I made it so I could bind the seams a little better. During my wear of my pinafore, there were little bits of fabric fluff coming off and onto my shirt. No big deal as I know with regular wear this will end eventually.
This is a pattern I really want to revisit soon; I love the other styles of pinafore this pattern offers and I think I know what fabric I will be keeping an eye out for for my next attempt. This was a really fun way to learn how to make a pinafore and although it’s not my dream Queens Gambit pinafore, I know that I will get better with each attempt and eventually find the perfect tartan print.
If you are looking for a pinafore pattern, I would recommend Style Print 1028. With multiple styles to choose from, the styles can be mixed and matched to put your ideal bodice with your preferred skirt. The pattern is easy to follow and the garment you are left with is wonderful.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.