Pretty Vintage Pinny from Vogue Pattern

At the recent Knitting and Stitching show I was tasked with demonstrating the lovely Vogue pattern of vfinished pinnie bestintage aprons (Vogue 8643) so of course, I made it up first and then cut out further sections to demonstrate at the show daily. So I thought a tutorial on making this pattern might be useful.

The apron came together easily although it does have some unusual shaping, which adds to the vintage style. There are two side panels which are gathered to a shaped centre panel. Big patch pockets can be trimmed along the top with lace or ric rac, or have appliqué or lacy edging.

For the demonstrations, I decided to concentrate on the ties, the patch pockets with inserted lace edging along the top edges and hemming. The view I made, view A, also has the lace edging along the top edge too.

The first step was to make the patch pockets. Step one is to add the lace edging along the seam line of the pocket top. With right sides together, stitch in place so the straight edge of the trim is along the seam line and the scallop edge hanging down towards the pocket. Then add the pocket lining sandwiching the lace trim between the layers which are placed right sides together.  Sew around the pocket, leaving a turning gap in the bottom edge. At the curves, stitch slowly, stopping with needle down, raise presser foot slightly and pivot the fabric – continue like to this to get a nice smooth curved seam.
TIP: Work with the pocket front uppermost so you can see the stitching holding the lace trim in place, sew just to the left of the first row of stitching so it will be encased within the seam.

It is also important to clip and notch the curved seams of the pockets so that they will turn through smoothly – cut little wedge shapes from the seam allowance at the curves.

Edge Stitch pockets in place
Edge Stitch pockets in place

The pockets are then edge-stitched to the side panels – edge stitching is just stitching close to the edge.

TIP: To achieve a straight seam, nicely on the edge, use the inner edge of the presser foot as the guide and move the needle to the far right  (using the stitch width button to move the needle when sewing with a straight stitch).

Stitch gathered side panels to front
Stitch gathered side panels to front

The side panels are then attached to the front panel but first, it is important to stay stitch the inner curves on the front panel, to prevent them stretching out of shape as you sew Gather the top of the side panels to fit the inner curve of the front and sew together.

TIP: To stay stitch – stitch with a standard stitch length just within the seam allowance, close to the seam line.

Stitch trim to top of front panel the same way as attaching to pocketsTRIM ADDED TO TOP EDGE
Ric rac or lace trim is then stitched to the top edge of the front piece prior to the ties and facing being added following the same technique as attaching the trim to the pocket top.

Attach ties to the back panel at the open end of the tie
Attach ties to the back panel at the open end of the tie

The ties are stitched, right sides together around the pointed ends and up to a large circle on one long edge as this is left unstitched in order to insert the apron back into the tie end neatly. This is an unusual way of attaching ties, but does produce a neat finish.

The apron is then finished with an interfaced facing across the apron front to give a waistband effect.

I hope you enjoy making your own vintage pinny.  I will be doing some more Big Vintage Sewalong Demos at the Edinburgh Knitting and Stitching Show daily from 28th April – 30th April. Do come along and join me.

Walkaway dress still a’walking!

Butterick 4790

Last year the Butterick Walkaway dress was featured on the Great British Sewing Bee which was the start of a promotion by The McCall Pattern Company (who distribute Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew and of course McCall Patterns) that exceeded all expectations and culiminated  in a massive £8000 cheque being donated by them to The Eve Appeal.  Personally the best part from my point of view was the spectacular sight of over a hundred women wearing their Walkaway Dresses at the Knitting and Stitching show where McCall’s held a Champagne Tea Party. It was so lovely seeing these ladies walk around the show all day, and we all felt as if we belonged to a special club – and indeed we did!

The diversity of the dresses was also fabulous to see – so many different variations, different fabric choices and combinations so although we’d all used the same pattern, no two were the same. That of course is the beauty of dressmaking!

Walkaway Dress Wendy full length
At the Walkaway Dress Tea Party, I was just one of many in my version of this iconic dress

Still a great dress to make and wear, I thought I’d share my tips on making it fit – because although it looks very simple, there can be areas that are not quite so straight-forward if you have a fuller bust like me!

The first thing I did, as I always do, is take measurements to check which size I shoud be making. (This is rarely, dare I say never, the same size as ready-to-wear high street fashions and indeed, can be 2 sizes bigger than high street). Also as I am over a C cup, I take my bust measurement around the chest or high bust – which is above the bust, under arms and around the back. I then cut out the tissue following the cutting lines for the size I needed, merging from one size to another for bust, waist and then hip.

Full Bust Adjustment

My next job was to lowered the bust point and thus bust dart and front darts as sadly, my bust point is no longer where it once was! I also do a full bust adjustment in order to increase the area around the bust, but keep the shoulders, chest, torso etc the right size. The method I used is the most commonly used method – so I cut through the centre of the new bust dart close to bust point, then diagonal from bust point to mid armhole, and vertically up front parallel to centre front but in line with bust point. I pivoted open the tissue and added spare before redrawing the side seam.  I then ’tissue fitted’. This gives a idea of how it will fit.

I also added an inch to the skirt section of the front from hem to waist to increase the waist size – but actually did take this out again when I’d made it in fabric and tried it on (before adding bias binding) as it wasn’t needed But better to have done that than find it wouldn’t fit!

I decreased the length on all corresponding pieces by  5cm (2″) as I wanted to make the dress shorter, more knee length suits me. If there is one asset I do have, it is good legs!

Added Insets and Godet
I also love to wear full petticoats, really 1950s style, which meant adjusting the shape of the front/under skirt which is cut straight normally and doesn’t have the swing of a circular skirt. So I  added triangular inserts to the front skirt section at the sides to give it a fuller skirt and again, after trying it on and wearing it once, decided to add a further godet into the centre front of the skirt to further expand the underskirt to accommodate my petticoat. I had found that the front of the underskirt rode up when walking etc as there still wasn’t enough room under it. I added the insets by cutting up from hem to waist seam pivoted out hem and added spare tissue.

Lowered neckline at front and raised at back
Again because of my fuller bust, I decided to lower the curved neckline at the front to a more flattering height,  but raised it at the back so that it wouldn’t slip off my shoulders all the time.

Ready to cut and sew

Having done all my adjustments, I cut out the dress and sewed it following the pattern. One of the most laborious aspects is the bias binding – but not if you have an adjustable bias binding foot for your sewing machine! This little gem wraps the binding around the fabric edge and sews it in place along the edge all in one go – so quick and easy!

I let it hang for 24 hours before hemming (although it says ‘make in a morning and wear to lunch’ the pattern does recommend hanging it for 24 hours, which is good advice when making any garment. It allows it to settle and bias cut seams to droop if they are going to so you can level them off before hemming).

Hemming could also be laborious unless you use a rolled hem foot on your machine, which again makes the task a breeze as it rolls the fabric edge under as it goes through the scroll on the front of the foot before it is stitched in place. Beautiful, and so quick!

So that is the story of my Walkaway Dress. I hope you enjoy making your own. (ps you can buy the pattern from