My York Pinafore Wrap Hack : : January Sew Your Wardrobe Basics : : You Can Hack It


Hiya readers.

So a thing happened. Last September/October-ish I lost my sewjo. Not just my sewjo…I had nojo….there was no sewing, blogging, writing, or painting happening round here.

Creative blocks happen…and I actually think I had a good long streak of making before hitting the wall. But hit the wall I did.

During my down time, I did other things. I took care of my beloved senior kitty until he crossed to the light. (Yes, I am very sad about that.) I organized drawers. I cleaned. I played my harp. And I read books. A lot of books.

Two of those books got me deep thinking about my making and the negative effect it might have on the environment.  Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and The Conscious Closet writes about how very damaging fashion is on the environment. Although I almost never shop for clothing retail, I am guilty of making more than what I really want or need. I donate ill fitting and ‘What was I thinking?’ makes to charity thrift stores; fabric scraps are donated to my local recycling center…but….too much is too much. I feel I can do better.

I’m not going to stop making. Making is such a huge part of my identity; it’s essential that I create beautiful and/or serviceable things. Being creative is good for my health and my brain and my socialization. That being said, I’m going to try and create a little less…with a lot more intention.

Some refer to this as the slow sewing movement. However you describe it, I am attempting to choose projects that require a little more. A little more time. A little more thought. A little more connection with others.

I’d love for you to share your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.

York Pinafore, Wrap York Pinafore, You Can Hack It, Sew Your Wardrobe Basics, A Colourful Canvas, Helen's Closet

Okay…today’s make. First make of the year. First really successful make since September.

While I was floundering, thinking I’d never sew again…I would scroll Pinterest or Instagram looking for ideas. Any idea. Something to wake me up. Start a spark.

The lovely Stef of Sea of Teal gave me just the spark I needed. Stefanie has challenged herself to make 12 wardrobe basics over the course of the year; a garment each month. At the beginning of each month she reveals the theme, and provides inspiration and pattern ideas. Throughout the month she posts to her instagram account, sharing her progress and the progress of others. As always with sewing community challenges, there aren’t strict rules…if a month’s theme doesn’t fit with my wardrobe needs/wants, I’ll skip it.

SO….January’s theme. Denim! Such a wardrobe basic, yes?  When I think denim and basics, I immediately think jeans. I’ve made a few pairs of jeans. Quite liked them too. My sewing machine struggles with some of the bulkier seams…I’m talking about you belt loops and hems. Sigh…takes some of the fun out of sewing them. I, fortunately, often have really good success with finding jeans at my local thrift store for $3.00 a pair. I can’t even buy the notions for that. And…please let me stress that money should never be a deciding factor when it comes to creative expression. It’s just that for me…currently…sewing my own jeans doesn’t make my heart sing.

Apparently what does make my heart sing…is hacking the York Pinafore. Ah-gain. I used some of my little grey cells working out the hack and I used a remnant of denim from my stash of fabrics. I kinda feel like I’m doing a double double (Canadians might get that); the denim is a basic and….hello…most of us that sew the York Pinafore consider it a basic pattern too.

York Pinafore, Wrap York Pinafore, You Can Hack It, Sew Your Wardrobe Basics, A Colourful Canvas, Helen's Closet


York Pinafore, Wrap York Pinafore, You Can Hack It, Sew Your Wardrobe Basics, A Colourful Canvas, Helen's Closet

Above you can see that I made bound buttonholes. Here’s the thing with those bound buttonholes…they ended up being necessary. Well, not absolutely necessary…I could have opted for no buttonholes, sewn the garment closed, and added buttons decoratively. Machine buttonholes weren’t an option because they wouldn’t have been suitable for a single layer of fabric. Because I finished the neckline with the bias bind method as instructed in the pattern I couldn’t really add a typical facing either.

What would be stellar is a full lining using the bias binding method for finishing the armhole. I want to try this. But. I can’t. I mean…I can. But I just spent half this blog post saying how I was going to sew less stuff with more intention. Let’s compromise. Maybe in the spring I could do a linen Wrap York Pinafore with a bemberg lining?

York Pinafore, Wrap York Pinafore, You Can Hack It, Sew Your Wardrobe Basics, A Colourful Canvas, Helen's Closet

It’s a tad on the short side….but hey…I was working with .8m remnant of 8.5oz denim from Blackbird Fabrics. The pinny looks cute with skinny jeans under it. I’m also wearing Avery Leggings from Helen’s Closet and my Rise Turtleneck  from Papercut Patterns. All fabric from Blackbird Fabrics! Buttons from Button Button.

The details on the hack are as follows:

Add 4 1/2″ inches to center front line.

Redraft neckline to new pattern front edge.

Cut two center fronts.

Finish garment neckline and armholes with bias binding.

Fold center front edge in 3/8″ and again 3/8″. Machine stitch.

At this point garment can be blind stitched together and decorative buttons added.

Or alternatively: omit neckline bias binding and  fully line pinafore, finishing armholes with bias binding. Add buttonholes and buttons.

Please visit Sea of Teal’s Link Up Party!

 Sew Your Wardrobe Basics: January

Wearing : :

York Pinafore : : Helen’s Closet

Avery Leggings : : Helen’s Closet

Rise Turtleneck : : Papercut Patterns


  • Reply Susan Ashworth January 28, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I’ve just retired. I have more than enough clothes, a modest but still too large stash, and a significantly reduced budget. I just can’t continue to create like I have been. My plan is to sew from my stash at a much slower rate. I also plan to buy fabric only when it’s what truly makes my heart sing, like silk dupioni. I won’t be able to afford that very often.

    On the plus side, I wear my clothes. All of them.

    • Reply Sue January 28, 2020 at 11:09 pm

      Ah…your comment has me thinking about my wardrobe. Now that I don’t work outside the home, I wear my casual clothes almost all the time. There are probably items in my closet that are not getting the wear that they used to get.

      I’m with you. Sew from the stash. Sew at a slower rate. And only buy fabric that truly makes my heart sing! Well said!

  • Reply Linda (ACraftyScrivener) January 29, 2020 at 4:55 am

    I have also found myself with a lot less time to sew, and am thinking about how to prioritize, need (for my wardrobe, ie not creating orphans) vs want (what lights my creative fancy). Haven’t come across any major revelations, but I have reduced my annoyingly large mending pile while I ponder…..

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Oh, you’ve brought up such a good point that I hadn’t really been consciously thinking about!!! Thank you!

      I sew primarily as creative expression. Technically speaking, I could furnish my wardrobe very nicely with thrift store finds…I know this because I’ve done it. BUT…you’ve reminded me that I sew more as creative expression which often roughly translates to want rather than need. The past few years, working away at my stash, trying to be ‘responsible’with my choices….ermmmm….at times I may have dampened my creativity.

      Ugh…there is no easy answer, but I think that fact that we’re thinking about it…while mending and cleaning drawers 🙂 ….is valuable.

  • Reply Linda (ACraftyScrivener) January 29, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Oh, and I ADORE your pinafore.

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 9:32 am

      Thank YOU!

      I’m soooo tempted to make another. 🙂

  • Reply Pursuit January 29, 2020 at 6:41 am

    I’ve been missing you. How sad about your dear kitty. I miss my babies every day too.
    Love this make and think the length is perfect! Hope you have a wonderful year.

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Aw…thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I appreciate them!

      I admit, the length of the pinafore feels really comfortable when I’m wearing it…and I think the silhouette looks best with tights/leggings underneath anyways. I’m sure I wouldn’t like this length if I wasn’t wearing some type of leg covering.

  • Reply Vancouver Barbara January 29, 2020 at 8:51 am

    What a STUNNER! So glad you got your mojo and Sew-Jo back. Your sewing is perfection. Those buttonholes are so impressive. I predict you will get a lot of wear out of that piece and it will probably look better and better the more you wear it.

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Thank you Barbara!

      Happy you appreciate the bound buttonholes! I find that when they go well, they really finish a garment beautifully!

      I too think I will wear this a lot. Those long weeks of scrolling Pinterest and thinking about items that I would like to add to my wardrobe resulted in this hack!

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion January 29, 2020 at 9:18 am

    First of all, condolances on your cat. I know what you are going through.
    As for the pinafore: it is really good. Nice lines, love the button holes. Yes it is a tad short, but with these leggings and the cute boots, it is fine.
    The environmental issue, the sustainability…. hmm, that has been an issue for quite some time and it is going to get bigger and bigger. It has to be when we want to save this earth.
    I find it difficult though that I am being pressured into guilt. Some people have a lot of children (very bad for the environment) or fly by plain a lot (very bad). Or like me, buy a lot of clothes (fortunately not fast fashion but very bad). Now I don’t have children and I don’t fly on plains very often. So how does this all weigh? Who is to decide for another person that they are bad?
    I try and be as responsible as I can. Trying to find out whether the brands I buy from are sustainable brands. Selecting the garbage: plastic in plastic recycle bins, etc etc. Only buy meat of animals which had a good life and replacing meat for substitues or fish a lot.
    But I am getting a bit angry about the guilt being put on my shoulders.
    Am I bad for feeling that?

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 10:12 am

      Thank you for the condolences Greetje.

      UGH…I TOTALLY understand what you are saying Greetje. I am very much against people pressuring others with their belief systems. People that pressure are often quick to provide statistics and articles that support their point of view. Unfortunately, while their knowledge about their chosen belief may be in depth, they can lack an understanding of anything beyond their own vision. It’s ultimately narrow minded and I’m very sorry if you’ve been subjected to feeling guilty!

      To add to your ‘list’; You have, by North American standards, a very small vehicle. I imagine your use of fossil fuels to be much less than many of us in Canada. Additionally, your country is very bicycle and pedestrian friendly. That is hugely environmental!

      While choosing to be more sustainable, I think we must still keep in mind that without the exchange of goods and/or services, humankind would not survive as we now do. It’s essential to our survival that we have something to exchange for food, shelter, clothing. Your support of local artists and small businesses is, in my personal opinion, of great value to society and to the planet!

      • Reply Sheila (of Ephemera) January 29, 2020 at 7:06 pm

        I read this exchange with interest – like Greetje, I also feel this pressure and guilt about shopping, even though I have shopped second hand for decades, and give my clothes to friends and family and coworkers, and then donate them back to the thrift stores I bought them from! But…I also don’t have kids. We haven’t had a car for over 3 years. I live in a condo. I walk to work or bus (rarely cab) everywhere. I shop locally from downtown local businesses. So, people (not you, Sue!), get off my back about clothes.

        Phew. That said, Sue, this is a fabulous pinafore, and it looks amazing on you. I like the length, especially with the thick tights. Love those buttonholes.

        So sorry to hear about your cat. I will give Vizzini extra hugs for him.

        • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 10:26 pm

          Hi Sheila. I can’t think of anything nicer than surrogate hugs to my Samson via Vizzini. Thank you my friend! xo

          Okay…you are a poster girl for sustainability. It’s hard for me to grasp the idea that anyone would be giving you even the slightest bit of a hard time for having a fabulous and joy filled wardrobe. It’s another example of some people being very narrow minded.

          One thing I really liked about the Conscious Closet is that the author appreciates that not everybody is a minimalist. She doesn’t tell people to get rid of all their clothes. She has different sections in the book for people that enjoy a small wardrobe, medium wardrobe, large wardrobe etc.

          • Louisa January 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm

            I think your double-breasted York is very wearable! One thing I’ve discovered about NOT being a minimalist is that clothes actually last longer. You’re cycling through them (hopefully) so there’s less wear per item and you have more options for combinations so less boredom with what you already own. The trick is to only have clothes that you want to wear! I’m with you though – slower creating, more deliberate choices and better quality are key. I’m also currently trying to edit the stashes down to a more reasonable level. Wish me luck on that one please! Also we shouldn’t feel guilty if we are doing our reasonable best to minimize waste. Nobody is going to be even close to perfect so those holier-than-thou types pointing fingers can just shut the hell up!

          • Sue January 31, 2020 at 10:59 pm

            Louisa. Dang, but you always make sense! 🙂

            I actually want to put more thought into having options for combinations…this York for example. I think it might look cute with a button up shirt but I didn’t really find one in my closet that worked. Could be a future project for me…

            I can promise you that when I start the socks knitting….well, that there’ll be slow making at its highest! But I also am hoping that knitting will be more social. Serious daydreaming about sitting on your deck with a knitting project in hand…wine too. 🙂

            I do hope that Greetje and Sheila pop back in and read your last few sentences! {clap, clap, clap}

            GOOD LUCK with the stash!!! That being said, if you don’t feel overwhelmed by it, then it’s not too big IMO.

  • Reply Stefanie January 29, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Hello Sue,
    you are always such a positive maker and I love everything you make. Your pinafore dress turned out great and I hope it’ll be a real wardrobe basic for you!
    Thank you for joining my challenge!
    Greetings from Germany,

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 4:55 pm

      Aw…thank you for your kind words Stef!

      I anticipate that my York will indeed be a go-to garment!

      Looking forward to the next challenge!

  • Reply Rebecca January 29, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Oh I love this so much! I’ve been thinking of something very similar in red cord. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Rebecca! Happy to hear that you like the hack. It would be so cute in corduroy. I didn’t do a full tutorial on this hack…if you have any questions, just let me know though.

  • Reply Sharon January 29, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    So sorry to hear about your Kitty, not matter what age it always hard to say goodbye and that hole never quite fills.

    Gorgeous York and love the bound buttonholes they do take it up a notch or two. It is the perfect length for leggings and your booties, enjoy wearing it.

    • Reply Sue January 29, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      It’s so true…they always do take a little bit of our hearts with them when they go.

      I will indeed enjoy wearing my York. I’m happy to report it’s one of those garments that just feels right the moment I put it on!

  • Reply Sherry Dryja January 30, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Count me in the group of fans you have here for your denim York pinafore! It is such a fun piece and seems so comfy. I had seen buttonholes like yours before but did not know what they were called. 2020 is all about learning to install and make zippers and buttonholes, so I will add this to my little list of things to try this year!

    Creativity is my lifeblood. I feel lost when I can’t create or when my mojo becomes nojo. It is often difficult to weigh out and face how I am impacting the planet and all its beings when I run willy-nilly to the next project and the next. I have a pile of patterns I’d like to try this year and another pile of fabric that continues to grow. But I like the idea of mindfully working on what I have before going crazy in a fabric store and buying whatever catches my eye in that one moment. Thank you for starting this conversation!

    Sending you loads of hugs, especially as you mourn the loss of Mr. Sammie.

    – Sherry

    • Reply Sue January 31, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      I don’t remember what sewing machine you have…whether it does automatic buttonholes or not. My machine has a dial that sets the stitch but you have to control how long to make the buttonhole and keep it straight as you sew. It works well for many fabrics.

      Bound buttonholes are more ‘couture’. They require more work and you need to have a facing. For example, they wouldn’t work well on a shirt placket. Once you get a method for making them that works well for you, they become easier to do. I think they are so cool to have in your ‘wheelhouse’.

      Sometimes when I play my harp, I think making music must have the smallest environmental footprint. And even more so….singing. But then I think of all the joy I get when I see visual art…textile art especially makes my heart sing! So you keep making my friend….seeing what you do makes my heart sing!

      One thing that has become apparent to me that I didn’t address in my blog post is when I buy fabric online, most businesses sell by the .5 yd/m. I was always in the habit of being very stingy with how much fabric I would purchase. I would actually mock layout my pattern before buying fabric and if I needed 1.2m, that’s what I would buy. I’m pretty good about doing tight layouts and have minimal true fabric scraps; however, from time to time I end up with .3m or so. It feels like too much to put in my scrap bin, but honestly, I lack the enthusiasm for ‘scrap busting’ projects usually.

      Thanks from Sammie and I for the love.

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