{Jennifer Lauren Handmade} Ivy Pinafore

Until I succumbed to the Cleo fever a few months ago, I never paid too much attention to pinafores and/or dungaree dresses. To me, they have been synonym with primary school uniforms and, consequently, not something I'd expect to find in the wardrobe of an almost 40-year old woman.
I am happy to announce that Cleo completely changed those views, however. I have two of them now (there's a denim version, too) and I wear them a lot. But I wanted to try something a little bit different. Maybe one that looked a little more dress than dungaree?

So when I found the Ivy Pinafore I couldn't stop thinking about making one for myself. As usual, this pattern had passed me by until I suddenly took notice of it. Why am I always doing this?
Anyway, it's such a cute little dress and I am over the moon with how it turned out.
The Ivy is a tent dress: more fitted around the bust and then it expands down in an A-line shape. There is a very swingy version and a more slimline one. I chose version 2, the slim one. Seeing as the dress is only fitted on the top of the body, the only measurement I took into account was bust size. I'm 34, which falls in between the 8 and 10 sizes. I went with the 10 so I can layer heavier jumpers underneath without compromising comfort.
Worn here with one of my Mandy boat tees
I knew from the off that I wanted to make it in a red fabric. I just needed to find the right one in the right shade of red. I spent weeks looking for it and finally found the perfect 16-wale corduroy at Empress Mills. Or I thought I had. However, what I received was a 21-wale babycord instead... 🤦‍♀️ To be honest, I wasn't really that fussed. It arrived at Christmas, we were going away straight after, then there's New Year's, blah, blah, blah... Could I be bothered with the hassle? Not really. So I went for it anyway and it worked out fine in the end.
I loved working with this fabric. I have a bit left and yesterday I decided I will make the skirt version of the new Camden pattern, which Nina Lee launched yesterday. It was so easy to work with: sewing and pressing beautifully. There is a little bit of stretch to it but it doesn't play a part in this particular design. The colour is a bit off on these photos. It's a lovely almost raspberry red but not quite as pink as it looks on some of these shots.
The pattern is designed as a lined garment but because my fabric was so lightweight I decided to forego that. I followed this Jennifer Lauren tutorial to finish the armscyes with bias binding instead. The finish on this dress is flawless. My first ever flat felled seams and I love them! 💕 The way Jen has you sewing the binding on and catching it underneath the facings is just glorious. The one thing I did extra was to stitch in the ditch on the yokes; in order to enclose the raw edge with the facings on the inside. Which will also help to keep the facings in place.
And it has pockets! GOOD SIZED POCKETS!!! Need I say more? No, I don't think I do. (But I'm going to because I'm not quite finished yet.)
I chose to have non-functioning buttons this time. I can easily slip the dress on and off and I didn't see the point of stressing myself out with buttonholes when I don't need to. When it came to choosing which buttons to sew on I was torn between 2. So I took it to Instagram to help me pick the best one: cupcakes or the big floral ones. The floral ones were the clear favourites and I think I agree.
The one thing I'm a little miffed about (but only very very slightly) is with the topstitching - the bane of my sewing existence! I mean, I don't want to toot my own horn here, but I do pride myself on my topstitching skills. I'm usually pretty good at it and I will unpick and redo if it looks shoddy. But no matter what I do, I cannot make it look good on corduroy. It always appears wobbly because of the wales on the fabric. Plus, it looks about 37 times worse in pictures. 😒 Maybe my takeaway from this project will be not to attempt it again on corduroy.
This is my first ever Jennifer Lauren pattern and I have to say I'm impressed. I bought the PDF and the instructions are very thorough: from putting the PDF together to the actual sewing. The Ivy is a gorgeous little pattern and I think I want to make a warmer weather version to wear as a dress, rather than a pinafore.

Things might go quiet for a week or two around here. we're having some work done in the house and I don't expect I'll be able to get a lot of sewing done... But I'll still be on Instagram if you want to say hello. 

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