Back to school pinafores

Home sewn school pinafore

H’s school has a pretty relaxed school uniform policy – as long as you’re wearing the school jumper or t-shirt you can pretty much team it with anything plain – jeans, blue, black or grey trousers, dresses or skirts. H has outgrown last year’s uniform staples and was adamant she wanted a grey pinafore dress. I had visions of cute vintage styles with buttons and crossover straps, but unfortunately for me, yet perfectly understandably, she was also pretty insistent that it should look exactly like everyone else’s. (It’s worth mentioning that I am well aware that M&S and all the big supermarket sell good ranges of reasonably priced pinafore dresses exactly like the ones she wanted but given her slight build it is impossible to find any that fit. They are either obscenely short or ridiculously wide.)

I found some £3 a metre brushed polyester drill in my local fabric shop, (I used just over a metre for 2 dresses) pushed my creative instincts aside and set about my slightly uninspiring task. I drafted a basic body block using H’s measurements and Winifred Aldrich’s instructions in ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Children’s Wear and Babywear’ and then redrew the neck and arm holes to create a pinafore shape. The skirts of the dresses were made with rectangles – one with two inverted pleats back and front and one with pleats all the way round – and because I rushed them they’re definitely not even. I used invisible zips on both styles and let H choose a lining of elephants for one and foxes (Poplin Foxes Grey from Plush Addict) for the other.


Home sewn school pinafore lined with elephant print cotton

Home sewn school pinafore

Dull mission accomplished and I’m really happy with the fit. I’m also forced to admit that H might be right about her style choice. Sometimes simple is best.



15 thoughts on “Back to school pinafores

  1. These are great! I bought my daughter a pinafore with a plain bodice and circle skirt for £6. You’ve just made me realise that I so could have made it! Yours must have been cheaper to make than buy RTW – that grey fabric was a great find! Your daughter is lucky to have handmade uniform – how special! 🙂

    1. It is pretty hard to compete with supermarket prices so I was pretty chuffed that the total materials cost for these two was about £6.50. By the way – I loved the rainbow dress.

  2. I had the same idea about making my daughter’s uniform but was swayed by Sainsburys 25% off sale and ended up buying 2 grey dresses for £7.50. The fabric is so thick and strong and I think will outlast anything I could have made. But yours look lovely and now I’m back to being tempted to make one. I really like the idea of a pretty lining. Do you think you will be a bit more fussy about how your daughter treats her uniform because you made it?

    1. Ha – I’ve always thought you should never dress your children in clothes that make you precious about what they do in them …but I have to admit, there are a couple of outfits now that make me wince when she picks up a paintbrush. I think I’ll be okay about the school dresses though – to be honest, school dinners wash off and if she came home with paint on them I’d be too delighted she actually got the chance to do something creative at school to care. The fabric is pretty thick so Im hoping it will be hardwearing, just slightly bothered that it might bobble with repeated washing. I had bought another flecked grey fabric but when I prewashed it I could tell by the smell that it must be a wool/silk mix and I couldn’t bring myself to send her to school in silk!

  3. I’ve searched high and low for a simple uniform pattern and cannot find anything! Making it will be a challenge for me so drafting a pattern is out of the question! Do you know where I can get a similar pattern or would be be prepared to share/sell yours? I don’t want to buy M&S ones for ethical reasons – I don’t trust that they’re ethically made by people being paid a fair price.

    1. Hi Lydia – sorry not to get back to you sooner – I have been away camping. I completely understand your qualms about high street uniforms. Unfortunately I didn’t keep a copy of the pattern I made and can’t think of any mainstream ones off the bat. I would probably adapt an ordinary pleated dress pattern by lowering the neckline and increasing the arm holes. If you’re looking for a ready made pattern it might be worth searching fro a vintage one on ebay or etsy. I find 50’s and 60’s patterns are often really good for this style –

  4. HI Toya, thanks for the help! I’ve drafted a pattern and it came out ‘OK’.. Plan to have another go this weekend. I’ll send a pic!

    1. Please do! – Well done for drafting your own – even if it’s not perfect this time (and nothing ever is!) you’ll have learnt so much for next time.

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