Tutorial: Pinafore w/ adjustable straps


So I'm leaving for Australia in a couple of days and, just my luck, I woke up this morning with a cold. After some Googling I've found out that if I'm super congested, I might end up becoming partially deaf for a few days afterwards because of the air pressure during take off and landing. This is especially worrying because I'm travelling alone so I've stocked up with four different kinds of decongestants, have taken a Vitamin C pill and am hoping for the best. But oh dear. Dear oh dear. Dear oh dear oh dear. I will also probably be resented by the other passengers because I'll be infecting them all haha. Noooo.

But on a lighter note, I've finished another tutorial! I wanted to make SOMETHING out of this fabric before I left so while I wouldn't usually wear this (not because it's bad but because I don't feel like it's very me), it's something I can make in a day and I just felt like sewing something. I actually have a tonne of fabric left so might make another one with a pencil skirt tomorrow. We shall see.

I made it adjustable partly because it looks a little more 'real' that way, and partly because tighter/looser can be a slightly different look. Anyway, on we go!

What you need...

  • About 2m of fabric
  • 8" shiny metal zipper
  • Two sliders and square rings (idk what they are called exactly haha). The sewing stall in my local market didn't have any of these so I had to get some kids dungarees + a bag from a charity shop and cut the metal bits out, which is why they aren't the exact same size. You do what you can! 
  • Scissors, matching thread, sewing machine, etc
  • A big flat surface (for cutting out the skirt).
  • Ideally you will also have Wimbledon on in the background.

What you must do...

Fold your fabric in half lengthways. Using pencil or chalk, draw a semi circle (doesn't have to be 100% perfect) on the folded edge of the fabric. It should measure 1/2 your waist measurement + 1 inch around.
Figure out how long you want your skirt to be (could use a skirt you like as a reference) and mark another semi-circle exactly that measurement away from the edge of the first semi circle. Cut it all out and then cut divide it into two halves (this isn't actually necessary haha but it's what I did so it's part of the instructions to avoid confusion).

Cut two front pieces and one pocket. Make a hem on the top edge of the pocket and then simply stitch the side and bottom edges on to one of the front pieces. Hopefully yours will look a little less bunchy than mine hoho.
Right sides together, sew the two front pieces together at the sides. Leave the top and bottom open. Turn it inside out and top stitch the sides.
Place two of the waist pieces against the bottom edge of the front piece, one on either side. Sew through all the layers of fabric along that bottom edge. Fold the waist pieces over on either side and top stitch, again, through all the layers of fabric. Top stitch all the way along either side of the waist piece (top edge, not bottom edge), leaving 1cm or so at either end unstitched.

Right sides together, sew the bottom edge of one waist piece to the top edge of the skirt, making sure the side edge of the skirt meets the end of the waist.
Fold over the bottom edge of the other waist piece so that it meets the line of stitching on the other side, and top stitch through all layers of fabric so the edge of the skirt is enclosed. Leave 1cm or so unstitched on either side.

This time start with the bottom edge. Take the other two waist pieces and, sandwiching the waist edge of the other skirt piece between it, sew along the bottom edge of the waist piece/waist edge of the skirt. Flip the waist pieces over and topstitch, again leaving 1 or 2 cm on either end.
Take the unstitched ends of each waist piece and sew them together (place the edges right sides together, as usual, stitch together, turn the right way round and top stitch it all in place). Sew the skirt together as you do this, enclosing it all in the waist band. Leave one side edge open - this is where the zipper will go.
Also at this point you can fold in the top edges of the back waistband pieces (the only part which should be open) and top stitch along approx 4 inches towards the center on either side (see the markings on the waist diagram above)

Take the open edges of the skirt/waist and mark how far down the zipper will end. Sew the two edges of the skirt together from the bottom, up to that point (go over the last few stitches a couple of times to reinforce it). Then sew in the zipper by folding over the excess at the ends (does it have a special name? idk) and sewing it in to the waistband so it's all topstitched down. For the rest of the zip, just sew it right sides together against each skirt edge.

Cut our yer straps. I can't really tell you how long to make them because it depends on how tall you are, I guess.  Just make 'em pretty long and you can trim them later. Fold the long pieces in half lengthways and sew all along the length. Turn the whole thing inside out and stitch along either side of the length. Do the same with the smaller pieces.
Take the smaller pieces, put them through the metal loop, and sew the loop closed. Take one end of each long piece and fold it around the middle bar of the slider thingy at 1.5" from the edge. Fold the very edge over again and sew it down.
Put the other end of the long piece through the square hoop, pull it up to meet the slider and thread it through. Like this.

Sew the little strap bits into the back (about 4" in, where you left the back waistband open) and completely close up the waistband.

Put the pinafore on and pin how short you want your straps to be at their almost tightest. Enough that you can make it a bit tighter with the slider thing, or loosen them. Yeah, I couldn't find my pins haha. Make sure the straps cross over! Or not. I just personally prefer them that way. Just... sew 'em in!

And you're done! You have a new pinafore!

Wish I was wearing this in a nice outfit but... I'm ill and couldn't be arsed hoho. So yeah, just to show you what it looks like! Hope ya liked my tutorial.



  1. This tutorial is amazing! :)
    I will definitely be giving it a go!


  2. amazing tutorial! You are so creative *__*

    alice c'n'r

    1. Thankyou so much! (:

      Just wondering, but do you do custom orders for blog designs?


  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I love it! I can't wait to choose some fabric to try this!

    Kate from Clear the Way

    1. Ahh fabulous, so good to hear (: thanks! I'd love to see how it turns out

      I love your blog by the way!


  4. What a beautiful dress! I love how the top is made, it's so special!
    Let's see whether I'll ever be brave enough to tackle this project!


    1. Thanks so much! It's actually really easy to do, I'm possibly just not that good at explaining things clearly hoho. It took me Iike 5 hours to do altogether, at a very slow/relaxed pace. Thanks for reading (:

  5. Un tutorial muy bueno. Yo me hice uno parecido, pero yo lo acompaño de un cinturón muy finito. Queda genial!

  6. Amazing tutorial! You have such talent! I love the way it turned out! I hope you have a fantastic trip and your cold goes away!


    1. Thankyou so much! (: My cold is still hanging around but the plane trip was definitely not as bad as I feared haha!


  7. Dear Schwurlie, I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award!!


    1. Eee thanks so much lady! I'll link to your blog next time I make a post (:

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. so cool!

  10. Hi!
    I found your blog accidentaly, and I think is absolutely great!
    Would you like to follow each other? Let know, I follow back fo sure!

  11. I absolutely love what you've done here! The pocket is a sweet touch. It's amazing how easy they are to make, no?
    I also replied to your comment on my blog, but I'll repost it here anyway as I know checking back is a drag haha:
    Haha I get that too - at various points blogging was the only thing that made me feel vaguely productive! Do carry on blogging - you're one of the good ones (as I may have mentioned haha)! I miss the good old days of blogging - jeez, one of us should write a folk song about it's demise or something.
    I get that it's hard to resist dolla for a post - I almost did it a couple of times when I was ridiculously hard-up, but the boyfriend talked me out of it!I don't have instagram I'm afraid - I downgraded to a phone that wouldn't have looked out of place in the early 80's. It doesn't even have a camera! I do have twitter though - it's @betti_ttt. Do ye have an account? If so, I'll go hit yr follow button! xx

  12. Wow, thats awesome, you are genius))

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  14. this is so cute! i wish i was more patient/talented so i could make myself a tartan version! x


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