Sew Now pinafore and tops #sewthelove

Between teaching, freelancing and the school run I am often busy writing projects for one or two of the national sewing magazines, which I love doing. Sometimes I submit ideas if I think I have a project that would work for a particular magazine and sometimes I am set a brief.

At the end of last year, I wrote my first project for the fabulous new magazine Sew Now. A magazine that combines sewing projects with high street trends, a great idea I think!

My first project was a plush bomber zip through jacket followed swiftly by a brief for a pinafore dress. The brief was to create a pinafore with dungaree clips and a patch pocket. This was one of those great projects that I scribbled out in a couple of minutes followed by drawing out the pattern both of which worked first time!

When I design a project for a ladies item of clothing I am usually asked to submit a size 10 or 12 sample. I start with making a toile in my size because though I have a size 10 mannequin I prefer to see how the proportions look on a real person. I find it easier to visualize the final garment and how it might potentially be styled.

This, however, means I have a growing collection of magazine project patterns in my size! Some of them are not styles I would wear but this pinafore style is definitely one I would wear.

I decided to make one in classic indigo denim, maybe not the most original but I knew it would quickly become a wardrobe stable so I thought I would stay versatile as you can wear denim with pretty much any colour.

I added some extra detail by using pale blue top stitching thread to edge the straps, bodice, and pockets.

As it is a fairly good ‘blank canvas’, it seemed a good time to rustle up a couple of new t-shirts to wear with it. I sell lots of fun quirky printed jersey/knit fabrics that I know are used to make wonderful kids clothing but I don’t think they need to be restricted to certain age groups!

I have been fine tuning my basic t-shirt pattern for quite a while, I think I am happy with it now. I chose this fun Cloud 9 organic flamingo print cotton jersey for my first top. As the Cloud 9 range of knits is 100% cotton with no elastane they are not as stretchy as some of the rest of my collection. Because of this, I sized the t-shirt up one size as I had developed the t-shirt for fabrics that contain elastane. I am happy with the fit though it feels slightly more like a thin sweater than a t-shirt.

I also chose to make a pale blue cloud print cotton/elastane t-shirt from my original size t-shirt pattern. I sell a whole range of colours in this print which definitely make super cute kids and babies items but I think make fun mummy tops too!

The back of the pinafore is plain and simple with straps from mid back. I think it would look good to add some jean style pockets at the back. I’m sure there are going to be more version of this soon so I might try it!

The upper part of the dress is lined, I always think this is the simplest way to make a nice clean internal and external finish. I’m a stickler for neat garments inside as well as outside. Even though it can’t be seen I chose cotton lawn for the lining. It makes me happy while I make it and even though no one else sees it I know its there!

You can use the hashtag #sewthelove on social media if you want to share any of the projects you make from Sew Now magazine, you might even get featured in the magazine. Everyone gets inspired looking at the different versions of a project that people make! I also love to hear how you get on if you make any of my projects.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...


  1. Rosemary on April 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I do like this pattern. It really suits you and looks so comfy and practical worn with leggings

    • Julia Claridge on April 17, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Thank you, Rosemary, I have worn it a lot I definitely feel a few more coming on. I have some nice olive green denim in stock at the moment 🙂

  2. Maureen Daley on May 1, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Thanks Rosemary, You looking great with this tops.I absolutely love this! I am impressed with all the helpful tips,I particularly enjoyed learning about the pinafore and tops.

  3. Penelope on June 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    So like this. Which magazine and issue is it please? I’d like to give it a try.

    • Julia Claridge on June 4, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Hi Penelope the mag is called ‘Sew Now’ from practical publishing. You can definitely order back issues because I’ve checked before. I think it was issue 2 or 3, I’m sure they will be able to tell you if you drop them an email, sorry can’t seem to find my copy at the moment.

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