Lucy Hannah's Leopard print pinafore...
Anyone who knows me knows I’m *slightly* obsessed with leopard print. I wear something leopard print every day and have done for the best part of ten years. I have so many leopard print clothes and shoes that I’m often head to toe in the print, but I love it! So much so, that it creeps into my job – I’m a wedding photographer and even my website is covered in leopard print. So of course when I saw this leopard print needlecord on the Samantha Claridge Studio website I HAD TO HAVE IT!
Needlecord isn’t something I’d really worked with before, I think stuck in my head was that 70s heavy, chunky corduroy which I was never a fan of. But Needlecord is thankfully its lighter, more subtle relative. It’s one of those fabrics that has a lovely velvety texture and I could sit and stroke it all day. It’s got a nice weight to it, but it isn’t too heavy and I think it makes a great fabric for a more transitional wardrobe. I love to wear the majority of my clothes all year round so I prefer things that are lightweight so I can wear them by themselves in the sun, and layer them in the winter – this is definitely a great fabric for that.
The first pattern that sprung to mind when I saw the fabric was the Utu Pinafore by Named Clothing, and I didn’t even bother to think of alternatives because…leopard print and a pinafore – what more could you want?! The Utu pinafore is a pattern that I’ve made before, it was my first make out of the Breaking The Patten book, I made it using a lightweight denim and it gets so much wear in my wardrobe I knew I’d wear another one just as much. I’m not the biggest fan of skirts and dresses too high above my knee without tights, and as I wanted to be able to wear the dress all year round I lengthened it by a couple of inches. I also raised the neckline just a little bit so I could wear it by itself – I’m thinking its a great dress for date nights on cooler summer evenings.
The first time I made the Utu pinafore I skipped the buttons and opted for a zip down the front which gave a lovely asymmetric effect. This time I wanted to add buttons but still wanted to have an asymmetric feel so opted to only add the functional buttons. I wanted to make the most of the fabric so I decided to try the Hemline Self Cover Buttons. I went with the 22mm ones which come in a set of 5 so the perfect amount for one row of buttons. I’d never used self cover buttons before but I liked that these didn’t need a special tool or anything and they looked quite simple so I thought I’d give them a go. At the back of the packet is a template you can cut your fabric around so you’re using the perfect amount and you literally just have to clip the two sides together. I struggled a bit at first to clip the shank and the back button together but once I figured it out it was really simple and quick – by the time I covered my fifth button I was a pro! I love the matching buttons and how you get an almost invisible button effect.
I used 2 meters of the needlecord for the pinafore, so at £4.50 per 1/2 meter, it’s a really affordable project. The pattern does call for lining the pinafore but I didn’t line the first one I made, so I didn’t line this one either. I just added a facing to the front pieces so the button holes had a bit more stability. If you did want to line the pinafore the Sew Crafty shop has a great selection of lining fabrics.
The leopard print needlecord was a really nice fabric to work with. I love those projects where you know your sewing machine will breeze through it and you can just enjoy the make instead of it being bit of a stressful process. A bold print on a dress isn’t always for everyone, but you can grab some lovely plain needlecord in the Sew crafty shop too! I think this corn colour needlecord is my favourite of the plains, but theres about six lovely colours to choose from.
I’m so excited to wear this dress, and I’m kind of now really fancying the idea of leopard print needle cord jeans so I might have to get my hands on some more of it!