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Plum Bibi Pinafore

This is my favourite time of the year to sew my own clothes – I love layering dresses over shirts and tights and wearing deep jewel tones such as sapphire and ruby. For my first AW19 garment, I chose to make the Tilly and the Buttons Bibi pinafore from her book Stretch! with this beautiful plum Lady McElroy Ponte Roma Jersey.

Tilly’s book is full of tips for sewing knit fabrics and includes lots of patterns for sewing different types of knits such as stretch velvet, ponte and lightweight jersey.

Ponte is a thick and stable knit which makes it easy to sew so it’s perfect for beginners and ideal for Autumn/Winter outfits. If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some things you can sew with ponte fabric:

  • Blazers such as the Grainline Studio Morris or the Alina Design Co. Fulton
  • Trousers such as the Friday Pattern Co. Joan or the Style Arc Parker Ponte Pants
  • Dresses such as the Tilly and the Buttons Zadie or the Cashmerette Rivermont
  • Skirts such as the Deer and Doe Brume or the Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt (free pattern)

I chose to use all three add-ons that were available for this pattern – the button tabs, the bib and the front split (great for showing off my patterned tights). The basic skirt version has only two pattern pieces, uses barely any fabric and can be colour blocked so it’s a great option for using up fabric scraps.

I cut a size 4 based on the following measurements: 35" chest, 29" waist, 38" hips. It turned out to be very fitted, possibly a little too tight, but the pattern uses 5/8" seam allowances so I could have taken it out at the seams if I’d have noticed before I trimmed them. I made the skirt version last year with a different ponte and it came out less fitted than this one so the fabric must have been much thinner.

The skirt is high waisted and ends just below the knee on me (for reference, I’m just under 5'5"). I made no adjustments to the pattern other than cutting a couple of inches off the straps before attaching them to the skirt. I found it difficult to pin the back whilst wearing it so I asked someone else to do this for me. That way, I could stand in a relaxed position for a better fit.

I had trouble deciding which buttons to use for the tabs and straps. In the end I went with the 18mm black and gold hearts because they go well with my enamel cat pin which I often wear with my outfits.

The buttons are the perfect size for the button tabs but look a little too small on the back waistband so next time I’ll use larger ones (20-22mm) for the back.

This dress is so comfortable and quick to make, and I love how it looks with my black and white Libby shirt.

To see my other makes, you can follow me on Instagram @claireanthony or visit my blog at

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