The low waste Smith Pinafore

As soon as Liz Haywood released the Smith Pinafore low waste pattern I knew I wanted to make it from recycled jeans. It took me a while to buy the pattern as I was busy with other things, and then I had to finish the Clair skirt, but I was impatient to get going. I bought some jeans in the Nannup op shop and took them apart whilst I was relaxing in the bush.

Unfortunately the jeans had belonged to a short, stout man and I did have to fiddle to fit the pattern (please note, the pattern is easily drafted according to your measurements) on to the jeans legs, but I got there in the end. Construction was pretty easy and I loved doing the front slot seam as I haven’t done one for a couple of years. My new Bernina decided that it would enjoy the topstitching for once so my Elna Stella was press-ganged into doing the regular sewing – a turnaround from the usual order.

I love it when I put on a new make and Mark immediately makes happy sounds of approbation! Here I am in front of our very new frog pond in my newly minted Smith Pinafore, and my ugly rubber Bogs (shoes)!

The back is very similar to the front, but without the slot seam.

The line drawing shows the similarities very clearly.

I noticed almost immediately that I was putting the pinafore on back to front, so I found a label from something I had unpicked and sewed it at the centre back.

I also sewed the jeans label on to the side of the pinafore.

I think I’m becoming worse at reading instructions as I completely missed the mark on the side pockets. I didn’t secure them with a press stud, but sewed them down instead. I’m not rectifying the situation though as I can happily get in and out of the pinafore and the pockets still work properly.

I did have a go at putting buckles on the straps, and even did a bit of seam spanking as I had to piece one of the straps, then reduce the width to fit my buckles, but it just got too hard to slide the buckles on.

So I decided to leave them off, and this worked a treat. I don’t think it looks as good as the pinafores with the buckles, but at some point common sense has to prevail I think. I did think about buttons, but in retrospect a couple of vintage buckles would have looked nice.

I wore my pinafore with my Pattern Union Lulu Tee, which seems to be the perfect thing to wear under it as the body is so nicely shaped.

This is the perfect outfit for frog hunting. I could hear them but couldn’t see them.

Alert readers will notice the pea gravel at the bottom of the pond, and if you follow me on Instagram you will know that I recently attempted stone washing denim in a cement mixer with pea gravel as the stones. it sort of worked!

One of my worries with this make is that the side pieces had a straight side and a slanted side. I’m not convinced I got my sides round the right way. Next time I shall mark them on the fabric!

Just in case you’re interested in frog ponds, here is some gratuitous information:

Mark has made these little frog habitats which he’s populated with plants and hidden with rocks and logs.

This one is sitting in a stainless steel tank my Dad had made to run his outboard engine in. He would be thrilled with this bit of recycling!

The tank now hidden. The little semi-circle in the photo above is the entrance to the frog cave. They should be safe from predators in there. There are several of these little houses dotted about the edge of the pond.

The pond is adjacent to the dam and was originally part of the overflow system. Mark has plundered rocks from elsewhere on the property and built up the bank.

A few last words on the pinafore. I really tried to get all those delicious marks that appear on unpicked jeans, but I wasn’t terribly successful. There are a few dotted around and I did think about adding some back pockets and belt loops, but I decided to keep them for another day. Here are just a couple of markings. I had to do a small amount of piecing on the side seams, which actually made me very happy.

I have plans for more of these pinafores. I really want a corduroy one for winter and I definitely want to make a tartan wool one like Liz, the designer’s version. And you never know, I might even follow the instructions properly next time!


18 thoughts on “The low waste Smith Pinafore

  1. I adore your interpretations of this design, which has elements from the Nelly Don apron pattern I was obsessed with this spring and summer. You’ve inspired me to try it one ;more time, now with a pair of jeans, well and then maybe corduroy. I hope mine turns out as well as your creations.

    I love the frog ponds too! Loads of inspiration here in one post.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m not familiar with the apron pattern so shall go and look it up. Having said that, I don’t think I can go past this pattern, and can’t wait to make more.

  2. Love that you’ve told of recycling such varied items in this post. Didn’t know Liz has released patterns. Just might stick my toe in her waters with a pdf, as this one looks grand. Jobs well done, including pea gravel!

    1. Thank you so much. Liz has released a few patterns and I love them all! This one is particularly useful as it’s ideal for recycling fabric, and can be worn most of the year here in Australia. Thanks for the pea gravel comment – I should have included photographs of my efforts with the cement mixer!

      1. Probably can be worn almost all year here in the South, as well, so that’s good to know! Will check out her other patterns as soon as I can get into etsy, which for some reason isn’t cooperating at the mo. Has Liz thought of offering her patterns at The Fold Line?

  3. Wonderful Sue! This pattern is next on my list as soon as I’m settled with my new sewing room later this month. It will be a perfect layering piece for our cold winter.

    Interestingly, this post highlights how you and Mark are sharing a similar commitment to sustainable practices. Excellent recycling jobs, both!

    1. I agree, I can’t wait to layer this one and make more! Thanks for the recycling comment – we are loving our little frog pond and I can’t wait to see if they spawn in it – the dam is usually covered.

  4. Hi Sue, once again you’ve inspired me to follow in your footsteps. I’ve bought the pattern and some old jeans but wanted some advice. You mentioned unpicking the jeans – did you unpick ALL the seams completely? Or?

    Thanks in advance – and let’s hope I don’t end up with 20 or more pinafores – the last time I was inspired by you I ended up with Bronte tee shirts for miles!

    1. Thank you Paula, I unpick the jeans to their component parts. This gives me the most fabric and also nice fade marks. You made me laugh about the Bronte t- shirts!

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