Tuesday, 12 March 2019

HMS Pinafore

When I was 7, just before my brother was born, I was taken to see Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera, performed by the boys of Bishops' Stortford College. I have three memories [1] I enjoyed it enormously even if I didn't understand it all [2] I remember someone asking 'if your next child is a boy, will you be putting his name down for the College, Rev Hall?' and Dad replying that a year's fees were more than he earned in a year [the college is co-ed now, and boarders' fees are still more than a Baptist minister earns in a year!] and [3] nobody could explain to me why the ship was named after an apron.
Pinafore -  A woman's loose sleeveless garment, typically full length and worn over clothes to keep them clean. Origin late 18th century: from pin + afore (because the term originally denoted an apron with a bib pinned on the front of a dress). Today I present my own HMS Pinafore - that is, 'Her Marvellously Stitched Pinafore'
I've wanted one of these cross back aprons since I saw them on the Purl Soho website about 3 years ago. I saved the pictures and pattern on my Pinterest page. I kept looking at it, and wishing I had the fabric and time to make myself one.
Last week I was given a bag of haberdashery and fabric by a friend- which included a length of vintage linen. So I propped up my tablet on the dining table, got out the iron and the sewing machine, and made it. It took 3½ hours from start to finish. The instructions are beautifully clear and well illustrated.
Patrick on GBSB would probably say it includes quite a bit of engineering. Mathematics and geometry definitely. 11 pieces of fabric, 8 French seams, 4 regular seams, and 18 lots of top-stitching!
Note the lovely deep pockets on either side. 
It's a "Möbius" apron - in that technically it only has one hole and one edge like a Möbius Strip. It has no fastenings, you just slip it over your head [I seem unable to get it off elegantly - I let it slide down my shoulders and step out"!] Here's my apron...
I'm neither as tall, nor as slim as Mrs Purl Bee. Bob took the photos "But that looks like I have ridiculously short legs!" I protested. "Well, you do!" he replied, then he lay on the floor to task the final shot. It is very comfortable, and I know it won't come unfastened halfway through preparing Sunday lunch [or as I'm retrieving a cake from the oven] I haven't got close up shots of the pockets- but I think Patrick would be pleased with my remarkably even top-stitching!


  1. Nice apron! You did a great job! I know for a fact that it would have taken me twice as long to sew that!

  2. So much nicer than making it from an old tent!

  3. I loved playing for HMS Pinafore! It is lovely playing Flute 1 for G&S- so many lovely tunes!

  4. It is a lovely apron you can be proud of! It is realy a lot of pieces to put together and a lot of seams to sew, great work!


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