Nina Lee Patterns Camden Pinafore: DIY Navy Corduroy Pinafore Dress with Exposed Zipper

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

Hey Everyone,

Back again with another new-to-me pattern company: Nina Lee patterns. When I saw this new release, the Camden pinafore, pop up on my social media feed I thought it looked worth a try. There are so many pinafore patterns around at the moment, but I liked the look of this one, with its princess seams, V-neck, waistband and A-line skirt.

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

On the whole I think this is a cute style, and a good match for my body shape. However, let’s address the one thing which I am disappointed in: the excess fabric in the high bust area. I think this could be due to the fullness being too high for my bust? i.e. the pattern being drafted for someone with a very high bust (sighing for my youth right now). Now, normally, on Big 4 patterns the bust apex would be marked on the pattern, and before doing a FBA I would move that apex point down to suit me (maybe an inch or so). In case there are some readers not familiar with the concept let me show you:

Example of a Butterick princess seam bodice pattern with bust apex marked

The cross inside the circle which I have marked with the red arrow corresponds to where the bust apex should lie. And, in case anyone doesn’t know, those crosses inside circles appear on Big 4 patterns (not always) to signify things like waist position, hip position and where the fullness of the bicep should be. Unfortunately on this pattern the bust apex was not marked and I went ahead and did a 1 inch FBA. If I was going to make this pattern again I would definitely want to address that excess fabric and I think the way to do that would be to move the fullness down? As this is a relatively new release I haven’t been able to see if anyone else has encountered the same issue or not, and if they have, how they have dealt with it.

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

I don’t think this issue will stop me from wearing this pinafore dress though. I think the fit every where else is good. Aside from fit alterations I did make some other changes to the construction of the dress.

I added an exposed zipper to the back of the dress (the instructions call for an invisible zipper). In my experience invisible zippers and bulky fabrics like denim and corduroy are not a great match.

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

The instructions have you fully line the dress. I decided to draft all in one facings to finish the neckline and arm hole, and I also used a facing to finish the lower hem and the inner waistband.

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy – all in one facing – front
Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy – all in one facing – back
Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy – all in one facing
Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Fun, versatile and fully-lined, Camden is a joy to sew and wear! Choose between the full pinafore or the skirt option (with two lengths); both are lined and feature stylish patch pockets! The pinafore has a deep V-neckline and princess seams that pleasingly flow into the lines of the skirt. The close-fitting bodice and waistband make the Camden pinafore perfect for layering over finer tops, or wearing on its own in the summer! The simple skirt on the other hand is there for you all year round, ready to be paired with chunky knits and woolly tights through to camis and espadrilles!

Pattern Sizing:

UK 6 – 20

I cut a size 18 in the upper body and graded out over the waist and hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes. Mine is knee length though.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

I didn’t really follow them. I did my own thing. I did notice that I think there may be a step missing in the pocket instructions?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I do like the overall shape and design. I think there are plenty of fit opportunities with the front and back princess seams. I like the waistband and the V-neck and also the A-line skirt. The shaped, angled pockets are edge and top stitched into place. On me at least, there seems to be excess fabric at the top of my bust. I think this is because I need to move the bust fullness down. I will still wear this pinafore but if I make this again it’s something I need to address. It’s a shame the bust apex was not marked on the pattern.

Plus points for being a layered pattern so you only need to print the size(s) you want and for providing finished measurements. Also, this is a relatively small PDF pattern so few pages if you printing at home.

Fabric Used:

Cotton corduroy.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I did a 1 inch FBA, and took the extra inch down through the waistband and the front of the skirt.
  • I also added 0.5 inch to the front and back side seams below the waistband.
  • 0.5 inch full tummy adjustment.
  • 0.5 inch full bum adjustment.
  • Drafted all in one facings to finish neckline and armholes inside of lining the pattern.
  • Added 1 inch to the length.
  • Finished the skirt hem with a facing (1 inch depth).
  • Interfaced the waistband and finished with a facing.
  • Changed from invisible zipper to exposed zipper (ended up only taking 3/8ths inch seam allowance for this due to the width of my zipper tape).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew again. I recommend. With any pattern it’s a starting point.


This is fun, feminine and on trend. It is a perfect layering piece and I can see me wearing it even into spring with bare legs and trainers. I do like the overall shape a lot.

See you all soon!

Nina Lee Patterns Camden pinafore in navy corduroy

Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

19 thoughts on “Nina Lee Patterns Camden Pinafore: DIY Navy Corduroy Pinafore Dress with Exposed Zipper

  1. Cute dress! The color of the corduroy is very nice too. I think you are basically right about the princess seam. It looks to me like there is too much curve drafted into the side section of the seam and that is causing the apex to be too high.

  2. Re: navy corduroy pinafore…this style is similar to dance wear from years ago. There was only one pattern, and everyone had to make adjustments. My mom made all my dance wear, all my clothes really, including bras. The first one she made fit similarly to this one on you, kinda bunchy in high bust. She added to the length at the shoulder seam, and the lining also, fully lined. The change was amazing in the fit through the bust. BTW, I’m with you, longing for my younger days with higher bust! ;>) LOL
    You might try it on a muslin of just the top to see if it works. Oh, yes, our costumes in this case were navy corduroy. Brings back memories!

  3. Nice job. Thank you for showing the inside of the dress and what you did. I think the dress is a keeper.

  4. Hi Manju, I love your choice of fabric and the exposed zip! I’m sorry about the bust apex and the excess fullness issues – I’m going to update the pattern to show the bust point. The bust is quite high on my patterns so I should be flagging this up. Also, you were right there was an issue in the instructions around the pocket which has since been corrected. Thank you for your honest review – I always enjoy reading your blog posts because of the detail in them! 🙂 Nina

  5. Wonder if you used something other than self fabric for the facing (on the bodice) it might lay a little better. Maybe two layers of the corduroy is too thick.

    1. Thanks Donna but in this case I think it is definitely to do with the curve of the side section and that fact that the apex needs to be moved down.

  6. Thank you so much for this review. You are a similar size to me and until now has not seen anyone similar to me wearing this pattern.
    I will make a muslin now to make sure I adjust the bust accordingly. I think this review is super useful and I love the fact you have drafted facings and taken photos of the inside.
    I am set to make a corduroy version in pretty much the same colour as yours!! And will now also consider a non-concealed zip too!!
    Thank you!

  7. Hi Manju – it’s a cute style and nice for winter but definitely some issues with the fit. This is why I rarely buy patterns from other than Burda or Vogue, as I find it easier just to make the similar item from a pattern company and know that the fit and adjustments will be consistent. I think it would be ideal for a refashion to remove the upper part and make a great skirt.

    1. Yes Beth, of course you are right. I too favour Vogue, McCalls, Butterick and Simplicity. I have pretty much stopped on Burda and New Look. That’s just personal preference. I know it was a gamble trying an indie company (they are all so varied!) and my mind has been going to “shall I remove the bodice”. But I think I need to wear it a couple of times before doing anything. The bust fit is disappointing but will it stop me wearing the garment altogether? We will find that out! Thanks for commenting.

  8. Wow, I love this so much! I have a RTW piny that is quite similar and I’ve thought about trying to make a pattern from it because I like how it fits so much, so I think you’ve just saved me a lot of drafting! I’ll have to check out this pattern. And find some decent corduroy.

  9. Hi. Thanks for your review. I’ve currently making several muslins of the Camden as I am having similar fit issues. Always need to do an FBA, But this time using my High bust measurement and doing an FBA didn’t work. I’ve had to add 2 cm to the shoulder to bust point and then move the bust point curve downwards. The ease is still very tight. But hoping to get a great looking garment like yours

  10. Looking at the pictures of the dress on the designer’s website, the bust apex is a little high for one of the model’s as well. I love your fabric choice and the beautiful interior!

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