With an upcoming family wedding to prepare for and a true dislike for the mediocre children’s clothing in stores this season, I decided to experiment with some vintage patterns for my kids. I’m not new to sewing, in fact, just the opposite, I’ve been sewing for myself for years. I quickly found two patterns to work from, and used those as guidelines. The first, for my daughter was for a cute vintage 1950’s pattern by Simplicity. I chose a soft silver matte satin for the gown, a color which would work beautifully with my daughter’s coloring. I wanted to add an transparent over-layer of fabric on the skirt (although it looks like the pattern calls for one, it does not) and found a soft silver fabric woven through with roses and sparkles. It took me about 2 weeks to complete, but came out nicely. I did make a few changes: First, I added the overskirt with trim on the lower edge to match the bows on the front of the gown.
Secondly, I adjusted the length. The pattern called for 19″ from neckline, but that would have left the gown at mid-thigh, a little short for a black-tie wedding, even though that was the style in the 1950’s. I added about 3″ onto the overall length. Lastly, I added little bows on the shoulders, and then made a small matching one for her hair. Would I make this pattern again? Yes, most definitely.
As for the outfit for my infant son. He’s a big boy, 10 months old and 26 lbs, so I shot for something in a vintage 2T based on his measurements. I settled on an Advance pattern from the 40’s/50’s, and since I already had some nice coffee colored linen and a matching homespun plaid, I decided to work with those fabrics. Oddly enough, I realized halfway through cutting the fabric that it was an almost exact match to the illustrated version on the front of the pattern. It was a pretty complex patten, and there have been a lot of advances since this pattern was printed. For instance rather than self interfacing/muslin interfacing I could have used sew-in or fusible, but I wanted to make these patterns as true as possible, and in doing so, learned quite a few things about vintage construction. This pattern has side seam pockets (hidden, and though they will likely never be used by my toddler, I included them to stay true to time period).
It was my first experience sewing a child’s garment with a zipper fly. It took a little patience, some interpretation of the pattern and a little independent research, but in the end it came out really well. Luckily, I found a white button down shirt and a matching brown tie (with little bulldogs on it!) at my local consignment shop. Would I make this again? If I needed something authentic to the time period, yes, otherwise, no. I would make it without the pockets and with an elastic waistband (no fly). All in all, it was a good learning experience, and I am looking forward to playing with some more vintage patterns.