I made three, in sizes Medium and Large. They are a bit big, but in a nice way.
The pattern was very easy to follow and quick to finish.
The only thing I changed was to use iron-in interfacing, instead of sew-in. I used Pellon 950F Shir-Tailor, and I really like the results: crisp, but not too crunchy.
I chose fabrics with a lot of contrast, and if you to do the same, choose your top stitching thread early. I did all the top stitching. The instructions say it’s optional but I think you need it to give the hat structure.
If I were to make it again, the only thing I might change is the top stitching on the hat brim. It says to stitch concentric circles at 1/4″ intervals, but I think it might look nicer to sew in a continuous spiral.
The fabrics are all by Ann Kelle from her Urban Zoologie collection, and they match the lunch money cuffs I posted yesterday.
This was a great stash busting project. The yellow and whales were leftover from my Sunshine Bug Quilt and Whale Quilt. With this project and the Lunch Money Cuffs I posted yesterday, I was able to use up all my red and yellow solids, and almost all of the cute animal prints. There might be enough fabric left for a small zip bag for each kid. We’ll see. Me and Anne Kelle might need to take a little break now.
No one felt like cooperating for a photo session today, so you only get photos of hats. Maybe next time.
Bright Whales by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Kona Corn Yellow
Red Ladybugs by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Liquorice Cats by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Free Spirit Designer Solid in Pink
Sewing Level: Beginner.
Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and plan to make more.
Kid No 1 needed to bring money to school for a bake sale fundraiser. But she’s a bit young for a wallet or purse, and doesn’t always have pockets for change. What to do? This is the latest project I made for the kids.
These are the Lunch Money Cuff, which I made following Christie’s tutorial over on a Lemon Squeezy Home. It’s a nice easy tutorial and I whipped up three cuffs in an evening.
I’d love to call this stash busting, but it’s more like scrap busting. Each cuff only takes four 8.5” x 3” pieces of fabric. It’s a miracle I had even that much.
The fabrics are all by Anne Kelle and were leftovers from some other projects. The whales were from my Whale quilt. The yellow was from my Sunshine Bug quilt. The ladybugs and cats were from a couple of Oliver + S Ice Cream Dresses I made a while ago. The velcro is the heavy-duty variety and left over from Halloween costumes. All I had to buy were the zippers.
With this project and another that I have cut, but not assembled, I managed to use up all of my Kona Red and Corn Yellow, and most of the two red prints. I thought I had used up all the whales as well, but then I organized my quilting fabric and found a bit more. Oops!
I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern. The tutorial says the cuffs are the right size for kids aged five and seven. It’s a bit loose on my two-year-old, but then she also won’t have any money in hers. Still it’s fun to have the same thing the bigger kids have.
I have had about 5 meters of chocolate brown baby corduroy in my fabric stash just taunting me. A quick intervention was required.
Enter 4 pairs of the Oliver + S Sandbox Pants.
I know I said there were four pairs. Kid № 1 looked, touched, and immediately put them on. She then declared them officially comfortable and wore them to school. Success! (But no photos).
The fabric is a dark chocolate brown, and really quite soft. I picked it up on sale at one of the local chain stores. It’s not a very spring-like fabric, but here in Montreal spring is still a long way off. The pockets are lined with Kona quilting cotton in brown. Both fabrics were on sale.
The Sandbox Pants, like all the Oliver + S patterns I’ve tried, are a dream to make. The instructions are great. I bought the paper version of this pattern, in both size ranges (I need all the sizes), on Etsy from Plum Project Studio. I think I bought it right after the paper version was discontinued. You can still get the digital version online and print it out at home.
I made these in sizes 18m, 3T, 5 and 6. Making that many pairs in that many sizes requires a lot of tracing paper! On the other hand, you get pretty quick at them with that much practice. It’s like an intense pattern testing setup here.
I made a couple of small changes to the pattern. I left off the buttons on the back pockets. I also made the waistband out of corduroy (the pattern calls for coordinating quilting cotton). I had tried this pattern once before with a super heavy twill, and the cotton was just too flimsy for the pants fabric. Even though the baby corduroy is much lighter weight that the twill, I think the pants work better with a slightly heavier fabric in the waistband. I still used quilting cotton for the pocket linings though. I also switched the drawstring waist for a flat front pant with wider elastic in the back. I think it looks a bit nicer that way with the corduroy.
I plan to make this pattern again. I’ve already had a request for these as shorts in a brighter colour from Kid № 1. Again, success!
The other thing about making so many pairs of pants, is that you can really use the fabric very efficiently. I still had enough to make Colette Pattern‘s Ginger skirt. Hopefully I can get that hemmed and show you tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it. And there’s even enough fabric left to make a skirt for one lucky kid, as soon as I get to it.
Is this not the cutest hipster utility jacket for toddlers ever? It is a rhetorical question and the answer is “yes!”.
It’s part of the stash of vintage patterns that my mother gave me when she cleaned up her sewing things. But this was not one of her patterns. There’s a bit of writing on the envelope. It says “Effie’s pattern – 1958”. I would recognize my grandmother’s handwriting anywhere. And of course it isn’t her pattern either. Effie is my great-grandmother and this is her pattern.
The pattern is Butterick 6176 in size 2. From the envelope back: “Toddler’s Sunsuit or Overalls and Jacket. (A) This short button-front jacket has long, cuffed sleeves set in raglan style. Makes a suit with these side-buttoned overalls (B). (View C) Make this simple sunsuit: bib-top with button-on straps and briefest bottoms.” Indeed!
How old is this pattern?
If you look for this pattern on the Vintage Patterns Wiki, you’ll see it says it was a pattern from the 1950s. However, I think this pattern was probably released through the 1950s and 1960s.
It’s difficult to date vintage patterns, and I am certainly no expert. Butterick patterns, like this one, don’t always have a date printed on them. You have to make an educated guess. Sometimes you can use the pattern illustration, or certain design elements to date the pattern, but children’s patterns tend to be less fashion-forward than patterns for women’s clothing. Another way to date a pattern is by the pattern envelope style.
This pattern has the classic upper-left square around the Butterick logo that is typical of patterns from the 1950s. You can see the same style logo in this pattern dated 1956. Her copy was probably published in the 1950s. There were a few other patterns with this one, with dates printed on them, that were from the 1930s and 1940s.
However, even though the copy of this pattern that my grandmother had was from the 1950s, you can find this pattern with different envelope designs. This probably means that it was published over an extended period of time. It would have to be published in the late 1940s or after, since the pattern is printed and not perforated in all the versions I’ve seen. And it seems to have been published through the 1960’s judging by logo design alone. The price of the pattern varied between 35 and 48 cents, from what I can tell from a quick internet search.
How is it different from modern patterns?
The envelope from my grandmother’s pattern is barely holding together, but the pattern and instructions are in great shape. It looks like only the overalls or sunsuit were actually sewn up. The jacket was carefully cut out though. My great grandmother had eight grandchildren to sew for in the 1950s and 1960s, but I’m curious about who got the overalls.
The first thing I noticed were the cutting layouts. There are layouts for fabric with widths of 35″, 39″ and 54″. Fabric usually now comes in widths of 45″ or 60″.
I also think it’s cute that the pattern calls for the use of tailor’s tacks or a tracing wheel, a tool “much used by Professionals”. I like the gratuitous capitalization.
The pattern also tells you to make corded, blanket-stitched button holes by hand. Ooh la la! Keep in mind that this jacket is in size 2 and will last about a year before the lucky, but admittedly well-dressed recipient grows out of it. “Modern sewing is easy”, it says on the envelope. Un huh. I recently read a blog post that asked if patterns used to be more complicated. In this case, yes.
What else is different? If you look at the pattern illustration, you’ll see that this is a pattern for both boys and girls. If you look at Butterick’s current catalogue, you won’t find any patterns for boys at all, unless you count pyjamas or a layette. McCall’s has only a couple patterns for boys. And if you look at the girls’ patterns on either site, they are all super girly – ruffles, loads of pink, bows and ribbons. Ugghhh.
About the closest you would come to this pattern is McCall’s M6385 or Simplicity 2292. But look at the styling. It’s sort of like a big billboard ad “You Must Dress Your Girls in Pink.” And of course the boy outfits must be “boy-ed-up” with “boy”-themed appliqué work. Personally, I prefer the little red utility jacket.
I think it’s pretty fun to open up old patterns, but I’m geeky that way. What about you? Have you ever tried a vintage children’s sewing pattern?
Valentine’s day pyjamas! They were supposed to be Christmas pyjamas, but life intervened. Oh well. It’s probably better this way, since the pyjamas aren’t competing for attention with Christmas gifts.
These are the Oliver + S Bedtime Story Pajamas. I made them four times, once for each kid, hence the delay. I used a digital pattern (a PDF download) and it worked quite well. The pattern itself is great. The only thing that is unusual is that each pattern piece is separately taped together, instead of having them all in a giant sheet. I copied each pattern piece onto tracing paper, so I had quite a few pieces of paper to keep track of. On the other hand, it means you can print out just the pieces you want, which is handy if you just want pyjama pants. I’m not sure which way is better. As always with Oliver + S patterns, the directions are excellent. I don’t have a single complaint.
I sewed a different type of ribbon into the neck and pants of each pair so that the kids can tell them apart.
This is the second time I’ve made the pants, but the first time I’ve made the jackets. I made sizes 18 months, 3, 4 and 5. I made the larger sizes with ties, but put in snaps for the baby sized once – otherwise, kid No 4 will just chew the ties.
I also started with snaps for the older kids. I wanted them to be able to dress themselves. But small snaps are a bit of a small target, even for little hands. I tried larger coat snaps, but then the kids couldn’t get out of them at all because it took too much strength to open the snaps. In the end I took out the snaps and put in the ties. Everyone seems to like this better.
The first time I made this pattern, I made just the pants in sizes 12 months, 2, 4, and 5, also in flannel, in a monster print. I think I’ve tried most of the sizes now. The only one I had a problem with was the 12 month size (not shown), which fit a bit tight in the waist and hips.
When I made just the pants, instead of binding the hem, I just lengthened the pant legs and folded them over twice to hem. Then I appliquéd a big monster onto store-bought t-shirts. These were also a big hit with the kids.
I really wanted to participate, but the 1940s are difficult for me. I love the art deco styles from the 1920s and 1930s. I like the mod styles of the 1960s. I appreciate that the styles from the 1950s flatter my figure. But I’m much less familiar with the 1940s fashion-wise.
Then it occurred to me that I have a real piece of 1940s clothing in my possession – my grandmother’s wedding dress. A few years ago, when my grandmother died, the dress came to live at my house. I had put it away and I hadn’t taken a really good look at it since.
So for the sew along, my plan is to remake my grandmother’s wedding dress.
My Grandparents in the 1940s
In the late 1930s in Vancouver my grandmother finished nursing school and began work as a psychiatric nurse. She and her friend bought a car, and throughout the 1940’s went on a number of road trips. She often told me the story of how on a trip to the states, she and her sister had stocked up on silk stockings, luxuries that were not available in Canada during wartime. She had to hide the stockings in the sleeves of her clothing to get them across the border.
In 1941, the car needed repairs, and my grandfather was referred for the job. My grandfather was a truck mechanic. During the war, he worked for Shell Oil assembling tanker trucks. Since his job was considered essential to the war effort, he wasn’t drafted.
My grandparents started dating in 1942, and on July 14, 1945, my grandparents were married. My grandmother wore a green wedding dress. When asked why she chose the colour green she stated simply that there were shortages during the war.
Canada in the 1940s
Canada joined the war effort in 1939. Conscription was ordered in 1944. Even though the population of Canada was only 11,000,000 in 1938, over 1,000,000 Canadians served in the war. More than 40,000 did not come home.
At home, rationing began in 1942 and didn’t end until 1947, two years after the war ended. Clothing was rationed using a ticket system. Silk importation ended in 1941. Nylon was difficult to find as well.
My GrandMother’s Wedding Dress
My grandmother’s dress, is actually a suit. There is a 3-panel, A-line skirt that hits just below the knee. There is also a fitted jacket with 3/4 length sleeves, that buttons up the front.
The first thing you notice is the colour. It’s so green!
There have you gotten over the colour yet? No? Take another look.
Once you see past the colour, the dress design is pretty interesting.
The skirt is a simple three-panel A-line skirt. It looks like there are more panels in the back, but in fact, the dressmaker simply did inverted pin tucks to make it appear as if there were more pieces of fabric. The waistband is reinforced with grosgrain ribbon and there is a rather industrial-looking zipper and a hook and eye closure. The seams are not quite even and are just finished with pinking shears. The hem is hand-stitched and the hem has been repaired. Although the skirt is sheer, there is no lining.
The jacket has 3/4 length sleeves that are a little wider at the bottom. There are shoulder pads (factory-made) that fit into the caps of the sleeves. The back of the jacket uses princess seams. The front has a gathered, faux yoke at the top. At the waist there are triangular insets that allow for a second set of gathers. There is a row of clear plastic shank buttons that close with button loops up the front of the jacket. The jacket has a facing of synthetic fabric that is hand-stitched in place. It is also unlined. I think it’s about a 36 bust, so maybe, a size 18 in vintage sizes, and maybe a 10 today.
Who Made the Dress?
The dress is clearly hand-made. This isn’t a factory dress or a department store dress and there are no tags at all. At first I thought my grandmother made the dress. However, family lore says she bought it in Vancouver. It must have been from a local dress-maker. It’s made well with good techniques (ribbon in the waistband, etc.), but shortcuts have been taken. For example, the inner jacket facing is made of several pieces of fabric.
The fabric is really quite sheer and very musty. I was tempted to hand wash it, but I did a fibre burn test on a small piece of fabric from behind the zipper. The fabric disappeared into grey ash. And then I took another tiny piece from the seam and hand-washed it and it shrank like crazy. I’m pretty sure this is rayon crepe. So I can’t hand wash it. Good thing I checked! It irons quite well though.
The Sew-along Challenge
The more I looked at the dress, the more I thought the dress itself would have been nicer if it just weren’t so green. I figure, if I use a fabric without a floral pattern, and choose something a little prettier I might end up with clothing I would actually wear. Blue maybe? Black? In a sheer fabric? But lined, definitely lined. So yes, I’m going to try to remake the suit in a better colour.
What pattern to use?
This part is tricky, and I could use some help.
The skirt is almost exactly the same as Simplicity 3688. You can’t really tell from the photo, but the technical drawing does show a three-panel skirt. It’s such a simple design that I could probably just use any a-line skirt pattern. It wouldn’t even have to be a vintage pattern.
The jacket is another story. It’s is a little like the Vogue 8767 jacket. It’s even more similar to the blouse in Simplicity 3688. There is also the jacket in Vogue 1072. The part that is the most difficult to find, even in the vintage patterns I’ve seen, is the triangular insets at the jacket waist. If I can’t find anything else, I’ll probably use the Vogue 8767, but I’m hopeful that I can come up with something better.
Have you seen any patterns that more closely match the dress? Let me know in the comments.
Have you ever wanted to take a peak into someone else’s fabric stash? Well here are a few photos of what’s in mine.
Ever since my last baby was born I’ve been enviously reading about all of the exciting sew-alongs that people have been organizing. I’ve been dying to participate, but a new baby sure cuts down the time available for that sort of thing. Until now!
I only have a small stash, just one box, but I do want to use it up, so here’s my pledge:
“I, Shannon, commit to using 4 pieces of stash fabric in 2013.”
It’s not a lot, but I want to keep my sewing fun.
And what exactly is in my stash, you ask? I got everything out and measured it. It’s so much easier to deal with,now that it is organized. Some of my stash is going to be pretty easy to sew up. I have about 1.3m of denim, a bit of quilting cotton that will make a dress for one of the kids, some brown corduroy.
But some things are a bit trickier to use up: some super stretchy red cotton that was meant for maternity wear a couple of pregnancies ago, about 1.5m of navy stretch velour, 1.5m of super plush faux fur in a jaguar colour scheme. If you have any suggestions for that faux fur, leave them in the comments.
And the award for longest time spent in the stash goes to a 1.8m piece of 100 per cent pure silk. It’s a very pink shade of red and incredibly difficult to photograph. My late father brought it back for me on a trip to China in the 1980s. As you can see, it still has the price tag on it. He paid 160 Hong Kong dollars for this piece, which converts to about $20 CDN. In today’s prices, that would be about $40 CDN. It’s a great piece of fabric, but I’m more of a signal red fan. What do you think? Should it become a blouse? Or a super luxurious lining for a coat? Suggestions welcome.