Monday, 31 December 2012

Vintage Outfit for the New Year

Back so soon!  And I've actually done what I said I would (congratulates self on improving time management skills) and completed a little outfit for my daughter. It took longer than expected (nothing new there) but I think it's pretty cute!

It's a button back dress with matching reversible kimono sleeve box jacket.

The buttonholes on the dress back are horizontal at neck and waist but vertical in between, reflecting the different amounts of stress I expect at these places.  I've used pale pink vintage hemispherical buttons which proved hard to photograph...

The dress and one side of the bolero are made from a light cotton voile which I figured would work well in our hot summer weather, and the coordinating fabric for the jacket is a midweight linen.

I pretty much used the pattern (Simplicity 4968 from the late 50s or early 60s) as is, with only a couple of small changes. After sewing the bodice up I got Miss UpSewLate to try it on and she advised me that it was too short. In her view, her waistline is below her belly (let's hope she grows out of this opinion and never gets too keen on beers), and she gets annoyed with all the dresses that put a waistline at her ... uh... waist. It was a bit short but not as short as she thought so I added a waistband - just a band of double layer, interfaced fabric to extend the bodice. In the end this was acceptable. She also didn't want the cute patch pockets shown on the pattern picture and in fact wanted NO pockets, because pockets always seem to get sand in them. And this is of course true for all those who like playing in a sandpit...

I think the result is really nice. Not my style, but very sweet for a young girl and quite dressy with the little summery jacket. I prefer the jacket linen side out, but Miss UpSewLate's preference is flowers on the outside - more, more, and more flowers, mum!, as you can see from her photos with flowers. Perhaps the floristry trade is calling?

Now if you've been reading this blog a while you'll know I haven't sewn much since around late October last year, and I've hardly blogged since then. It felt like there were too many "fails" amongst my last few projects, so I was hoping this project would help me regain my sewing skills so I could take on another adult project with a bit of hope for a decent result. Although I'm sure this pattern could not be regarded as complex, it did let me practice a few sewing skills that I have definitely not yet mastered - namely using the serger (I need to work out the correct way to serge corners; maybe I need to watch the boring educational DVD!) and hand sewing (for some of the edges of the reversible bolero and for the inside facings at the shoulder seams). For these personal challenge areas I took it very slowly; the results are not perfect but are decent enough for me. For a Simplicity pattern, the instructions weren't as detailed as I would have expected (eg no mention of interfacing - surely it was used in the 50s / 60s?), but the illustrations in the instructions were very clear. And I do like pre-cut pattern piece patterns; I traced around them to cut the fabric on my new (Christmas!) cutting mat and the cutting activity was a pleasure :-).

So, what do you think?  Can I move on up to selfish sewing now?

PS Because I managed to make this within December and it's for a child, it's eligible for the current "Sewing for Children" competition on Pattern Review. So I'm entering :-). The entry gallery is here, and there are some fabulous entries but if you particularly liked my outfit I wouldn't mind at all if you voted for it. Really!

Sewing For Children


  1. That's a pretty little dress on an adorable little girl!

  2. What a pretty dress. I love the shades of pink and the floral print. Your daughter looks so adorable!

  3. No wonder your daughter likes it. The dress and fabric are very pretty.


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