When Kristin first announced Vintage May, my thoughts were ‘how has this not been done before? Genius!’ Needless to say I was a bird with a French fry at the thought of putting together an outfit celebrating hand-made, vintage kiddie style. Pretty much all my favorite sewing criteria in one. Here, I’ve taken two modern patterns you know and love, the Oliver and S Sailboat pants and Made By Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee and busted out a vintage remix and a how-to to go along with it!
~ Le Pants~
They’re charming, swanky and oh so yesteryear, yup, I’m talking boys in bloomers. Once a skeptic but now a convert, they add instant vintage style to any outfit. For this version, I started with everyone’s favorite, the Oliver and S Sailboat shorts. To add that ye olde touch, I found a rather vintage looking (but probably circa last year) thrifted fabric, piped the top edge and added bloomer cuffs to the legs.
~ Le Shirt~
I once had a particular fondness for poaching brand new men’s shirts for their vintage images to re-fashion into boy’s t-shirts, see here and here. I had it totally justified that I was supporting Etsy sellers but it soon dawned that hey, what if I could transfer my own images onto tees? And since then, I’ve been on an endless quest for an easy and washable transfer method that doesn’t involve a screen print, messy solvents or the plastic-y feel of iron-on transfer paper. Last week I discovered the Lesley Riley TAP Artist Transfer Paper. This stuff is worthy of an eternal happy dance. Think super high quality iron-on transfer paper, with a matte finish, washable (apparently not just the once) that works on knits! I bought the ‘gentleman with antlers’ as a digital image from here. If you’d like to find a million more impossibly vintage images search for ‘digital download’ on Etsy and let the fun begin. The t-shirt here is a short sleeved version of Rae’s ‘flashback skinny tee‘ and I decided to leave off the ribbing at the neck and cuffs for an edgy effect. We’re all about the edgy.
~ Le Fedora~
The best part of this challenge was being able to take ‘vintage children’s outfit’ and take it where you like. I set out to make an outfit that was both modern and comfortable, with a vintage flair. So it needed a fedora hat with this pattern, made from a candy striped vintage men’s shirt. I didn’t read the size guide before buying the pattern and it says the largest size will fit a three year old, not a four year old with a big head. Somehow it works!
You can use this tutorial to ‘bloomify’ any pants pattern or even ready made shorts. So before we begin, give a thought to where you’d like them to sit. Bloomers look good at many lengths and it is personal preference but for boys I’d go for on, below or just above the knee. I don’t know what it is but I don’t think I’ll send my four year old boy to Kindy in thigh high bloomers. But girls, yes, they can rock this length. Once you’ve decided, mark the new length on the pattern pieces but cut across 1/2″ high than this line (we’ll be adding a 1″ high cuff with a 1/2″ seam). Since often the front and back of pant pieces are different widths, it’s easier to get the dimensions for the ‘bloomer cuff’ once you’ve made the pants up as normal (leave the legs un-hemmed).
1. To find your cuff length, lay your pants flat with right side facing out on top of some paper. Probably the trickiest bit of the whole thing is choosing a length for your cuff. When I made the bloomer cuff for the Basic Pocket Pants from Sew Liberated, I made the length roughly 2″ less than the width of the pants. But for the Sailboat pants, I had to re-draw the cuff three times starting with it 2 ” then 1″ and finally 3/4″ less than the pant width. When I finally realized that this pattern has quite a narrow leg to start with and made the cuff length finish just 3/4″ less than pant width, the fit was good. Long story short, depending on your chosen pattern, your cuff length will probably measure anywhere from 1/2″ less than the pant width to 2″ less and this includes the 1/2 ” seam allowance. If it looks too narrow for your child’s leg, it probably is. Mark the edge of the pants and your cuff length (in the photo its 3/4 ” less than pant width).
2. Measure 3″ down from points you just marked at each end Mark another dot.
3. Join the dots and you get your cuff. Mark one end as a fold and cut out.
4. Cut your cuffs out on the fold. Opened out they will look like this.
5. Fold each cuff in half with right sides together with short ends are matching. Pin and sew a 1/2 ” seam.
6. Press seams open.
7. Sew two rows of gathering stitches along the bottom of each leg, 2/8″ and 3/8″ from the edge. No need to backstitch at the start and end; just leave the threads long.
8. Holding the thread ends, pull into gathers.
9. With wrong side of pants facing out, slip cuff (with right side facing in) over the end, lining up the raw edges. Match the cuff seam with the inner leg seam and pin in place.
10. Adjusting the gathers evenly as you go, pin cuff to pants and sew a 1/2 ” seam.
11. Still with pants turned inside out, press the cuff and seam away from the pants.
12. Trim seam allowance to 1/4 “.
13. Press opposite side of cuff down 1/2 ” as shown.
14. Fold cuff down and over outside of pants, covering up the stitching.
15. Pin in place.
16. Topstitch closed with a 1/8″ seam.
17. Press cuff flat. And it’s all over pavlova.
Eventually he realized there was a man with antlers on his shirt.