vintage may guest: elsie marley

my guest today is meg from elsie marley.  meg is one of the first sewing bloggers i ever followed, and she’s still one of my favorites.  she’s just a super creative person. i’ve recently noticed that i’ll be into something and then i’ll realize that meg did it quite awhile ago (dip dyed wiksten tank or gingham for instance).  her designs are clever and she has really great ideas.  her creations are never fussy, but are always cool.  meg is a former professional cook and chocolatier and her recipes make me drool.  she’s also great at creating a sense of community –  over 600 bloggers dropped everything and sewed along during her most recent kid’s clothes week challenge this spring, and it was awesome!  she was one of the first to feature something i made, which totally blew my mind (it’s the birthday party dress!).    

meg is a huge inspiration to me, and i’m damn excited to have her here today!  she’s my first guest to sew with a vintage sheet – yay!  


Hello skirt as top readers! I’ve been having so much fun following along with all vintage-y clothes making this month. So much fun actually, I almost forgot I was supposed to make something! I knew I wanted to make a button up shirt for one of my boys, and I knew I wanted to make it out of the perfect vintage floral sheet, but as soon as you start looking for something specific at a thrift store, it’s nowhere to be found.

button up shirt from a vintage sheet

I went all over town, but couldn’t find the kind of floral print I had in my head: not too boy-y, not too girly, not too mod. Time was running out, so I grabbed the three floral sheets I had in my fabric stash and enie, meenie, moe, picked this one.

sheet shirt

I love how it turned out and he does too! It will be the perfect shirt for summertime, I’m sure. He’s already dubbed it, “my soft shirt.” Vintage sheets vary greatly. Some are on the super polyester side of things, some have a more natural, cottony feel, some–like this one–have been washed to within an inch of their life.

back box pleat

This sheet was so thin, the needle that was in my machine was tearing it up and I had to switch to a needle for finer fabrics. I think they are called sharp needles, which is weird and totally confusing, because aren’t all needles sharp? Ridiculous name aside, if the vintage fabric you are using is delicate you might try switching to sharps.


This pattern (edit: Happy Homemade Vol. 2 pattern t) came together surprisingly well. Surprising because I’ve only ever made one collared shirt before and it didn’t end well. And surprising because the pattern was completely in Japanese. I’ve sewn many garments from Japanese patterns before, but they have all been simple pants and tops. A button up, collared shirt qualifies as an actual garment–one grown ups even wear–I really didn’t think a few drawings could help me make it.

vintage sheet shirt

But they did. Well, there are plenty of not so perfect parts. Then again, the print wasn’t perfect either. Perfect, shmerfect, I made a shirt and my son loves it so much he gave it a nickname. Nothing better than that.

collar detail

Happy Vintage May!


omigosh i just love that shot of him wearing his shirt laying on the sheet!  what a cute little guy and what a great shirt.  thanks so much, meg!

now head on over to CINO, where adrianna from crafterhours has a supercute baby in a supercute romper!

cino vintage

10 thoughts on “vintage may guest: elsie marley

  1. deadlycraft says:

    What a gorgeous shirt! I love florals on a boy and for him to call it the soft shirt is the ultimate complement from a small person :) No – not all needles are sharp(s)! Think ballpoint needles for sewing knits…great top and lovely recycling!

  2. nestedinstitches says:

    Funny story about your quest for the perfect vintage sheet… I think the one you chose was perfect! Japanese patterns are so much fun, I’ve actually started to prefer their simple diagrams to long instructions but not sure I would have braved the button-down! Love it.

  3. Tara says:

    so cute! I have been trying to come up with ways to use my vintage sheets for my daughter but this makes me want to do some boy sewing. Thanks!

  4. Jamsby says:

    Hmmm, this is pretty much what I want my husband to wear this summer, but I can’t imagine sewing it myself. I may have to take the plunge!

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