vintage may inspiration: strong boy

vintage may-2

i had decided that for my “inspiration leading up to vintage may” projects this week, i wanted to make something for my daughter and something for my son. but the idea that i had for him, which nestled itself in my brain and would not budge, was an old timey striped swimsuit/strongman type outfit (like this). it seemed so impractical, but was so funny to me that i just couldn’t shake the thought! so i made it.


originally i thought it should be one piece with sleeves, which is completely out of the box of what i’d have him wear, but after consulting various sewing blog confidants (especially this jess), i decided to make it a two-piecer, remixing rae’s flashback skinny tee into a tank top and making my own shorts pattern. the band at the bottom creates the illusion that it’s a one-piece romper, but it’s not!


the outfit is totally ridiculous, and it cracks me up with his little belly. i think he’ll get a lot of use out of the tank this summer, and i’m sure he can wear the shorts as pajamas at very least. and by the way – 17 month olds are terrible models! he wanted the “boos” off of the glitter wand i had taped them to and would do no “lift the barbell above the head” type poses under any circumstances. he started running off almost as soon as i could set him in place. it was one of those situations where i took a bunch of photos and prayed a few turned out. ha!


anyway, here’s a quickie tutorial.



to turn the flashback skinny tee into a tank, narrow the shoulder seams 3/4″ (on the 12-18 month size). if you’re adding a contrast band as a hem, shorten the length 1 1/2″. i should have scooped out the armhole a little more, it cuts into him a bit. next time.


sew the pattern per rae’s instructions, attaching the neck binding as directed (the fold-in-half-and-sew-to-the-right-side method). use that same method to attach a hem band (total width of your tee minus 1″, 4″ height, and then fold it in half to make a 2″ band), and arm hole bindings (cut 2″ wide, and about 1″ less than the armhole width).


i used a serger for the whole thing and it went super fast. done. i’ll probably tweak the armholes a bit and make more of these for summertime. oh and the binding is actually bright red, but i couldn’t help but do some vintage photo processing on these. when else but during vintage may, eh?




make a pattern using pajama or knit pants that fit your kid well. i wanted mine slim fitting but a little wider than the PJs he has. add plenty of room at the top waistband to cover the kid’s diaper if he/she wears one – the shorts look silly if you just hold them up, but it’s necessary.


create a front and a back. cut two of each.


sew the side seams of each leg, front to its corresponding back, right sides together. then sew the crotch seam. turn one leg right side out, place it inside the other leg, and sew around the inseam. serge the top, fold down to create your elastic casing, and sew (leaving an opening for the elastic). insert elastic to fit. hem the shorts (highly recommend using a walking foot and a stretch/zigzag stitch if you’re using jersey knit).


just a few more silly photos…




he read his book and now he’s tired.


if you make a strong boy (kid) outfit using this mini-tutorial, please add it to the vintage may flickr group! i’ve got a round up coming soon, so chop chop! 🙂

vintage may

today jess over at CINO is talking about vintage notions! check out her post here.


19 thoughts on “vintage may inspiration: strong boy

  1. gail says:

    yep, this is pretty darn cute! i think little O. is a great model!! and that skinny tee pattern is awfully versatile, i love all the different things you’ve done with it 🙂

  2. kim says:

    Some of the funnest (there, you’re not the only one who uses it!) photos I’ve seen in a while. Great outfit and great shoot! Miss you guys. 🙂

  3. Cherie says:

    Such a fun idea! I love how it came out and I’m sure you’ll be able to make use of both pieces. But I gotta ask, where is the handlebar mustache!?? 🙂

    • kristin says:

      i know, i know…there was no chance he’d leave a felt one on, and i figured he’d probably just smear a make-up one. real bummer, but a sacrifice i had to make to keep the little guy halfway content to model. 😉

  4. Courtney says:

    Those are fabulous! Hes soooo cute I kept laughing at his tummy too! I love it! Baby tummies are the BEST!

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