Cracking the 1953 girl’s pattern

I love collecting vintage and antique children’s clothing patterns. I say collect, because thus far that is all I had done, but now I have made one. Rather, I should say, I have drastically altered one as it has been a bit confusing every step of the way. The pattern is for a toddler’s smocked coat and bonnet. I wanted to make a dress and I wasn’t going to do any smocking.

I will preface this blog entry by stating that the use of patterns is a rather new thing for me. Before last year I just made my own; which often times worked and sometimes not. As the sharp instinct of not wanting to be told what to do has become a little more blunt in me, I feel more willing to try things such as patterns and choirs and other such activities where I might need to conform or listen. Gasp.

This is why I was not too phased when a pattern for a 6 month old from McCall’s (2217, c1953) appeared to be more suited in size to a 3 year old; and a wide one at that.

I had an old, favourite, muslin dress and some Nani Iro fabric I wanted to use. I took the buttons and button holes straight from the dress to decrease workload and increase the quality of button holes, which I’m not that great at.

My worn-to-death summer dress

My worn-to-death summer dress

The pieces cut out looked like this:

Pieces cut out from 1953 vintage pattern

Pieces cut out from 1953 vintage pattern

I began sewing, made and sewed in my own piping (first time ever, go me), put in pleats instead of smocking, joined the back and front and then realised how huge this thing was going to be. That is when I stalled. I had to think on it a few days and nights.

I changed it in a few ways.

1953 girl's pattern with major alterations

1953 girl’s pattern with major alterations

1. I put the dress back to front. This means it is now buttoned down the back. I thought the buttons down the front were resembling a nightgown and that didn’t work for me. Also the collar was interfering with their aesthetic.

2. I made the front and back less wide. Sewed the button (green) colour-block piece shallower, reshaped the (now) front yoke and added a pleat to the front yoke skirt.

3. I shortened the sleeves and finished them off with contrasting piping.

Hacked 1953 girl's pattern side view

Hacked 1953 girl’s pattern side view

There was a lot of unpicking involved. Even with the alterations it is still too big for Miss K, but that isn’t too much of a problem as she will grow into this one in the foreseeable future. I am very happy with the end result, but I don’t think I will use this pattern again anytime soon.

Hacked 1953 girl's pattern by Mrs Winter Creates

Hacked 1953 girl’s pattern by Mrs Winter Creates

Any one else have sizing problems with vintage patterns? How did you deal with it?


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