Hubby’s Holiday Ration

Every year when December comes around is the time for me to figure out what I will make as a gift to give my husband for St. Nicholas Day/Christmas.  This has pretty much been our tradition for the last several years – he gets some article of clothing handmade by me for the holidays and then one other garment for his birthday/Father’s Day.  So, his “ration” of articles from my hands is about two a year.  I love to see his tickled and happy reaction every time I make something for him…it makes it so worth it!


Anyway, this year’s gift for him is more than just his ‘allowance’.  It really is a garment from a time of real, restrictive, and penny-pinching rationing due to then current world history – a “Manufactured in England” year 1945 McCall’s pattern for a men’s dress shirt.  This is his ration on the ration but you’d never guess, would you?!  This is the dressiest shirt I’ve made to date, the first English pattern I’ve used, as well as the first long sleeve nice shirt that I’ve made for my man.  Come to think of it, up until now I’ve always made him short sleeve and/or sports shirts.  To make it even easier for him to wear his new shirt immediately (which he wanted to anyway), this new shirt a Christmas appropriate color!  It turned out so well and he does look quite spiffy in it, if I must say so myself.

THE FACTS:                                                                                                                 

FABRIC:  100% linen mccall-5864-year-1945-cover-compw

PATTERN:  McCall #5864, Printed and manufactured in England, circa year 1944 or 1945.  I’ve seen colorized envelope American versions of this pattern dated 1944 and also 1945, so I’m guessing this design was printed throughout both years.  However, the way my pattern’s insert mentions McCall #6044, from 1945, (more about that below) my version of #5864 is probably also 1945.  By the way, is it just me or does the top left guy’s face look like the actor Robert Young?!

NOTIONS:  I used everything from on hand in true 40’s outlook, but I only needed thread and some interfacing.  The buttons are probably close to authentic 40’s vintage as well, as they are a set from hubby’s Grandmother’s stash with obvious cut marks on the back (meaning she saved them off of an existing worn garment).

TIME TO COMPLETE:  His shirt was finished on December 9, 2016, after just over 20 hours.

dsc_0875a-compwTHE INSIDES:  I feel like because the insides are so nice in French seams, with the shoulder panel lining covering the rest, Hubby thinks I played a trick on him (…not me).  He literally has a hard time telling right from wrong side with this shirt!  Score!

TOTAL COST:  This linen was bought on deep discount when the now defunct Hancock Fabrics was closing earlier this year.  I spent probably only $6 on this shirt for him.  When hubby reads this I’ll sound cheap for his gift, but it’s the thought, fit, and quality that counts!

The pattern sadly manifests the effects of WWII compared to all the other USA sourced McCall patterns I have used before.  First of all, the cover of the envelope drawing is in black and white, the same as Australian patterns of WWII times.  Secondly, the pattern is unprinted, reverting instead to the hole-punched code system on plain paper like other companies.  This is a major step in rationing because being the very first to offer printed patterns continuously was always (and still is) part of the bragging rights of McCall’s, and I have never read that they departed from that.

mccall-5864-year-1945-instructions-compwThere are a few small “reminder” sheets inside with a half size instruction sheet…seeing how to make the shirt was like reading ant-size print, no kidding!  The one other “reminder” sheet states (in all red letters) that now the 5/8 inch seam is the baseline for their patterns, and the other sheet gives a guide of how to read their non-printed hole-punch system.  At the top of the guide for reading the hole-punch method is an interesting apology for it, “As a result of the present conditions…”  Everyone knew what those were, I guess not clearly saying “W-A-R” helped make those circumstances slightly better.  Below the apology is the confusing “notice” that their patterns have a ½ inch seam allowance up until number #6044.  What?  Didn’t McCall go out of their way to print a small added notice of 5/8 inch seam allowance, only to also say it’s ½ inch too?  I see all of this pointing to the company awkwardly, hurriedly adjusting and adapting to the (then) “present conditions”, trying to do their part in the ration effort the longer the war went on while still offering home sewers no less awesome designs.  One last thing – notice the envelope was stamped “TAX FREE”!

The quality of the pattern did not seem all that affected beyond the fact that it is an unprinted pattern.  As I every so often find with the punched hole patterns, there were some slight inconsistencies or mismatching with its making – something only I woulddsc_0832a-compw notice.  The front hem of one side to the front was about ½ longer than the other (which I trimmed), the left shoulder panel was a bit wider than the other (again trimmed), and the two collars were not shaped exactly equal.  Most of the times this doesn’t even happen because most patterns have pieces such as these cut on a fold, so both side are guaranteed equal.  However, this pattern is unusual in that it only had the back bodice of the shirt cut on the fold while all else was a full piece, with both right and left sides, and cut out on a single layer of fabric.  This together with the fact that most all the pieces were skinny and small, made for a very efficient pattern that left with plenty leftover to go for another project.  Yay for fabric thrifty 40’s patterns!

I really love all the finely classy and subtle vintage features.  All the 40’s shirts I see for men have gathers in some form or fashion, so the light, barely-there gathers at the cuffs and back panel are a nice departure from the norm.  Making/sewing the collar stand was quite challenging, small work, but compared to the turnover style (where the collar merely folds on itself) or the all-in-one style (where the stand is the same piece as the collar) this style is the best for dress shirts, in my opinion.  I already had practice with making button sleeve plackets when I did my own 1946 flannel shirt, so I really feel that I did the ones on hubby’s shirt very well this time.  The front left button overlap was fun and so easy to make as well as another classy touch.  Sewing something for my man has given me the opportunity to try new techniques I wouldn’t do otherwise.


Once again, because he is skinny I choose a pattern that has his collar size (14 ½ inch).  Unlike women, neck size is priority, too, together with the chest when making a pattern for a guy…not so much hips or waist! However, just like the last 40’s shirt pattern in this size the sleeves ran really short, as if for a teenager.  I’m not talking about adding a little – I had to add 1 ¾ to the sleeve length for my man!  Granted, in modern shirts he does look for the longer length sleeves.  I don’t know how many of my readers use vintage men’s patterns but if you do and you also notice super short long sleeves as a trend for the small sizes, let me know if you see what I see!

The linen for this shirt was an absolute dream to work with – so soft and easy to sew!  People who only work with polyester need to try this kind of fabric, and they should be amazed at what they’ve been missing. To keep the linen in the right shape, the interfacing weights were switched up with the mid weight stuff in the collar cuffs while the lightweight was in the collar stand and button overlap.  Hubby’s linen shirt is the same cross-dyed, semi-sheer linen used for my 1933 skirt, just a different color tone.  Cross-dyed colors do make for such a lovely option to plain solids.


Christmas is a time to sing, hope, and pray for “peace on earth” and “goodwill towards all”, so I find it rather funny in an ironic way how my shirt for hubby brings the Allies of World War II together.  I made this living in my country of America, the pattern I used is from the United Kingdom, the inside seaming to the shirt is French, and the material for it is similar to a fine Irish linen.  (Ireland was officially nonpartisan during WWII, but they had many contraventions helping the Allies and being aided by them in exchange.)  Perhaps a shirt for the peaceful time of Christmas can assuage the facts of the circumstances around this war time pattern, and provide a nice way to “wrap up” memories brought up by the recent celebration of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  Green is symbolic of many things, but also of balance…perhaps I should have called my post title “Holiday Harmony”.  We all need a taste of that!

I’m hoping everyone had a restfully happy and beautiful holiday season of Christmastide!  I also hope you were told compliments on all your handmade garments and received some lovely sewing related and creative-inspiring gifts!

“Winter Mint” Suede 1942 Shirt Dress

As refreshing as a soothing after dinner treat, this 1940’s outfit is a sweet thrill. Dating to the early 1940’s, my outfit is as much of a joy to wear as it was to sew and make. It is like a breath of an assurance for balmy weather, on account of the creamy pastel color of my dress, while still being prepared for the cold, because of my long sleeves, my hat, and fabric choices – all wrapped up in one plush, cozy, fashionable package.

100_4499a-compNot knowing how to pin down a descriptive title for the color of my dress, I coined it “winter mint” one night while talking about my project. I haven’t yet come up with a name for my hat, except for adjectives like “amazing”, “versatile”, “luxurious”, and “handy”. Even my dress’ belt was made to match the specific color and needs of my dress. This is the one outfit so far for which my own two hands have put together, from scratch, an entire outfit of clothes and accessories to wear with one another, contrast/compliment one another, and match in time and era.

badge.80This is part one of two blog posts. This post will focus on detail about my dress its pattern, and photo shoot location info. Part two will show info on my hat (how it was made and its practicality), how I came up with making a matching belt, and early 40’s hair fashion.  These two posts are part of my “Agent Carter” 1940’s Sew Along.


FABRIC:  The dress is made using a 100% polyester micro-suede. One side is a lighter, more pastel tone with the fuzzy nap of the suede, the other side is satin finished with a darker tone. McCall 5040 yr 1942

NOTIONS:  Some thread was on hand already, I needed no interfacing, and the button is vintage from hubby’s Grandmother’s stash. Nothing but a side zipper was needed to buy.

PATTERNS:  McCall #5040, year 1942

TIME TO COMPLETE:  On December 29, 2014, just before the new year and in the heart of winter, I finished my suede dress after about 15 to 20 hours.

THE INSIDES:  The dress’ insides are left raw as the fabric does not fray and is very soft.

TOTAL COST:  For the dress, I used a Hancock Fabrics gift card (yay for great birthday presents!) to pay for my fabric, but the total cost (which I didn’t pay) came to about $18 for 3 yards.

I really can’t peg down this outfit…is it dressy, casual, somewhere in between? Whatever it is, I’ve got nothing like it in my closet before now, and I like having this dress on hand for easy vintage dressing. It seems hard to get those amazing vintage outfits which are practical for cold weather climates at the same time, but I think I found it here. The micro suede is polyester, I know, but what creative person could possible resist playing with the two tones of the right and the wrong sides, as well as LOVE wearing a fabric which feels so good on the skin?!

100_4504-compIt was quite tricky to figure out the right/wrong side configuration during the pattern layout stage so as to make to dress sections contrast one another. My capability of thinking clearly was put to the test, like when I layout out a pattern on striped or plaid fabric – no half-asleep mindless cutting this time, as sometimes happens for some projects that are super easy. The sleeve cuffs, the skirt pockets, the side bodice sections, and the neck collar were all cut out in the deeper-colored satin side of the fabric, with the rest of theMcCal 4998, yr 1942 contrast yoke bodice dress dress (the skirt pieces, sleeves, middle front and back bodice sections) cut to show the fuzzy suede side. With my chosen pattern having such spectacular designing and seaming, I had to show those features off.  Here’s the cover of another year 1942 McCall pattern (#4998 which I do not own) which shows a dress with very similar design lines with contrasting “satin and matte” sections, too.

I did find sizing and fit of this pattern to be not as predictable as all the other 1940’s McCall patterns I have made already. The pattern I had was technically my correct size, with the bust being an inch or so big, but I thought it was close enough. I added a tad more in sizing (1/4 inch) to the side seams of the bottom skirt half of the dress, and the top half of the dress had a small measurement taken out (1/4 inch) to the sides, from the waist up. Even still, the skirt portion still came out snug when it was finished, and I had to take out the ½ inch seams down to 3/8 or ¼ inch instead. Seams that small are pushing the limit of safety, but it’s all I could do to be comfortable with the fit…unless I eat a large meal and fill in any extra space! In contrast, the top half, waist-up portion of the dress turned out roomy and blousy, which is authentic in fit and appearance for the 40’s. Shoulder pads were added into the shoulders to fill in the blousy shirt dress top half, thus keeping it from drooping and defining the silhouette.

100_4519a-compSuch a loose fit for the waist up of my “winter mint” dress would not be minded so much, if only the shoulders didn’t fit me just slightly wonky by drooping lower than normal. Hubby says the droopy shoulders are there, but barely noticeable to anyone else. Isn’t that how it goes? Crafting one’s own garments often makes you your own hardest critic – I know this is the case for me. Sometimes, I mentally build up small points which fall short of my own high standards into a giant discrepancy. Hopefully some of you, my readers who sew, are also perfectionists and can commiserate with me here. In other words, my dress is just fine and perfect in its own right, I just need to quit being hard on myself while wearing it to completely be happy of the fit and way it was made.

The pattern never mentioned anything about interfacing in the construction and layout instructions, so I didn’t add any into the suede dress. I know old patterns, especially 1940’s and earlier, take it for advantage that a seamstress will know precisely what to do without needing to be told. However, I thought better than to add it anyway, liking to keep up with the soft and easy feel of the suede fabric to lend my dress a similar air. I also made my brown collared 1949 dress the same way as my new suede dress, with no interfacing in the collar and such. It seems appropriate for both of those dresses to be made this way, but it is not my normal practice for most of the collars and cuffs I construct.

100_4503-compLike most of the printed 1940’s McCall patterns I have seen, this McCall shirt dress also has its own subtle special features. Bust fullness is provided by four rows of ruched gathers in the side bodice panel. The sleeves end in satin cuffs, made to be closed with cuff links. There are handy set in pockets that are a bit too small to be 100% utility, but still handy. The pockets follow through with the bust side panel section, finishing that front style lines. The skirt front has a center box pleat, while the back skirt has the classic three panel construction of 40’s McCall patterns for great shaping over the posterior. Some of the seams and features to my dress were lost in the plushness of the suede fabric, so I wanted to mention them just in case they couldn’t be seen very well in our pictures.

I really do not understand the button and loop up at the top of the neck opening.  100_4523a I followed the pattern, but as it turns out the button and loop closes at the very closely around my neck, which I’m not 100% comfortable with for long periods of time.  Oh well!  At least I finally had the opportunity to use a single amazing vintage button from my hubby’s Grandmother’s stash.  It is a close match with my dress…actually just dark enough to be noticeable.  The button sort of reminds me of a yin-yang, but each side has an opposite slant and tiny grooves on the surface.

100_4522-compIn order to honor warmer weather with my outfit, I wore a pendant of a hummingbird, made from abalone shell and sterling silver. The day of our photo shoot was one of those late winter days that are suddenly balmy, becoming a teaser. No, I have time to wait for the little nectar loving hummingbirds to come, but they’ll come soon enough.

Our photo shoot location was at the front promenade to the Municipal Opera Theatre building in our city’ downtown park. Looking up information about it shows that it was built and opened in 1917, but we saw some sort of dedication stone on the front that dated 1939. Either way, this time period book-ended in the main height of the Art deco era (my favorite), so we tried to include some of these details in the background. My favorite part about the Municipal Opera are those doors, with their beautiful clean lines. The doors remind me of my dress – straight lines and a few curved lines, and something that makes me smile!

100_4493Have you made a garment that reminds of the very opposite season, like my “Winter Mint” dress? Maybe a summer pattern made to work for winter wear, or a winter garment made into summer appropriate colors, for only two examples of dressing for a different season. It’s nice to know the weather outside does not have control over one who can make one’s own fashion!

Peggy at Griffith interviewThis is also my first total foray into wearing solid, one tone color. I admire how Peggy in Marvel’s “Agent Carter” knows how to wear primarily solid colors so well, a “talent” (if you call it that) I have a hard time achieving.  Look at her amazing brown and pink shirt dress at left.  Floral and patterned fabrics are very attractive and appealing, so hard to resist! Do you like patterns or solids, and how do you like to best pair or accessorize solids?

Stay tuned for part two!

Be Ever Green!

What is red without green for the Christmas holiday?  It sounds like a really good duo all broken up.  I made sure the two colors of the holidays were brought together by my current sewing.

My previous post, my 1946 dress, documented a red wool dress for wearing to my holiday functions, but actually I made a deep green knit dress a few weeks beforehand.  This green knit cowl neck dress became my actual Christmas day party dress.  I was the girl in green, with green legs, too, and gold sparkle shoes and necklace.  Making a little bit of a modern look to match my red vintage dress gave me one more good reason to anticipate getting snazzed up!

This dress pattern is a definite winner, with some interesting details and different shaping.  Just pick a solid color that you love and find a fabric that drapes nicely, and you can’t go wrong with Butterick #5523 for wintertime sewing.


FABRIC:  a 100% cotton double knit fabric in a deep ‘forest’ green jewel tone, having a cut of just over 2 yards (60 inch width);  my lining fabric was a polyester “active” jersey knit, in a deep navy blue, leftover from lining my burnout knit 4th of July dress (link here)

NOTIONS:  none needed; I had the buttons, elastic, and necessary thread

PATTERN:  Butterick 5523, year 2010

TIME TO COMPLETE:  somewhere between 10 to 12 hours is my estimate;  it was finished on December 6, 2013 

THE INSIDES:  as the ends don’t fray and were quite thick with the lining, I merely zig zagged the ends.  Not the best finish, I know, but o.k. enough to make me happy

TOTAL COST: around $12;  the green knit, the lining knit, and the buttons were bought about 3 years ago, with the knit being divided between 2 projects (so far).  It’s hard to estimate price at this point, so let’s consider it almost free.

As I just mentioned,  this dress project is a 3 year UFO that is finally finished, after languishing uncut and in the “idea” stage on my shelf.  Even two different cards of buttons, just to let me make up my mind as it was done, were kept with the pattern and fabrics. Another project off a long list of things I’ve been wanting to make is always very relieving!

This dress was relatively easy to put together, with the many pleats across the waist of the skirt and the pleats on the sleeve caps taking up a fair amount of time and skill.  The sizing was pretty much right on as well.  There is an elastic casing made from sewing down the seam allowance at the empire waist (something I haven’t done before).  As a winter dress, it has an interesting cowl-type neckline, which can be changed to twist up the look, but needs some hand stitching time to be finished.  I will explain more about these design elements later.  Firstly, however, I was on the lookout for B5523’s “personality flaws”, mentioned by many others who have also blogged about making their own version of this dress.  I wanted to make sure to fix several quirks while my dress was still at the pattern stage.

One big tricky feature of this pattern is the bracelet length sleeves (i.e. like a slightly high water long sleeve), which are cleverly hidden by the envelope cover model.  She has her sleeves pushed up, like they are long wrist length originally, and even the pattern envelope back sadly lies and mentions ‘long sleeves’.  If you are making this dress and that sleeve length is o.k. for you, then leave this pattern piece as is.  Otherwise, be forewarned you will have to do what I did – use the pattern piece from a sleeve that you like so you can cut B5523 according to a length that you want: long, short or 3/4th.  I opted for a long sleeve, and sewed it in tighter because I thought the appearance of a skinny sleeve matched well with the rest of the dress.

The combination of my personal taste and large upper arms dictates the fact that I like nicely fitting shoulder seams in garments I wear, whether made by me or not.  Sometimes I fail a bit in reaching this area of fitting perfection, but drooping shoulders are something I (and others as well, I’m sure) cannot stand.  This dress pattern has a very droopy shoulder seam, especially at the top where the shoulder seam joins the sleeve cap. The droopy shoulder can be seen looking very closely at the envelope picture and a few finished dresses seen on Google Images, as well as read about on a few bloggers’ reviews.

My easy fix to remedy such a problem, was to first put the bodice front pattern piece up against myself and estimate how much needs to be taken off (considering in seam allowances, of course) so the sleeve ends up fitting naturally around my arm/shoulder joint.  I folded in the top shoulder corner facing the sleeve on the bodice front pattern piece, smoothing it into a straight line down to the triangular tab (see my picture).  The shoulder area of the sleeve was left alone since several bloggers complained of too much poufiness around the sleeve top below the box pleat.  Sure enough, my configurations worked out great – the shoulder seam ends at the right spot around my arm.  The sleeve cap pleat also is looking great from being pulled in farther across the point of my shoulder so the fullness opens up right at my biceps’ width.  Knits make fitting so much easier, but I regard this dress as one of my project that reached a sleeve/shoulder fitting perfection.

Check out my picture above closely and you should be able to see how I raised the neckline at the center so it doesn’t dip quite so low to be revealing.  My neckline became more of a U, instead of a curved V, and just this new shape, raising the center up 1 1/2 inches, made a BIG (but good) difference.

I wished I had bought a bit more fabric than the pattern calls for to accommodate all my changes listed so far.  As I didn’t have this advantage, some changes I wanted to make had to get “cut short”, literally.  The overall length (neck down to hem) of this dress was a bit short for my preference and for many others, from what I have read by other bloggers.  My dress’ hem could only be extended 1 extra inch, on account of my fabric amount.  Other ladies lengthened their versions 3 or so inches, and I almost wish I could have done that, too.  I sewed on 1/2 inch bias tape, in a matching green, along the bottom raw edge, then turned this inside so I would not loose much length as compared to a regular 2 times sewn under hem.  Anyway, a shorter hem on this cowl neck dress seems to go well with the flare of all the darts in the skirt portion – I think this dress’ design can look a bit frumpy with the wrong fabric drape or length.

Speaking of length, the bodice portion of this B5523 doesn’t seem to give much room for women who are, let’s say, ‘well endowed’.  So, if that phrase includes you, or if you simply do not like empire waists, remember to add length to the bottom of the front bodice and extend the top half down lower.

I don’t know how much of a difference it makes, but some ladies recommended doing box pleats (link here) for all the pleats.  The pattern only calls for box pleats for the two center front and two center back pleats, along with the one at the top of the sleeve cap.  It seems this dress pattern has been used to make some very nice looking maternity wear, and I was afraid the pleats were indeed a possible root cause to this appearance.  However, I did follow the pattern’s instructions, and, apart from being a bit paranoid this dress makes me look fat, I really don’t think the pleats are all that bad.

Doing the cowl neck was fun and interesting.  Several others who also made this dress had some really good ideas of how to customize the cowl neck.  What I basically understood is that if one wants the large, oversized funnel-neck type of style that can be folded down, than hand sew the inside of the cowl neck evenly matched up with all neckline darts.  Otherwise, if you want your cowl neck to look more like a scarf, fashionably draped around the neckline of this dress, then slightly twist the inside seam so that the darts and center back seam do not match and are off in one direction or the other.  My finished dress is done in the first “oversized funnel-neck” method I mentioned, with all the seams matched up.  I always fuss with the neckline too much, and am not completely happy with how it lays, making me wish I had done the “twisted up” method instead.  However, I think the problem is really me…I don’t have and don’t wear cowl neck clothes and this design is just something new to me.  In the end, I really do like the neckline of my dress because it not only presents a nice frame for the face, but it also keeps my neck warm!

If you noticed a darker green color at the darts, back tab, and cowl neck, I can explain.  (If you didn’t notice before, I guess you do now.)  My dress had gone to a trip through the wash, and dryer as well, but the opportunity for a photo shoot arose before the fabric was completely dry.  So the dark spots are the damp parts, and with the several inches of snow that were on the ground outside, I was feeling the cold breeze, to be sure.  You’d never guess it, though, right? 

The part of this dress that really makes it all the more green is something other than the color.  My buttons chosen to be sewn down to the back tab are actually 100% recycled plastic.  Yes – great isn’t it!?!  Who knew!  The buttons look like a sort of stone or marble, and are a beautiful, creamy, off-white color.

By the way, is it just me or is the mention of cutting interfacing for the back tab completely missing until you get to the middle of the assembly instruction?  I think it is missing, at least early enough to help.  I didn’t bother with interfacing…I do all my cutting at one time and that’s that, except for special reasons.  The tab is fine without interfacing, and I very much like what it adds to the back of the dress as far as style and interest.  About half of other peoples’ finished versions of this dress were lacking the back tab, and also the waistband elastic.  “To each his own” as the phrase goes; they can make their clothes how they like.  For myself, I found the waistband elastic gathering complimentary, while the back tab gave me the opportunity to show of my love for buttons and all things green.

See – being green is not just for the holiday season.  It’s always in season!  Be ever green.

Polka dot challenge: the “3 for the price of 1” green dotted aprons


These three projects were made through the stretch of the end of last year (2011) and April of this year (2012).  None were really for myself either yet all three projects share the same fabric…a mere 1 1/2 yards from Wal-mart.  How is that for being economical!?  Two full size aprons, one made from scratch and one re-fashioned, together with a mini-sized apron, make up my trio of creations for this week’s “polka dot challenge” at Sew Weekly. There are polka dots in the print – just look hard in between the bugs and daises on the fabric.


FABRIC:   all cottons; the fabric was from Wal-mart’s fabric dept. except for a utility apron bought off the shelf


NOTIONS:  all I needed for finishing was bought on a 50% notions sales @ Hancock Fabric

PATTERNS:  Simplicity #2748, view E  for the mini apron, and Butterick #5474 view A for the full apron made from scratch

TIME TO COMPLETE:   ??? altogether a couple hours on each apron maybe

WORN:  Hopefully, the two moms will enjoy wear their gifts; as for the third apron…well, maybe Barbie will fit in it when it’s not hanging in our kitchen

picture of m-in-l in apron, cropped pic,w

APRON #1:  FOR CHRISTMAS GIFT TO MY MOTHER-IN-LAW:     This apron was made form scratch and followed most of Butterick #5474, view A, but I wanted something other than a tie pulling at the back of her neck.  So I used a 40’s/50’s true vintage apron I bought at the St. Mary’s, Mo. Antique Mall as the patterning idea base for the neck piece.  It’s just a simple ‘large-collar’ type that pops over the head and lays nicely on the shoulders.

I centered the border print (which says “All Things Grow With Love”) at the bottom of the apron and raised the pockets so as not to interfere with the border.  I am glad I remembered (almost didn’t) to sew on the pocket and crossed rick-rack in an X on the front BEFORE I sewed on the batiste backing, using bias tape to finish the raw edges.  The pockets and the ties were cut with a contrasting yellow checkered cotton (also from Wal-mart).  Making the ties was the most time consuming and bothersome part of the apron, as ties always are for me.

When it was done, the neck collar was a bit too big for me (hung too low) so my very accommodating husband put it on so I could pin it down where I wanted.  I just sewed the center in a few inches.  The hubby is always happy to help my sewing projects, but there are limits, too…


APRON #2:  MOM”S GIFT FOR HER B-DAY in JANUARY:   My mom’s apron was a UFO (unfinished object) floating around my sewing area.  It’s a refashioned green utility apron, also bought from Wal-mart.

First of all, the ugly, oversized, basic square shape got cut into something more form fitting, keeping the original ties (Yes!).  The bottom was cut into a wide cloverleaf type design and the top portion I made identical to the mother-in-law apron (apron #1 above).  I used the border design that was left over from the previous apron to hand-sew it onto this aprons existing rectangular pocket, with the same bias tape to finish all the edges.  I even used the same yellow rick-rack  for the decoration but varied it a little with some added brown lace, with a bow to boot!

APRON #3:  MINI APRON TO DECORATE OUR KITCHEN AND CHRISTMAS TREE:   This is basically a mini version of apron #1.  I used Simplicity # 2748 view E for the pattern, applied the yellow rick-rack (again) for the edging and finishing in one, and used a daisy from off of the print for the right pocket and a tiny dragonfly on the left pocket.

Guess what?  The waistband and ties were made from the leftover linen-look, cotton-rayon that I used on my brown vintage 1949 dress, made last year.  I finished this – my first of several mini aprons – in April of 2012.

What works great is a box of mini clothespins that I bought years ago at Target from the dollar-a-pop sale bins. It now seems I was supposed to find a use for them eventually!  Tiny aprons call for tiny clothes pins to display them properly!  This will look great in our kitchen.

Matching my mini apron is an antique hankie from collection of vintage handkerchiefs.

These mini aprons are very tedious and time consuming since they are such small scale work – there’s not much room for mistakes!  I wouldn’t recommend anyone sewing these at all unless you’re in the mood for needing some extra patience.  I would almost rather sew full size aprons but these are sooooo cute.

Believe it or not, I still have this fabric leftover.  After making all these projects using it, I don’t want to see it for quite awhile.