pattern review · sewing

Pattern Review: Vintage Simplicity 5052 (1972)

Overview

Children’s clothing needs to be durable, comfortable, and simple to sew. This pattern meets all three criteria. A lined, cross-back dress with button closures, it works up quickly. The matching bloomers, which use single-fold bias tape to create simple casings, are similarly quick and simple. I made three of these outfits for Button in a week, and may experiment with grading it up and making more in larger sizes as she grows.

Virtues

These vintage “Jiffy” patterns boast that they are “easy cut, easy sew,” and that claim is certainly true for this little dress. With only 1 pattern piece each for the dress and bloomers, it was quite easy to cut out the pieces. I traced the tissue pattern onto the back of a cereal box, which allowed me to cut out my fabric with a rotary cutter — making cutting even faster.

The lined dress means that all seams are neatly enclosed, and there’s no need to worry about fiddly facings, bindings, or hems. The dress closes with buttons at the shoulders (no zippers to install!), and because the cross-back style opens at the back, the fit is quite forgiving.

The bloomers are similarly simple. The patterns calls for single-fold bias tape to create the leg elastic casings, and although I had never used bias tape in this way, it proved to be a tidy, easy method.

Problems

I had no problems with the construction of the dress. By measurements, the dress should have been a little big for my 17-month old (the pattern is a straight size 2), but it fits perfectly – my guess is that as she gains another inch or two in her chest and becomes a real size 2, the dress will simply be more open in the back.

The bloomers call for a narrow hem, which can be tricky if you’re not used to making them. I used a narrow hemming foot and managed a reasonably tidy hem on all three sets of bloomers.

I also found the bloomers to be much longer than the photo suggested. This was partially because I made the elastic in the waist a bit too big, so they were drooping. Still, they came past my Button’s knees when we tried them on.

Modifications

No modifications, other than omitting the decorative trim. Since I intended these outfits as play clothes, I didn’t want to add lace that could be soiled easily, and I didn’t have any ric-rac on hand. However, if I wanted to make a summer party dress, I think the trim would be adorable and easy to include.

Conclusion

My mother warned me about sewing for babies. Fast-growing littles plus maternal exhaustion is a recipe for dashed hopes. I heeded her warning for most of my daughter’s first year of life, limiting myself to a few knitted bonnets and one simple dress for Thanksgiving. This sweet vintage dress provided the perfect gateway into sewing as my little one grows from a baby into a toddler. This pattern was well worth the 50ยข I spent on it!

Simplicity doesn’t currently have this dress in their catalog, but they do offer a similar version in infant sizes. I haven’t used this version, so I can’t say whether the construction is similarly straightforward.

If you’re not in the mood for a dress, this pattern can become a comfy and playful tunic.

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