Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Long Story for a Little Jacket

One day earlier this summer I was sitting at my laptop in our family room, scrolling through the review gallery on PR. I came across this review of Vogue 1237. SewWil did a fabulous job and I sat and admired.

My husband came by so I turned to him and asked what he thought of the dress. He replied (in typical male fashion) that it was fine. Up walked one of our daughters. Husband picks her up to show her the screen and asks "Isn't this a pretty dress?". To which my daughter (the shorter one with the dark, wild hair) exclaimed "YES!!" with an unreasonable amount of glee in her voice. (You see, she LOVES fashion, so give her a chance to oogle over pretty clothes and she gets giddy). Husband next asks her "Should Mommy make that dress?" "YEAH!!" she screeches!

"For Mommy...?" he clarifies.

"NO!!! For ME! A little one!!" she pleads with her giant brown eyes.

Husband and I both laugh, then he turns to me and says, "Well, could you? You could make a little version of that, right? And the adult one for you - you could make matching dressing for all three of you!"


Seeing an opportunity here, my response was "I could, but.... I'd have to get a few things. I'll need to go to the fabric store" (hehehe...)

And that is promptly what I did. I picked up the pattern, seven yards of a beautiful, buttery yellow poly/rayon blend that had a linen look to it. Lining, zippers and matching thread. That was a fun day at the fabric store!!

Then I set out to create a mini version of V1237. At first I contemplated finding a toddler pattern for a woven bolero with a similar shape. However, most of the Big 4 offerings just didn't seem right to me. So after lots of though and analyzing the Vogue pattern pieces, I knew what I was going to do. Scale the original adult pattern down to a toddlers size 3!

To accomplish this, I traced of the size 10 pattern, the size I had determined for myself. I taped down all of the traced pieces onto letter sized paper and cut along the paper lines. I scanned them all into Photoshop and saved each sheet as a pdf.

Then I determined my scaling amount by comparing the bust for a size 10 to my daughters. Per the envelope back, the size 10 fit a 32.5" bust. My girls both measured at 21.5 around the chest. 21.5 divided by 32.5 equaled 66%. I set my printed to scale down to 66% and hit print. This is what I came out with after piecing everything back together:

(the difference is admittedly hard to tell in the photo, but the set on the right is tiny compared to the set on the left)

I really wasn't sure this was going to work for two reasons, 1) I've never scaled any pattern to any size at all, let alone full grown adult to toddler, and 2) simply reducing the whole thing by one strait percentage just seemed to good to be true.

But I really couldn't think of any other way, so I set out to make a muslin. Lo and behold, It worked!! It was a perfect fit. I was thrilled. With the 66% scaling, it worked out beautifully to make the regular 5/8" seam allowances only 3/8".

I got myself in assembly line gear and cut three jackets with their linings plus all three dresses and got to work. Normally I don't have any trouble with this type of sewing; it's just a given that I'll be sewing two of everything when it comes to my girls. But this was challenging to put it mildly. Not only did I sew three muslins (two times to check fit for the girls and once to check fit for myself) but I had three jackets of fashion fabric, with three sets of lining. All told, I constructed this jacket nine times. AH! I was happy to be finished with them.

I paired the girls jacket with view E of Simplicity 3859, a simple A-line dress that I had sewn up once (read: twice) previously with fit adjustments.

The only difference in construction between these and the adult version was my inability to understitch the lining. It was just too small to get in there, So I top stitched these to keep the lining inside and laying flat.

Headbands to match of course!

No more pictures, I'm done! - OK, ok.... I'll just take pictures of your sister with never-ending poses.

And yes, I did make the Vogue dress and jacket for myself too. This is the only shot I have of all three of us together, taken at a convention we attended earlier this month.

My dress took a lot of altering, I half debated after the first muslin to just scrap it and make a different slim fitting dress from another pattern. But I stuck it out and in the end, I felt as though the end resulting dress did not even compare to the original pattern pieces. But I was happy with the fit. More on my dress and jacket in a later post.

Never thought I'd be the mom with matching mother/daughter dresses. If it hadn't been for my husband, these outfits wouldn't be. But now I think I may have to make this a tradition.

Pattern review for the jacket here and the dress here.


  1. That's absolutely ingenious and the outfits (and girls) are lovely.

  2. Susij from patternreviewAugust 31, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    What a clever and talented Mom! Beautiful photos and lovely dresses! thanks for sharing and thanks for the inspiration!

  3. So cute! I'm amazed it worked to shrink the pattern like that.

  4. This is fantastic. I have a similar idea for a pattern that is to large for me. I am sew impressed with your skills. Great use of mathematics here! These look great on ALL three of you! Nice work! Your daughters are adoreable!

  5. So cute!! I love that you used your printer to do the scale down that is a smart Idea!! I always have to make the patterns smaller for my girls but just figure the math and then cut smaller with the bigger pattern, using the computer would probably do better and be more accurate!! thanks!!

  6. All three dresses turned out beautiful! Nicely done!


  7. These turned out so lovely and your girls are beautiful! What an excellent idea for scaling down the pattern!

  8. I just found your blog and am perusing your archives. Lovely dresses and what a beautiful family!

  9. thanks for posting this! You all look gorgeous in your dresses, and I'm so excited to hear your method for scaling down a pattern -- I have an 11 year old and pickings are slim for patterns for her age (that she will actually wear). I must try this. You're an inspiration!

  10. Adorable! What a beautiful family :) I love the colour and cut of the dresses. Absolutely gorgeous! You are so multi-talented!

  11. I'm so late on this. But this is so wonderful and clever I had to comment. Thanks for posting such an informative and well written post. You've brought that pattern to life better than the original pattern envelope.


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