An Overall Success

I’ve just realised that this is my 100th post on Jane Makes.  A blogging century!

We have a brilliant charity shop in Chichester run by St Wilfrid’s Hospice called Retro & Vintage.  W and I usually make at least a weekly visit and rarely come out empty handed.  Amongst a treasure trove of china, clothes, vintage board games, jewellery, hats and more there’s usually a good pile of vintage dressmaking and knitting patterns as well as some fabrics and notions.  They also have an annual sale in the Assembly Rooms which is well worth a visit if you don’t mind a crush.  The next one is on Friday 26 August from 9.30 am – 3.30 pm.

I don’t have much experience of vintage patterns, although I do pick them up in charity shops when I particularly like the illustrations.  This one for example.  I’d love to make W one of these and perhaps when he’s completed his diet regime the medium size will be the perfect size.

Dressing Gown

The image for these little dungarees/overalls is just so adorable I couldn’t resist buying this one.  I’m guessing the pattern is from the early 50s but perhaps someone with more knowledge of such things can enlighten me.

Weldon’s Patterns were the creation of Walter Weldon, a journalist turned scientist who founded Weldon’s Fashion Journal in the late 1800s.  I believe the paper patterns came into being around 1879. He was also responsible for the Weldon process for recovering manganese dioxide for re-use in chlorine manufacture, which seems a world away from sewing patterns!

This one, which cost me £1, doesn’t have a separate envelope, it’s just a sheet of paper folded into three with the instructions printed on the back and the pattern pieces placed inside.

The pattern was complete and very neatly folded and to start with I thought it was unused.  However, when I looked more closely I could see evidence of tiny pin holes so I’m hoping that Mrs Parker, whose name is pencilled on the front, did actually make them up.  The pattern pieces have no printed markings on them, just a series of punched holes which indicate the pattern piece number, notches, grainline, pocket placement etc.  It’s a one size (age 4) pattern.

I decided to have a go at making up the dungarees as my introduction to sewing vintage patterns.  I used some floral fabric I’d picked up in the same charity shop and had already made a bag from (and have a skirt cut out waiting to be sewn).  The instructions were pretty straightforward and easy to follow.  There were no fit issue either as at that point the project was entirely experimental.

The pattern instructs you to face the front arm holes with binding and I decided to use some floral bias binding along the edge rather than as a facing so I could to add to the overall floweriness.  I continued the binding across the top of the bib as I didn’t like the way it looked when it was hemmed as per the pattern instructions.   I also bound the edge of the back facing and understitched it to give a better finish.  This fabric frays quite a lot as it’s a loose weave so I zig-zagged the seams and if I make this pattern up again I would probably follow the alternative suggestion to use French seams as this would give a neater finish inside.  This fabric is a bit bulky for French seams.

I started with pattern matching on the bib and the straps match each other where they button at the back but I gave up after that and the little pockets are so sweet I wanted them to show up (that’s my excuse).  The repeat on this pattern means that pattern matching requires far more fabric than I wanted to use.

I rarely do buttonholes but was pretty pleased with this one.  I never fully believe my machine will actually do this all by itself!


As the dungarees came together and I realised just how cute they were going to be I started to look around for a suitable four year old to try them.  Luckily one of my colleagues has a little girl who is almost four and when I showed him a picture of the dungarees in construction he said he was pretty sure she would love them.

I finished everything but the final attachment of the straps at the front and the hem.  I just tacked them so they could be adjusted if required.  Ruby was getting quite excited about her assignment so off they went for a fitting.  She loved them and apart from the length they were a great fit.

I’ve now finished them off and here they are in all their glory ready for their new owner.

I’m hoping to get some photos of Ruby modelling them – if I do, I’ll post them next time.


Latest statistics in Mr Jane Makes’ reduction programme :

  • Total inches lost (waist) : 3
  • Total weight lost : 9.6 kilos

He’s pretty pleased with himself!





15 thoughts on “An Overall Success

  1. Great patterns – that man relaxing in his dressing gown has so got the look! I also have an old pattern that is wrapped in a threefold piece of paper/instructions – it feels really special. Your buttonhole is exemplary!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those dungarees are adorable and the fabric is lovely. It’s quite a surprise when you open those pattern pieces and there are only holes and triangle notches and no writing. I find these patterns fit me better than the modern remakes, not of course if they’re age 4!
    Great news on the healthy diet, it’s quite incredible how much you can change eating and body shape habits so quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your centenary – quite an achievement! And many congrats to your husband: it’s never easy to lose weight and he’s doing brilliantly.
    Love the old patterns – the illustrations draw you in! Have never heard of Weldon’s before but I suppose these smaller companies come and go. Your dungarees are lovely – so nice to make clothes for little people sometimes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I’m 56 but even I wanted those dungarees when I saw them! No wonder Ruby loves them!
    Well done to your hubby, wish I could inspire mine to move away from the chocolate lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 100 post is quite an achievement Jane. Well done. And I love the pink dungarees – such pretty fabric and pattern use. You never see a man with a pipe these days, do you! And the weight loss is very impressive. Most people look better slimmer and find they get more energy (speaking from the experience of my husband who looks and feels younger since losing a stone or two).


    • My grandfather was never without his pipe and if I do ever walk past someone smoking one the smell of the tobacco brings back so many memories! I’m very proud of my beloved – he’s looking so much better and seems to be totally committed to his new lifestyle. It is not doing me any harm either – I’ve just had to take in a new dress before I’d even finished sewing it!


  6. Pingback: Desert Island Patterns #4 | Jane Makes

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