Classic Vintage May Dress

My collection of vintage children’s patterns is constantly growing.  I am always on the hunt at flea markets, antique stores and thrift stores for new patterns to add to my collection.  I don’t think you can ever have too many!  I just love holding and touching the patterns imagining the women of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s sewing these sweet garments for their little ones. I often wonder if I was born during the right era.  I feel like I would have fit in just right during the 1940’s.  But I digress…..

One of the things that really attracts me to vintage children’s fashions is the fact that during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s women really dressed their little girls like little girls.  I kind of feel the same way with my little ladies, there is plenty of time for them to dress like adults, but I want to preserve their girlhood for as long as I possibly can.  And vintage inspired children’s fashion is a great place to start!

Today I’m sharing a little dress I created that I like to call ‘Classic Vintage May’.  When I think of a classic vintage girls dress, this is what comes to mind………

My interpretation of a classic vintage-inspired girls dress is an a-line dress with puff sleeves, a peter pan collar, an inverted front pleat with fabric covered buttons up the back.

For a little vintage detail I used a fabric yo-yo that was reclaimed from an old vintage yo-yo quilt and placed a vintage button in the center.  I always think it’s really fun to mix a little new with the old, so this was my little piece of ‘old’ that I paired with this more bold fabric choice.

To me, one of the special things about vintage fashion is the attention to details.  Women in generations past took lots of time and care in the details of their children’s clothing.  One of my favorite vintage details is piping and I truly believe it can take an ordinary garment to extraordinary.

I added a classic puff sleeve to the a-line style dress, but inserted some deep plum piping into the seam between the sleeve and the binding.

I echoed the same plum colored piping from the sleeves and inserted into the peter pan collar.  Is there anything sweeter on a little girl than a peter pan collar?  I don’t think so and adding piping is an easy detail that can add a lot of wow factor to your vintage inspired children’s fashion.

And finally, let’s talk a little bit about fabric.  A great way to update a vintage look is to use more modern patterned fabric.  I’ve certainly see some absolutely adorable reproduction vintage fabrics on the market, but my style is a little more bold.  I chose this larger print for the main dress and a slightly smaller scale accent fabric for the sleeve binding and collar.  The only real vintage fabric I included was the fabric yo-yo in the center of dress.

Some people shy away from using large prints in children’s garments, but I think you can make it work if you use these fabrics strategically.  Also the modern fabric that I chose had vintage influences in its design as well, so I think it pairs well with this style dress.  Using modern fabrics helps bring the classic silhouette into modern day.  Fabric is from Tula Pink’s ‘Parisville’ line.

So I leave you with some pictures of this sweet ‘Classic Vintage May’ dress that were taken out by the well in front of our house.  The well no longer works, but back when our cottage home was built in 1934 it was visited and used daily. I can just see a little girl wearing this style dress running around our front yard playing while her mommy and daddy gathered water from the well.  Those were simpler times, but it sure is fun to bring a little of that vintage back!

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  1. Don’t know how I missed this over at CINO, such a lovely dress. That flower is superb! And your sleeves with the piping and trim? Just WOW.

  2. Lovely dress! I love the use of piping – I haven’t incorporated piping for awhile – must think about doing that!

  3. Precious dress and your sewing is impeccable! Love that little flower and the piping is gorgeous!

  4. Is there a pattern for this dress?

  5. This dress is stunning! I love the fabric, style, and everything about it!
    One of my favorites!

  6. Julianna says

    Is there a pattern for this dress? I have been looking ll over the inter net for a little summer dress with sleeves and a collar and this is just what I want to make!