Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage for me, too?--part 2

One difference that I forgot to mention is that the majority of early kids' patterns aren't labeled for "toddler", "girl", or "child."  In fact, the pattern envelope illustration can make you think that it's universal across the board, because they often picture all three and there's no real way to tell before you buy the pattern.  In fact some patterns that are clearly for an older child look like they should be able to fit a toddler as well.  And the differences vary according to company. The "girl" sizes, though, tend to be the bigger ones.  "Girl" starts at about size 7 and up, and can overlap with the larger "child" sizes.  "Toddler" and "Child" also have an overlap, which can make it confusing when you're trying to determine if a pattern will fit your child.

The only way to tell if it will fit your vic-um-recipient is to measure the kid and then measure the pattern.  I have a long list of measurements that I redo every month for Bit, simply because they change so fast at this age.  I've made vintage 2s that must have been for a child, but since it wasn't labeled, I didn't notice until after it was together that the pattern was bigger than I thought it would be! On the other hand, I've made child 2s that fit perfectly after they were shortened.

Just because she's into pattern size 3s, doesn't mean that all of them will fit her without adjustment.  Modern Butterick, for example, well, the shirts tend to be short.  I emailed them complaining the first time I made Butterick 3477 the shirt was five inches too short when, being a child pattern, it should have been too long!  With Butterick patterns, the difference is really in the length.  I would assume that with McCalls and Vogue being the same company, it's the same for them, but I've never had cause to find out--with modern patterns, I tend to stick in the categories I know will more or less fit Bit.

According to Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book, (I recommend it for bare beginners.  It was a prize for winning third place in the costume contest two years back and actually the first sewing book I ever had... after sewing for 17 years), the difference between "child" and "toddler" is that the shoulders are wider--according to their charts, there's an extra 1/2 inch--and the back is wider by 1 1/4 inch.  The sleeves and the general length are longer as well.  These are modern measurements, but generally, it should hold true.  You'll need to measure the kid, and then measure the pattern itself.

Vintage patterns always have to be lengthened for kids.  Frankly, people are generally taller now than they were then, children included.  Not only that, but they wore dresses much shorter than we do on little girls!  But they're also not as clearly marked, so to ensure that it fits, you have to be more careful with vintage than you are with modern.  For the most part, if I check the finished length on modern patterns, and it's okay, I can go full steam ahead and whip out a new dress or outfit for Bit that will fit her.  But with vintage, well, unless I measure carefully, I can end up with a hot mess!

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