A full Friday of sewing and photographing and its come time to do my wrap up of my efforts for Kids Clothes Week.
Make waistcoats for my two boys for upcoming family weddings and keep the project on a ridiculously small budget.
A quick search on Etsy threw up a few pattern choices, one that caught my eye covered sizes for both my two year old and seven year old, plus it included a pattern for pants, so it was the stand out winner - the Little Gentleman's Pants and Vest pattern is available from the Peekaboo Pattern Shop for $8.50 (AUD). It's an instand download, print and stick job and it's beautifully easy to work from with detailed instructions. I used the 3T and 7 sizes.
This was the most time consuming part, a thorough search through my local fabric store saw me come away empty handed. They simply don't sell suiting type fabrics, there probably isn't that much demand for them. I wanted something (a) lightweight for wearing in the summer weather; (b) washable because it's kids wear after all; and (c) looked like a man's waistcoat. Brainwave - head to the biggest second hand shop I know and search through the men's suits section. I was initially going to buy a suit jacket until I realised that jackets have a lot of seams and tucks and pockets and linings so there isn't a whole lot of usable fabric in them. The suit pants were really the thing I need. I steered clear of anything that looked too worn out and anything that was dry clean only....and for the grand price of $4 I found myself a large pair of polyester/viscose men's trousers, black with a fine white pin stripe - perfect!. A quick wash and line dry and I was in business.
The choice of lining fabric also saw me spend about an hour in the fabric store. I could have gone the way of the novelty lining, and this idea had merit for the fun factor and the vests could have been used in the dress up box after their official duties were done with, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I also shied away from a silky lining, in my head silky fabrics are hard to sew and easy to wreck and I didn't need the hassle. In the end I chose a simple charcoal grey homespun cotton from the quilting section.
I laid out the pattern pieces on the trousers, I cut the smaller size 3T vest from the lower leg and the larger size 7 from the upper leg because naturally the trousers are wider at the top and the larger size pattern is also wider.
I cut both layers of the size 3T at once, carefully lining up the pattern with the pinstripes and making sure the reverse side was also a suitable fabric to pattern line up. The upper section of the trousers had a lining in them so here I cut the trousers at the outer and inner seams and removed the lining fabric. Then I cut the four pieces I needed individually. More time consuming but I really needed those pinstripes going straight up and down the waistcoat and that was the only I could guarantee a great result. (Note: the back pattern piece was supposed to be cut on the fold but as this wasn't possible I cut 1cm out from the pattern edge and sewed the two back pieces together with a 1cm seam allowance which gave me a perfect back piece, you can hardly tell!).
The pattern instructions are easy to follow and a chopstick to poke out those corners and an iron for pressing are definitely good helpers in getting a nice neat shape to the vest. I was floundering around for buttons...
...when I realised the pants had the perfect buttons already on them.
Two from the back pockets and one from the fly were enough for the 3T vest and I bought a card of four buttons for $2.50 at the store for the size 7.
Mission accomplished? ::
I costed up what a shirt and waistcoat would cost from the department store - $56 (not that I think it comes in a size small enough for my two year old). The average cost of my waistcoats (pattern and materials) was $11. Throw in a shirt from BigW for $15 and my ensemble is $26 for each of the boys.
But the best bit? They're super cute to boot!