When it comes to making clothes for kids, I’ve realised I’m a nostalgic sewer. Without intending to, I often end up choosing children’s patterns, prints or shapes that remind me of my childhood in the glorious 70s and 80s. I may be reminiscing about the past with rose-coloured glasses, but I’m sure the clothes I wore as a kid were brighter, less gender-specific, cooler and more fun than a lot of junior fashion options around at the moment.
My six-year-old has been asking for a playsuit or jumpsuit (to play or jump in) for ages, and although there are hundreds of options in stores and a few good patterns around, I had my heart set on finding a pattern with an authentic 70s feel. I finally found this Simplicity 9422 in an op shop – only to discover after forking out my $1 that it’s actually top and bottom separates. Duh. Luckily the two pieces were so simple I realised they could easily be joined at the waist with a hidden elastic case.
For fabric only terry towelling would do. I spent most of my childhood summers in various primary-coloured terry towelling get-ups, and remember loving how soft and comfortable it was. What I didn’t realise was how difficult it is to find in these modern times. After scouring Spotlight and Lincraft and finding only ghastly synthetic pastel options, I finally stumbled on the same blue as the pattern in cotton terry towelling at Darn Cheap Fabrics. Meant to be.
The jumpsuit was really quick and easy to make, and the towelling was fun to work with. I used basic piping cord for the tie, it comes in many thicknesses and I chose one around the middle range. The cord works well for clothes as it’s easy to tie and holds well, but the knot is loose and can be undone by tiny hands. This is super important as jumpsuits are notoriously tricky to get on and off when you’re six and busting for the toilet (after all that jumping).
The problem with nostalgic sewing is you’re never sure if the end wearer is going to share the love for your painstakingly made vintage creation. I’m a bit scarred by experiences where my older kids have refused to wear things I’ve spent hours on – no one ever warned me that small people develop their own style so early….!?! Luckily this blue playsuit was an instant hit with my girl – she totally loves it. In fact, I had a hard time taking these photos before she got to wear it outside – her desperation can be seen in the photo below where she’s stroking the onesie as I took the picture. She just wanted to get jumping!