Making a Tin(n)y, and how it backfired (Vintage May guest post)

Hi everone, and a special welcome to everyone who was sent here via Kristin or Jess, who are currently hosting an amazing series together. I was really excited about being asked to contribute to Vintage May, a series dedicated to vintage-inspired sewing. Make sure to check out some of the previous contributions here and here!

Kristin and Jess’s invitation for Vintage May really couldn’t come a at a better time. Those who follow my blog a bit know that I’ve been very inspired by vintage style kids’ clothes lately, and that I’ve been working on a vintage-inspired dress pattern (Edit June 1: the pattern is now available here).
In fact, all the work on this pattern kept me from sewing these last couple of weeks, so I was really happy that Vintage May gave me an excuse to spend some time behind my sewing machine instead of my computer/drawing table. I decided to give the new pattern, which I hope to release next week, a last test drive, and add some options which are not included in the pattern.

The pattern will be named Tinny, as it is inspired on a Belgian 1950s children’s book series called ‘Tiny’. Interestingly, I’m not the only one who has been taking inspiration from this book series lately; just a few days ago, my friend Suz from SewPony, who lives all the way at the other end of the world, used a book from the same series (translated to English as “Debbie”) as inspiration for an amazingly cute dress! The odds…

But that’s a different story, on which I will elaborate some time later. Back to my creation for Vintage May. I flipped through some Tiny books, and decided to take inspiration from a dress with tie Tiny was wearing in Tiny speelt moedertje (‘Martine Petite Maman’).


I had never made a tie before, and decided to keep it as simple as I could. I drew a supersimple tie-like shape, cut it out twice, ironed some interfacing on one of the pieces, stitched both together with the right sides together, and turned inside out. I stitched the tie in between the bodice and neck facing (together with the collar pieces) and then put a little ring over it to create a faux-knot, securing it with a blind stitch.

For the faux pockets, I used the same method: stitching two pieces with the right sides together, turning them inside out, and sewing them between the bodice and the skirt. I uploaded the pattern pieces for the tie and pocket flaps here. The sleeves were finished off with some bias – the tulip or notched cuffs which are included in the pattern would be a bit too much in combination with all the other details. Unfortunately, I forgot to take off the seam allowance, so the sleeves are now too long. In the final pattern, they are also less wide.

The Tinny pattern has a hidden zipper in the back, as I like to cater to all those seamstresses who are just as lazy as I am. But for this dress I wanted to make a little extra effort, and decided to use buttons for a true vintage style. I gave the self-cover buttons another try, this time with more success. Still, halfway making the first button hole I was already longing for my hidden zippers again. Installing a hidden zipper takes less time than simply deciding where I would place the buttons. Hurray for the hidden zipper – vintage schmintage!
Anyway, the dress eventually got finished, and the next morning it was time to motivate Norah for a photoshoot. That was a piece of cake; simply showing her the pic of Tiny with the tie, and saying that she could look just like Tiny with the dress, was enough. At that point, I had no idea how that simple sentence would backfire at me.

Norah loves role playing, and immediately slipped into her Tiny role. Unfortunately, yours truly also got a supporting role in her little play: that of Hansje, Tiny’s toddler brother. And as Norah insisted on being Tiny all day long, I got to be Hansje all day long. Meaning: talk with a toddler’s voice in ungrammatical sentences. All. Day. Long. At the end of the day, I was exhausted, and capable of little more than sitting in a corner, with my knees pulled up, rocking backward and forward while staring into an undefined point in space. Why couldn’t I just get the part of Tiny’s mom? Why?

31 thoughts on “Making a Tin(n)y, and how it backfired (Vintage May guest post)

  1. Very cute! Isabella loves role playing too and will pull me up if I slip back in to 'mum' role! Looking forward to your pattern. Thanks for linking to my blog:)

  2. What a cute dress! And the book brings back memories, I had the exact same when I was little. (In fact, I had practically the whole series.) I tried reading it to my girl a while ago, but found the language was so outdated there was no way she would be able to understand it. But seeing this makes me want to give it another try!

  3. Je hebt er toch maar weer een hele mooie 'post' van gemaakt! Goed gedaan. Die Tiny's zijn hier intussen ook de lievelingsboekjes geworden. De meisjes vinden die tekeningen heel fascinerend! Pure nostalgie!

  4. Reading this had me laughing out loud! I love the dress, the colors and the style but your pics with captions and your account of being Hansje all day was hilarious. Thanks for the inspiration and the laugh.

  5. So so cute! Martine was my favorite as a child and now they are becoming Miss E's favorite too. I always said I would do a full collection of Martine creations. I never realized how worldwide these books were. 🙂

  6. Ohhhhhh An!!!! Just the colors are stunning, then there is the dress itself, and the new details and let's not forget your daughter. Amazing!!! Cannot wait for Flip this pattern…. I totally know what to do…. I think 🙂

  7. Oh An, this is beautiful! Your color choices and details are spot on. Isn't designing patterns a pain-in-the-pa-tootie?! VERY time consuming, but it'll worth the wait. I agree… a well dressed kid makes a happy mom- oh, I mean kid! 😉

  8. What a cute dress! Good on you for playing along as the baby brother! haha… I can recall days spent like that with my now 12 yr old daughter!
    I love the pleats under the faux pockets.
    PS…. I'm still procrastinating about peter pan collars. lol. I have the interfacing and curved ruler now too so no excuses! I meant to start it all week… I really should do it today shouldn't I. :-/

  9. So adorable! I had to laugh about you getting the part of the little brother. That is so much worse than what I have to do all day lon: “talk like a queen, Mom.” “You need to talk like a queen!” “You're not talking like a queen!” At least I get to practice my proper British accent. Cute little gal you've got! -Caroline

  10. I'm so sorry I didn't comment on this earlier, An! It's really an adorable dress, I love the tie and the color palette of it! Thank you so much for your post! I've never heard of that book but I'd love to get my hands on it. 😀

  11. This dress is very cute – I love the retro styling. Your post and the one at Sew Pony made me check out some books from my childhood that I had placed in my daughter's bookcase but not yet read, since I thought this looked vaguely familiar. Sure enough, I had a copy of “Martine et les quatre saisons” (I'm in Canada so I had books in English and in French). I had no idea it was a series or a well-known one! I didn't remember the story, but I read it to my kids last night and it was cute. Plus, the kids clothes were really great – I kept thinking how nice they would be to make. I'm looking forward to purchasing your pattern when it comes out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s