Dinosaur Junior – boys shirt

Just as I was planning to make a shirt for my toddler I came across these instructions for drafting a shirt based entirely on the collar measurement which is 1 and 1/6th of the neck measurement. It’s blogged about here on the Offspring blog from a book dating back to 1910. I thought this was really interesting.

bench 1 (1246 x 1462)

The neck measurement I had was 24cm which gave me the collar measurement of 28cm. The body width is 1 1/2 times the collar length and and the body length is 3 3/4 the collar length which has the back and front cut all in one piece, so from the back hem over the shoulder to the front hem.

When I drafted this out it was turning out too wide and too long for what I wanted so I went back to the drawing board and took measurements from a current shirt but made slightly larger. I took the arm scythe measurement from the pattern and drafted the sleeve following the instructions in ‘Winifred Aldrich’ children’s wear book. I added a double layer back yoke which came slightly over the front shoulder. The front opening was to be a half-length placket with a stand collar.

original shirt

original shirt

After fitting the toile it was too long and too wide. I took 1cm out of the width on the half both front and back and shortened the length. There was too much length in the top edge of the collar, more so on the front than the back. So I cut up the collar in 3 places and overlapped each piece by 3mm to shorten.

collar on the toile with too much length to top edge

collar on the toile with too much length to top edge

pattern adjustment to the collar

pattern adjustment to the collar

The sleeve head had way too much ease, so I reduced the sleeve head height slightly which took out some of the ease.

The dinosaur printed lightweight cotton fabric is from Fabric Rehab. I love looking at all the prints and with this one being ‘lightweight’ rather than ‘quilting weight’ as usually described I knew it would be suitable.

shirt on bench full (1824 x 1368)

Despite being confident with the half placket after a successful trial (previous post here) I managed to stuff up the real thing. When I came to fold over the top placket it just wasn’t wide enough. I could have just removed the placket and cut a new piece wider but I had trimmed the seam allowances to just a few millimetres and this affected the front body piece. So I marked where the fold needed to be which would be the stitching line and added a wider strip and completed in the usual way. The problem happened because I stitched slightly more than 10mm either side of the centre line, so instead of a gap of 2cm it was more like 2.5cm.

I made the cuffs up as I went along. I added a strip to the bottom of the sleeve sewing right side of strip to wrong side of sleeve. Pressed and folded up and stitched the top edge of the strip to the sleeve taking a tiny fold under hem.

picture 1 (926 x 1290)

I then felled the underarm seams, sewing wrong sides together; trimming down one side of the seam allowance then pressing the top wider seam allowance over then taking a tiny turn under, stitched the seam and finished by stitching across the bottom edge. Here’s a link to instructions for a flat felled seam. I used this seam on the side seams as they give a stronger finish and are traditionally used on shirts. I chose to stitch wrong sides together so you’d see two rows of stitching on the outside.

flat felled side seam

flat felled side seam

The sleeves were set in and neatened with the overlocker then topstitched and I made a tiny double fold for the hem. Finally the button holes, which always seem to cause me a problem, the one step buttonhole stitch on my machine seems to stitch the first side with a bigger / wider zigzag than the second side. No amount of twiddling seems to fix it. The one on the collar took 3 goes to get right and despite nicking the fabric with the seam ripper it looked OK. I finished by sewing the buttons on in 3 different colours of thread matching the print on the fabric.

The finished article was greeted with enthusiasm and he was quite happy for a garden photo-shoot.
There is plenty of growing room in this pattern and I’m sure it will get made up again for next summer.

julian smile (1368 x 1824)


4 thoughts on “Dinosaur Junior – boys shirt

  1. So cute, and well finished. I love the detail of the coloured threads on the buttons! That’s the kind of detail I miss, or shy away from. It really does make so much difference!

    I’ve poured over Winifred Aldrich’s Women’s Wear book for hours, the diagrams make so much sense to me. To be fair, I pour over most things drafting related. I was wondering though, do you think the fitting problems from the 1910 instructions were a reflection of the fit of the time? Certainly cuts have changed a great deal in history – and amounts of ease. Perhaps the trouble required to make a child’s shirt meant it was important that they get as much time out of it as possible? I haven’t looked a great deal at changes in children’s clothing in history (rather selfishly focusing mostly on women’s wear) but I’m certainly aware that there were a range of strategies applied to children’s clothing for the purpose of letting it in and out – such as the tucks in skirts and bodices which allowed progressive releases as the child grew. I’ve had a look at the blog you’ve linked, and I love the concept of working from a ratio, but I guess a ratio would need to be worked out to reflect a contemporary fit. How interesting. 🙂

    In any case, what you’ve done here has clearly worked!

    • Thanks, I bought a job lot of threads on ebay and a wide range of colours and luckily in the pack I had the 3 I needed and the pale blue for the base!
      Yes, I agree with you. The fit would have much more looser / longer to allow for growth so the garment lasted a long time.

      WA is my go to pattern cutting book as it is what we studied at college.

  2. That’s fabulous Helen, you’re so skilful. Love the fabric, and the colour coordinated threads on the buttons too, a little detail, but adds so much.

    • Thank you. I really enjoyed making it. I haven’t made much for my children as I’ve sort of thought that they grow so quickly it’s not worth it. But now I have the enthusiasm for so I have some more things planned.

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