Simplicity 1787 from 1956 in red gingham and the dreaded term TWEEN

My daughter is at a new school this year.
They do wear uniforms but being Halloween today, they let the kids come in free dress.
But not their Halloween costumes.
Here is what Lily chose to wear for her day of freedom dressing:
Simplicity 1787 from 1956
Sewn in a vintage red gingham.
Trimmed with white crochet.
Worn without a petticoat.
I love that Lily is at an age where kids want to fit in by dressing like their peers, yet she still has her own style.
ย She is becoming what the media now callsย a tween, a new demographic between 9 and 13 and the target of a lot of age inappropriate advertising. Lame shops at the mall with clothing full of sparkles, dumb sayings on the butt of pants, and peace signs all over them cater to this age group.

I don’t know about you, but instead of calling my 9 year old a tween, I like to refer to her as a little girl.

Yes, she might decide it’s dorky to wear her mom’s handmade clothing at some point, but I hope not.
Peer pressure is hard to deal with though, especially in middle school.

The pattern I used for this dress was part of a collection of vintage patterns, and a 1948 Kenmore I call Mabel, I bought through Craigslist.

Mabel, my 1948 Kenmore.
Runs like a tank.
But very noisy.

I have an extensive collection of vintage patterns from estate sales and flea markets.
I should probably sell a few I can’t bear to part with them!
ย Fully lined, with bodice darts and a separate midriff piece.
This dress buttons up the back, so she needs help putting it on.

I also love the view with the 3/4 cuffed sleeves and the Peter Pan collar.
These dresses were made to be worn with petticoats but that is a bit much for most little girls to deal with nowadays.

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  1. says

    It looks gorgeous on her. I’ve seen that pattern before and passed on it. Maybe I won’t next time.

    As of yet, Bit has no problems wearing at least a crinoline… as long as I line said crinoline with cotton/poly batiste so it’s not “tickly” or “itchy”. I make one a year to go with her vintage dresses out of poly organza. She thinks they’re pretty and claims that they make her dresses more twirly. She especially loves that I sew a bell into them so that her petticoats jingle!

  2. Emily says

    Beautiful dress!! I want one. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with your assessment of tween clothes/advertising.

  3. Lizzy says

    Very pretty dress! I have a 10 yrs old daughter, she likes to wear vintage style dresses that I sew for her but perhaps soon she won’t like to wear them ๐Ÿ™
    and as you, I prefer to call her “little girl”…….they grow up so fast! ๐Ÿ™

  4. says

    You have beautiful little girls. I hate that dumb term, too, TWEEN. It is all part, I just know, of a conspiracy to make little girls grow up too damned fast. I would LOVE to see a comeback in vintage style clothing, very conservative and beautiful, for girls and teens. I love that dress on her. And just how precious would a petticoat be under it??? WITH GLOVES?

  5. Crystal says

    I am with you. So thoroughly tired of age inappropriateness! And your summary of the clothing out there is spot on! It’s awful, with sayings pasted across the rear being my absolute least favorite. How nice she still desires some pretty dresses for the time being.

  6. Shirley Ann says

    I agree with your assessment on clothing. Even my 9 year olds will point out clothing on others and say, “that is inappropriate.” I love the dress. I just don’t think you can go wrong with gingham.

  7. Sew Blessed Maw says

    Beautiful dress and beautiful little girl. SO happy that she chose the dress mom made her to wear on her “choose what you wear” day..
    I so agree.. what is the world doing to our little girls? If you don’t wear jeans that are so skin tight and full of holes or as you said suff written on the rear.. SO terrible.
    My daughter loved and still loves dresses [she is a 40 yr old teacher now]..She always wore the things I made her.. I have 4 grandaughters.. One is 11 yrs old. She wants me to make her dresses, but I noticed that this year , she only wants to wear them at church.. She said, the kids make fun if she wears a dress to school and wants to know “why?’ she has a dress on? so sad. They tell her that a dress makes you look like a baby.. Please………… shes only 11…Peer pressure is so hard now a days.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      We have to protect our girls’ childhoods don’t we ?

  8. says

    Love the dress. My daughter told me to stop making her clothes when she was about 11. She said the other kids made fun of her. So sad, I thought what I made was so much cuter but I guess peer pressure made her self conscious. Now I make clothes for my granddaughters and so far they are so excited to get a Nanna Dress. Of course my oldest is nine so we will see how long it takes her to ask me to stop!

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      Yes, I look forward to the day when I am a grandma! Makes getting older worth it!

  9. says

    Oh how sweet. It looks just wonderful on her. My granddaughter is well beyond the time of my sewing for her and I miss it. Just wonderful!

  10. Amy Mc says

    The dress is beautiful and the daughter even more so. I haven’t done much sewing as my daughters have been teens. Thank goodness they wear uniforms for school. But for senior homecoming my daughter wanted a “simple” cream dress with a cut-out back. We collaborated, had so much fun, she looked gorgeous (and modest) and her friends think I am a genius. We will be using your instructions to draft pencil skirts with friends over Christmas break. So never fear, Chick… even if she momentarily forgets how cool you are – she’ll remember soon enough.

    • Justine of SewCountryChick says

      I sew for my teen too and am so thrilled when her friends like what I made!

  11. Gabrielle says

    Such a gorgeous dress. And I agree, I hate the pressure on little girls to grow up when they are so young! I hope your daughter is able to resist for a while longer.

  12. Andrea from The Train To Crazy says

    I love that she chose that dress! It’s really lovely.

  13. says

    Lily is soooo pretty in this dress (as always, in any dress you made BTW).
    I love fifties clothes and have a sewing book from my Grandmother with pattern skatching instructions from basic to fashion items. Although I haven’t sew anything from them I love that book.

  14. says

    Aw, what a cute dress for a Little Girl. Much better than the sparkly graphic stuff. And what a cool machine too! I live in fear of my boys “getting over” me sewing clothes for them. I know they will one day, but I’m not prepared to switch from sewing for them to sewing full time for myself. Too much fabric! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Carol Pack Urban says

    I love vintage patterns and this looks so gorgeous on your daughter. Awesome! So far my granddaughters love homemade clothes.

  16. Angel says

    I love that dress! Also, I don’t like the term “tween” and I don’t use the term to describe my 9-year-old boy. By the way, he still loves the shirts I make him, as does his 8-year-old brother. We pick out bold cotton prints, and I use a bowling-style button up shirt pattern, and they get tons of compliments, from kids and adults. I know it probably won’t last, but for now, I’m thrilled. (And I figure I have plenty of time to sew for my little girl; she’s only 3!)

  17. Jessica at Me Sew Crazy says

    You know my love for gingham Justine – this dress is fantastic!

  18. says

    As a young girl in the late 50s, I was SO jealous of the older girls in their gingham skirts and dresses (petticoats underneath), worn with pointy shoes. I never did get to own one. This dress is ADORABLE!!!

  19. says

    I love this dress, it came out great! she’s so lovely, I have a little girl and maybe one day I’ll sew something nice as this dress ^_^