Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Summer Tunic for Benjamin and a Star Dress for Rose

Well, June is more than half gone already and this past weekend was the Civil War event at Heritage Village. Although I could not make it for Saturday, due to a baseball game, I wanted to go for the day Sunday. A week out the weather forecast started looking pretty hot and the projected temperatures just kept going up and up.

With just a few days to go I decided that Benjamin needed a short sleeved tunic. While I could have adapted the pattern I used for his long sleeved tunic, I had a vague remembrance floating around in my head of having seen a really simple a-line tunic with cut-on sleeves somewhere. After a little searching I found it!
Childs Dress, 1855, Met Museum
It's 1855 but the shape works just fine for the 1860's. I took a few measurements after dinner one night, told Benjamin to pick some fabric from my stash, and by bedtime I had most of a tunic done! The next day I hemmed the bottom and added the buttons and buttonholes and Benjamin was so excited to have a new "dress". 

The fabric is medium weight cotton. I wasn't thrilled with his choice (I strongly encouraged a nice medium blue plaid shirting) but he insisted on it since it had red in it. And stars! To make it more interesting I added bias trim around the neckline and front placket and also at the hem. The front closes with 4 white china buttons. Everything was machine sewn except the hem and buttonholes. 

Benjamin really was happy with this. So much so, he insisted on wearing it to a baseball game that night! 😂 For our event on Sunday  he wore it belted at the waist which gives it more of a distinctive boy silhouette rather than the more gender neutral unfitted look. 

I have been sewing so much since the beginning of the month in preparation for this event. I thought Benjamin's new tunic was the last of my projects but I was wrong. Benjamin was happily showing off his new tunic to Rose and when she said she wanted one, too, Benjamin generously ran to my shelf and took down the remaining yardage of star-spangled fabric and shoved it into her arms. "Here, Mommy can make you one, Rosie!" So, of course, what could I do? I had to make Rosie a dress!

I finished it on Saturday afternoon, sweating in the sun at another baseball game and Rose got to wear it on Sunday. At least, for a little while, since she soon stripped down to her shirt and under drawers due to the over 100 degree heat index. 

I guess they are all ready for any upcoming patriotic holidays! And since I made both garments on the large side I am hopeful they will fit for at least the rest of the season. They both are getting insanely tall. And now I can take a much-needed break from sewing, but I really want to finally make my 18th c. dress this month for this months HSM. . .we will see.



  1. So cute! I love that little dress of Rosie's. Have any of your little ones expressed interest in learning to sew? They always look so excited to model their new momma-made clothes, I imagine they would be beyond proud to wear something they made themselves.

    1. Yes, at least a few of them have an interest in sewing. My 9 yr old son really loves creating things, although he quickly loses interest in learning how to sew the "right" way. He loves being free to look through the fabrics and notions and creating something out of his head. He has become pretty good at hand sewing basic stitches and makes things like flags, pouches, belts and most recently he made a simple holster for his reproduction (non firing) derringer out of leather with a button closure. He uses it often! Rosie LOVES sewing and helping whenever she gets the chance. If she's not sitting on my lap trying to do whatever I'm doing, she has her toy sewing machine out and is busily "sewing" all the scrap fabric she pulls out of my trash can, lol. The others have had interest off and on, but at this point Malachi and Rose are the two that really enjoy it the most!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!