Hot! The “Hello, Sailor” Outfit

: Red, White Ribbed Knit – $8.00 for 2 yards; Blue denim – $0.30 for ~3 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 3688 (pants) for $1.99; Simplicity 9365 (shirt) for $0.20.
Notions: Vintage zipper for $0.05
Year: c. 1940s, 1971
Time to complete: About 6 hours
First worn: March 2010
Wear again? Yes! Have and will wear again. A+++

Total Cost: $10.55

In my quest to recreate my Grandmother's outfit I've already created 2 shirts, a pair of pants and had to abandon a mess of a jacket. While this pants and shirt combo aren't going to make the cut for the final outfit, I certainly would consider them a success. 

The pants are the oft-created Simplicity 3688 retro reissue. A bunch of bloggers have created these pants recently so I decided to dig up the pattern (I stock up on the retro reissues whenever Joann's is having a $1.99 pattern sale) and give it a go. 

These pants were super easy to construct and it was only stupid mistakes on my part that slowed me down. I had to take them in a couple times because I worked from the largest size of my copy — I know that the next time I can work from a smaller size and save those time-consuming steps. 

Other than sizing issues, I really liked working with the pattern. I added the buttons for a little nautical look and because I just can't stand having a front without any distraction from my stomach.

In my search for the perfect striped knit material, I haven't had much luck finding the perfect stripe width and color. So for this shirt, I took red ribbed knit and white ribbed knit and made the stripes from scratch. The back is solid red (as well as the bottom). This saved me from having to match my homemade stripes — a task I know I wouldn't have been able to do. I'm so not that sort of precise seamstress.

Pink-brown-striped My big discovery with the shirt is that I LOVE WORKING WITH KNITS! So much so that I went out and bought 3 more knits to work with.

This was actually the second knit shirt I made (I made my first trial knit shirt this week as well). I really loved how this shirt turned out but the colors are just off for the look I'm going for with my grandma's outfit. And, since I hadn't noticed that the bodice piece had already been cut for the scoop-neck view, the shirt doesn't have the right neckline. 

That said, it's the right neckline for my figure and I plan to make many more of these sassy ladies. 


As far as the next steps for my original goal of recreating my grandma's outift, here's where I stand:

1. I'm going to give the jacket another go and instead of the brown gabardine (yuck) I picked out, I will be using a black stretch charmeuse from JoAnn's.

2. I picked up some striped knit fabric in black & white at SCRAP and it may or may not work. 

3. I'm going to try to make another pair of pants in a darker blue or black.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Those pants are fabulous on you – I have got to pick up that pattern! Love the addition of the buttons, and your shoes as well!

  2. Yay! I am so glad you made these pants! I love the idea of adding the buttons on the front–I will have to try that. The outfit is FANTASTIC! It looks FABULOUS on you! I love it!!!

  3. You look absolutely adorable! This is the sort of outfit I would wear everyday (in fact, I’m wearing something similar – but not homemade and not nearly as gorgeous – as I type this).

  4. I just picked up that pattern this weekend during the 99 cent sale at JoAnn’s. It’s nice to see it on a real person. :)
    I can’t wait to try it out.
    I’m new to fitting pants, though, so I think I’ll play around with muslin first.
    Oh, and in case your readers don’t know – this pattern is available in plus sizes too!

  5. Lovely! The pants look fabulous and I love the addition of the buttons. Great outfit, the stripes & sailor pant combo looks effortlessly chic.

  6. Ahh so jealous. I wish I could wear pants like that. The outfit is fabulous!!

  7. I have this pants pattern and am dying to make it. Your blog is really inspirational to me. I’m a complete novice but after years of putting up with clothes I don’t really like and that don’t fit me well, I’m going to start trying to recreate my beloved vintage wardrobe for my post-baby body. I too am more in love with the 40’s than any other era. I’m looking forward to adding to my vintage pattern collection so that I can get started.