Hot! The “Oh Shirley” Suit | Veronica Darling


Pattern The Facts

Fabric: Woolie charcoal (with tiny flecks of white, blue and red) fabric, thrifted $4 and cotton tartan $1, also thrifted
Patterns: Simplicity 5206 (the vest, but I made the trousers into shorts!)
Year: 1979
Notions: Vintage buttons, free from my friend's Granny's stash
Time to complete: 10 hours
First worn: April 2011
Wear again? 

Total Cost: $5


Such a trip down Memory Lane this week, it was so fun looking through my old photos! My brother and I grew up on a hobby farm and spent so much time outdoors with the cows, climbing trees and building things, so our day to day clothes were pretty much shorts and singlets in summer, and tracksuits in winter. We did have our collection of 'good clothes' for visiting friends, going to town etc and here's where my love of matchy clothes and colours perhaps came from!


In this photo I'm probably 4 years old and my brother is 2, so we're perhaps in 1982 or 1983?! I loved this tartan skirt and the vest and looking at other photos of us the little 'suit' or colour co-ordination was a big theme throughout our 'good outfits'. I've had an update from my Mum, who tells me she knitted both our beanies, and our jumpers. AND my tartan skirt she'd bought new (she loved the big pin!) but altered it to fit me, so I love all the DIY in this picture! Yay Mum!

For this theme was to make an outfit inspired by a childhood look, I didn't want to replicate the exact outfit but I went with a few ideas: A 'suit' or matchy combo of clothes, a necktie (in a lot of other old photos I wore blouses with neckties!), tartan (as I had a remnant to use) and more wintery (it's getting colder in Melbourne!).

The charcoal woolie material is from my stash, and I have no idea how long I've had it for or where I got it but it's totally unreal to sew with. I initially thought I'd make trousers from the woolie stuff, and the vest just from the tartan (like the pattern suggests), but as both were remnants and thrifted, there was only just enough for shorts and the vest! It wasn't too hard altering the pattern, a little hit and miss with the cuff on the shorts, and I ironed the front and back creases to make it look more professional.

The vest is reversible, after I was inspired by Adey's apron last week, but it does look a little costumey/clown-esque, especially with the necktie… so heaps better as a suit, with 'peakaboo' red/tartan showing! All up it took a weekend to make, in and out of the sewing room, so it wasn't the quickest suit to make up, but I'm so loving the results!


And the sun came out for our photos, just to say goodbye for real, as it's so terribly overcast and cold nowadays! Hello autumn!

Such a statuesque figure in my suit!

And why the name of the 'Oh Shirley' Suit? I've called this outfit 'Oh Shirley' because when I was younger (around the time my inspiration photo was taken) I was caught up with Shirley Temple. I adored her and her little 'suits' she wore during her films. Now we have dimples and suits to match!


Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. You are fantastic! I love this whole outfit and you’re right it’s so wintery AND you look dead hot in shorts. I think the peek-a-boo tartan is genius. Ahhhhmazing.

  2. margueritedesigns

    I love the statues photo, as well as the outfit!

  3. Great use of the fabric available – love the matchy matchy. I had a purple plaid skirt with suspenders and matching purple top and my sister had the same in blue. The tartan lining is great.

  4. I love this soooo much! The photo of you with the statues is so funny! Perfect setting! You know I’m a big fan of tartan, wool, bows and vests!! Your outfit looks absolutely fabulous! Great job on the reversible vest too!!

  5. Good thing I have a similar pattern, so I can STEAL this sewing project! I secretly adore 1970s fashions, especially the suit with shorts and tights look. And your necktie is the sassiest thing I’ve ever seen!

  6. What an awesome outfit! I need to keep that in mind for a few months’ time.

  7. You are so much fun and I love the suit. What a great Mom you have and the outfits she put together were really cute.

  8. oh TERRIFIC! this is absolutely charming. and you as a child: monumentally charming.
    and ps, i love your hair like this, so swingy!

  9. Brilliant suit and awesome photos!

  10. Great outfit..You look great..

  11. Adorable! You have such great style Veronica – The tartan is so cool!!

  12. Wow, I love this one! Never would’ve expected it when looking at the pattern cover. I’m also a huge fan of wearing heels with shorts, and the tights make a great look for autumn! Also, the photo of you next to the statues is so cute, you look so mini! :)

  13. Totally adorable outfit and I am so happy you made the vest reversible, I’m sure the tartan side will look great when combined with other garment pieces in your wardrobe. The grey looks really great with tartan and I love your hair styled this way too!

  14. Thanks Kazz! You’d look AHHHHMAZING in a short pant suit too, I bet!

  15. Thank you Marguerite! They’re really funny statues, so couldn’t resist!

  16. Purple plaid would be AMAZING! Thanks Jen!

  17. Ticks all the boxes, hey!?! Thanks Debi, can’t wait to see your childhood inspiration!

  18. Steal it for sure! I’m thinking I might like another one for wintertime too. I’ve never really worn vests, but how great are they?!
    If I get time, I’m going to do a tutorial on the necktie too! Over at my blog!

  19. Maybe you could do a summer version?! Love your bright pink 60s dress btw Robin!

  20. Thank you Sue! I’m so glad I check with my Mum, as I had about 4 photos I loved, and just chose the tartan skirt because I had the tartan remnant! I had no idea she’d knitted all our jumpers and hats for us!

  21. It is swingy and straight hair today! Thank you Oona!

  22. Cheers Judy, appreciate it!

  23. you look so adorable! (in both your now and then photos!lol) Great idea with the shorts suit. The whole look is fab.

  24. There are no words for how much I love this. You look fantastic, as always – a shorts suit is a great look for you! That bright plaid feels so cheery to me :)

  25. Thanks Sarah, you’re a sweetheart!

  26. love the vest…. not sure about the shorts though :)

  27. Yeah, I’m with you Amanda, in a climate like ours in Melbourne, where you pretty much have to wear tights from now onwards til October… having some shorts and heels breaks up all my skirts/dresses wearing.

  28. Thanks for the idea Adey!
    I’m sure I can mix and match it somehow, also under a black or grey jacket you’d only see a slither of the tartan, so that could look good!

  29. Thanks for the feedback Casey! Are you sewing along this week?

  30. It’s really cheery! I wore it yesterday (just the vest) on a very grey Melbourne day, and it made me and my friends smile! One of my dear friends said ‘Oh Shirley!’ when she saw it! Nice that she’s a Sew Weekly regular!

  31. Thanks Leanne! Not sure about the style/fit of the shorts, or just not for you? I find I have to be in the right mood to wear short shorts! And also the right time of the day (not after a big lunch!). :)

  32. oh yes.. but got off to a slow start with this one! Should finish tomorrow.

  33. Clear and concise. Anticipating a lot more like this.