The “Aloha Birthday” Nightgown


The Facts
Fabric: pink polka dot quilting cotton from my mom (free) for the front and back, 2 sort of coordinating Lisette cottons from Jo Ann for the sleeves and yoke
Pattern: Simplicity 5552
Year: 1964
Notions: 3 buttons from stash, bias binding for sleeve elastic casing, elastic
First worn: 11/24
Wear again: Yes!
Time to complete: 4 hours or so
Total cost: less than $10

I grossly miscalculated the garment I had planned for this challenge, a 1964 1-yard overblouse for myself in a plaid wool challis.  Why do patterns labeled “easy” and “simple to make” always lead me into deep trouble?  Happily, my misfortune turned out to be serendipitous.  My daughter, Fenna, has been asking for a nightgown for a long time.  I don’t know why I haven’t made one for her before now.  I have this darling 1960s nightgown pattern.  Her 6th birthday’s coming up on Tuesday.  Problem solved.

Honestly, this nightgown doesn’t look much different from another contemporary girls nightgown pattern I own. The 1960s illustrations look better, of course. It was simple to sew, once I figured out the cryptic instructions for the “continuous lap” that was step one.  I’ve certainly gained some stamina, since all that gathering would have had me screaming at the beginning of the year.

The result is a little quilty for my taste, but Fenna loves it.  She rejected the three or four single fabric options I presented from my stash.  She would have been okay with just the main polka dot fabric, but I didn’t have enough of it.  I even did a naughty thing and cut the front and back pieces on the crosswise grain, the only way they would fit.  She also rejected any lace or trim around the yoke.  Simple sewing and stash busting for me, no complaints.

The pattern is a size 8, a size larger than Fenna’s size.  I took the sides in a bit and made the hem wide so I can let it down later if needed.  It’s big on her now so it should fit for a good long time.  She would not take off those leis, but you can get the idea of the yoke from the back view.  She did put some oomph into her modeling, as you can see.

We took the photos at the Polynesian resort in Disneyworld.  There is no cavorting in lush vegetation or sparkling clean sand in Brooklyn this time of year.  Is Brooklyn ever sparkling clean?  Don’t answer that.  The trip was a smashing success, especially for Fenna and her grandparents, who met us there.  I loved the Magic Kingdom as a kid in the 70s and 80s, and I hadn’t been back since then.  From my adult perspective I have to say the appeal of Disney mystifies me.

jeans with my Suzy dress because it was cold (for Florida)



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.

1 Comment

Comments are closed.

  1. So darling! Fenna is a natural! I think she’s learned a lot from her mom. Little nightgowns are so fun to make. I made most of the clothes for my girls growing up. Then they got to the age when homemade wasn’t cool anymore. Enjoy it while it lasts.