People always ask me how I dress my girls. I’m sure you have this romantic notion of them in matching little sailor dresses sitting perfectly at the dinner table saying, “please pass the salt Mother”. (Perhaps not.)

The reality is, that since they were little, there are only a few occasions when I’ve been able to have them in true vintage. We have some fantastic pieces like a 1960’s leopard print raincoat and matching hat, a 1970’s red skating dress with white faux fur trim, and beautiful little gloves for tea time. Day to day wear however, I’ve been loath to have them in vintage as I just can’t bare to see that history getting ruined in the mud.  Instead I’ve made them little dresses from vintage patterns when they were small, and as they’ve grown looked for pieces that can be styled up with a vintage look. The problem is that now my eldest is TEN(!), it is becoming harder to find appropriate looks. She’s been pouring over pictures saying the same thing we do. “Why don’t they make these now?!”

She isn’t a fan of jeans or pants in general, and would dearly love to get into pencil skirted suits already. I was exactly the same at twelve years old and have some very amusing photos around here somewhere. Together we’ve been out scouring the stores and op shops in the hope of finding pieces we can put together for the right look. She’s in the awkward stage between not fitting into the girls clothes that look right (there are NO good tween options), and wearing very small ladies clothes.  It seems that we are only left with the DIY option of sewing up Misses patterns; a very time consuming endeavour. Here is her preferred selection so far.

I swear, if there was someone in the vintage community making children’s clothes in these sizes, they’d have a decent business! (If you know anyone please let me know)  There are a few options around but generally they stop at a size 7 at most. I guess girls over that age are a niche market within a niche market. We have an event on Sunday that she’d like to wear one of these to. Nothing like a bit of pressure hey?!

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Specialty Vintage Stylist, Blogger, and Presenter; Candice DeVille has been writing Vintage Current since early 2008. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she's always in search of the next glamorous adventure. Bringing you vintage style, glamour and inspiration for the 21st Century.


  1. Heck Candice, I’d give these a shot! Surely they’d be easier to fit than a full grown woman, what with her still being fairly girly in figure. Not sure I could knock something up by Sunday but if you want to task me with anything you dont have time for, let me know 😀

  2. I feel your pain. My oldest daughter is six and already can tell it will be an uphill battle from here on out to buy her clothes, especially dresses and skirts, that don’t fall into the strange world of little girls dressing like twenty somethings going to a club, at least that’s how much of it is here in the U.S. So, I’ve ended up sewing for her, as has my mom.
    The good news is that you can hopefully save what you’ve sewn up for her younger sister. My daughter prefers skirts and dresses and likes the vintage ones especially, too. It’s so fun to have something we can share and I’m looking forward to the day when she can sew up her own things.

  3. A bit late to this party, but it just found your blog today. I have a couple of tips for everyone that I think might help your dilemma.

    First, Craftsy actually has a couple of online classes available right now that are designed to show you how to modify patterns, so that is definitely something to look into. I do a lot of reenacting, and at this point, a lot of the ladies actually never use patterns for the stuff they make most regularly, because they have learned how to both size patterns to their frames, but they also know how to make patterns from garments they own that they love. From what I’ve gathered, the second is actually the best option: finding the things that you fit the most comfortably/best in gives you a good gauge of what size you actually are.

    Local craft shops will often offer these types of classes, too, at least here in the US. Ultimately, the goal of classes that teach you how to modify patterns is to make life easier for you in the long run, so I’d say it is definitely worth exploring.

    If you’re in the US and your daughters or sons are the least interested in learning to sew themselves, look into the local 4-H branch near you. The 4-H organization on the whole is amazing, given that the goals are teaching things like responsibility. (And I fear I’m a bad 4-H Mum at the moment, because I can’t remember what the H’s stand for.) A lot of people think that 4-H is only about animals, but there is a wide variety of non-agriculture categories to enter, including a plethora related to sewing, fiber arts, needlepoint, architectural modeling (which uses LEGO bricks, which is just fun), aviation, learning to fire a variety of weapons from archery to modern shotguns to learning how to muzzle load a musket, and even more. There are options for food preservation, food making, and other similar categories. Basically, you can likely find more than a few things that your kid is interested in if you just look into your local 4-H book. The program is generally run out of a county extension office. Here in Indiana, Purdue helps run the entire program.

    Joining 4-H will give them resources to make their own clothing and it really is a lot more simple than you think. My daughter joined 2 years ago, and her first year, she made herself a pair of pajamas. And hey, maybe someone’s daughter or son will be the person who decides to fill that niche market that so many folks are looking for!

    As for non-vintage items like pants and skirts, I feel your pain. My daughter has had hips and a curvy tush since she was two and at twelve, it makes life difficult. For jeans, our most common solution is to go to the boys’ section. Old Navy actually tends to be our favorite (and if you can hold out until the end of November, kids’ jeans are almost always $10 on Black Friday). The boys’ jeans actually look like the kids’ jeans of a decade or two ago wheee they were much more gender neutral. If you get lucky, a fee of the girls’ styles will fit, too, but we tend to buy one, maybe two pairs of those and a few more of the boys’ because my girl is rough on her jeans and the boys’ are made a bit more sturdy. Unless you go looking at the tag, you can’t tell that the ON ones are “boys” pants, which I know some girls might freak out about.

    As for skirts, that becomes a lot harder. They are designing them low-waisted and super short and I’m just not having that. Every now and then we get lucky at the store, but a lot of times, we just keep an eye out for small or medium women’s skirts of appropriate length at thrift stores and go from there. You can do the same with dresses, but the trickiest part is in the bust area because they are designed for women. Sometimes, it isn’t an issue, but if you’re talking about a fitted or shaped top, you have a bit more trouble and might have to modify it. (Thankfully, my girl didn’t take after me and hit a C cup by 6th grade!)

    I know this is long and have no idea if any of y’all will see it at this point, but I figured it was worth noting anyway. I have no idea if there is 4-H or an equivalent in Australia, but that would be worth looking into. Also, I know there are likely reenactors around, and they can be an amazing resource, even if you’re not the reenacting type!


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