Today’s post is brought to you by the letter U, and by No Big Dill’s super-fun series, Sew All 26. Katy, the Dill behind No Big Dill, sewed outfits representing all 26 letters of the alphabet for her children last year. She’s doing it again this year, but this time, she’s invited others to join in each week. There are two guests sewing along for each letter, posting on Mondays and Wednesdays, then Katy wraps things up with her own phonetically-inspired project on Friday, and a link party for anyone else to join in. I snagged up letter U when Katy invited me to sew along for the series. And since today is Monday of Week U, it’s my turn!
Having a military father, I grew up with the phonetic alphabet. In my head, U is Uniform. So that’s where I went with my look for my eight-year old son, Seth. I love the sleek, masculine looks of military uniforms from the ‘40s, and tried to capture the feel with the cap, top and trousers I made for this week.
His cap is called a garrison cap, and is a traditional soldier’s cap. I used a free pattern from Urbandon. The pattern is for a man’s head, but thankfully, all of my children have been blessed with large craniums, so the fit is only a tiny bit large on Seth. The pattern is simple and the look is pretty authentic. I wanted to tie in some of the grey and black knits from the top, so made a quick, representative-of-nothing patch and slapped it on the side of the cap. The rest of the material is a khaki brushed poplin and some green bias tape piping I had on hand. The poplin is much thinner than the recommended fabrics, but it worked fine and folds up nicely so that he can store it under an epaulet on his shoulder, which he loves, and which I didn’t get any pictures of.
The top is The Abbey Road Shirt from Ottobre 6/2010, with some modifications. I used knits instead of wovens, so sized the shirt down to accommodate the fabric change. I loved the mandarin collar, back yoke, and the flapped pockets of the original design, they all give the shirt a more uniformy feel. I added epaulets to the shoulders, and pleated the front pockets to make the top more military-esque.
I screwed up on the back, getting it confused with the top and slicing down the center instead of cutting on the fold. So Seth’s Abbey Road has a center stitch line, that I like to think adds some interest to the back. Because of my mistake, the back yoke ended up being too large, so I added topstitched pleats to the center, mimicking those I’d added to the pockets, and bringing the yoke in to fit the main body better.
And speaking of messing up, I barely had enough of that grey knit to eek out the top. I was patting myself on the back for getting the whole pattern cut out of the little bit of fabric I had, when I looked over and saw the sleeve pattern piece, uncut, laying there, mocking me and the tiny scrap of fabric I had left to try to work with. After some swearing and a mild tantrum, I dug into my knits and found a men’s black tee. Then I recut out a few of the pattern pieces, cut out the sleeves, and embraced a color-blocked uniform shirt. And I love it. I was so worried that it would look awkward and throw the whole thing off. But I think it really works, and gives a cool modern feel to a very retro style. 18 metal buttons finish things off.
The trousers are also Ottobre, the Narrow Cargos from 1/2014. I moved the cargo pockets from the leg sides to the back, and used more of the metal buttons on the flaps, as well as at the waist opening. The fabric is a camouflage cotton ripstop I picked up at Jo-Ann. I had planned on using some real Army fatigues, but couldn’t get large enough cuts out of what I had for the pant legs.
But, giant as it is, I couldn’t get a good shot of the U and a good shot of uniformed Seth all the in same picture.
So we headed to a local fallen soldier memorial. No Us, but some seriously beautiful era-appropriate wrought iron, and a nice nod to U-uniforms and the men and women who have worn them.
You can follow along, catch up, and be inspired by all the incredible letter-looks that are Sew All 26, and link up your own projects, at No Big Dill HERE
And just because I think he’s about the cutest thing ever…
Garrison Cap: Pattern by Urbandon. Fabric brushed cotton poplin and ready-made bias tape from Jo-Ann Stores
Top: Abbey Road Shirt, modified, by Ottobre Designs, 6/2010, size 128. Fabric grey knit from Michael Levine, black knit from castoff t-shirt, metal buttons from LA garment district
Trousers: Narrow Cargos by Ottobre Designs, 1/2014, size 128 lengthened. Fabric camo cotton ripstop from Jo-Ann Stores, metal buttons from LA garment district
Belt: Old Navy
Boots: Palladium (affiliate link)