Vintage May


Like a shy, wallflower girl longing to be asked to boogie at the Spring Fling Dance, I was secretly hoping that Kristin and Jess would invite me to be part of their Vintage May Series, because it’s common knowledge that it’s one of the awesomest series around and who wouldn’t want to participate?

If there’s one thing I’m certain of this sewing community, it’s this: there’s a big love of collaboration. Soย my wish came true, resulting in some more awkward dancing. I also made K do a severely uncool version of the fist bump.

So, Vintage May. It’s a handmade-sartorial-celebration of all fashionable things retro and of days of yore. If you haven’t already, you must check out Kristin’s and Jess’ joint midcentury photoshoot. They’re amazing!

They’ve gathered many of my favorite sewing bloggers and the bounty of beauteousness is a little overwhelming.

Shall we talk about my ode to vintage wear? First of all, I feel the need to address the fact that we’re not in our usual light-grey-walled setting. K is becoming a little bolder about getting her photos taken where the air is fresher and because I know that Kristin and Jess have the highest of standards, I wanted to toe into territories outside of my comfort zone.

Vintage Outfit #1
Now, in my haphazard research on vintage dresses via Pinterest, I noticed that I was drawn most to the neutral clothes from the forties, fifties and sixties. I love simple silhouettes, quiet colors (or non-colors as it were), a jaunty bow, and the usage of eyelet cotton. This pattern in this book looked like it had potential:


I had the darnedest time deciding on fabric and mulled over two dozen combinations, including several wildly colorful retro prints Finally, I went with the simplest possible combo. A true vintage eyelet from my mom, and a sandy/beige-y chambray cotton. I extended the length to make it a shift dress, and left the sleeves off because I thought they would throw the proportion off a bit and I’m happy with the result.

vintage-may8 vintage-may7

It’s a straightforward dress to sew, and it has all the elements I adored and wanted. Yet…it felt like it wasn’t enough.


It might have had something to do with the sheerness of the yoke and my fear that it would look too risque (though it turned out to be fine – no exposure thankfully) and the overall effect seemed a touchย meh. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I get these compulsions to sew more than one outfit.

Which leads us to…

Vintage Outfit #2
This one falls into the late sixties/seventies era, and I just need to wax philosophical about rompers for a moment because I know I was opposed to them before. In my mind, nothing is more charming or vintage-y than rompers. Rachelย also made rompers, and hers is spectacular and is a must-see.


I had just enough of this slubby baby blue linen that I knew would be just right. The pattern is from this book, and because the shorts looked barely buns-grazing, I added 4 centimeters to the hem (I always think in centimeters since I use Japanese patterns so often).


Summer! That’s what this says. Swinging and running and basking in the sunshine and general romping. Even though it was approaching evening when I took these photos, the light was so bright bright bright, it was a new challenge for me to adjust my camera settings.


K got creative with the straps and kept coming up with different ways to tie them, but the sun was gone by then and dinner wasn’t going to make itself. I particularly liked her halter-style version.


There you have it, my Vintage May homage! It was so fun, and while working on this and doing some research, I realized that almost all of the clothes I make for K are vintage-inspired. It’s why I love the Japanese sewing books so much because of the charming old timey-ness of the patterns. Love love love.


Happy Friday! Just a quick quote from K today:

Mama!! My feet are so skinny and long and hairy. I might be related to Big Foot.


Vintage May is here
Kristin and Jess are so fun
Won’t you join in too?




25 thoughts on “Vintage May

  1. both outfits are gorgeous! so simple and so wearable. you’re little girl is just growing up so quickly (as little girls do) and she is so sweet in these photos.

    1. Isn’t she, though? She’s actually the shortest in her class, but she’s growing like a weed! Thank you, Sarah!

  2. Love both outfits and your pictures are just gorgeous! I really love the romper. I’ve been romper resistant myself (due to the idea of the romper sitting on a bathroom floor during a potty break *blech*) but they seem to be popping up everywhere and are just so sweet and perfect for summer, I think I need to break down and make one! So glad your wish came true of being a part of Vintage May!!! It’s one of my favorite series as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I really adore the rompers look, Meghan, though I do think it was a good move to wait until K was old enough to pay attention to the bathroom situation ๐Ÿ™‚ Vintage May is a wonderful series, and I hope they keep doing it every year!

  3. ohhhh my. I just adore these outfits! you outdid yourself Sanae! I especially am loving that romper, the color! wow! thank you SO much for joining us for vintage may!!

    1. Thank you so much for including me, it’s such a great series, Jess! [imagine me doing the “I’m not worthy” kowtow here…]

  4. Gorgeous as always….and the photos are STUNNING (as always).
    And since I am here….can I just say that your contribution to Stylo 2 was one of my favorites. That metallic tunic….I don’t even have words for how much I love it!!!

    1. Thank you, Mie!! Can you tell I’m really trying to practice my photography? Someone called me a photographer the other day and I was in seventh heaven!! And thanks for your kind words about the metallic tunic — that was super fun to work on. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Vintage May rocks! I’ve loved this series from the get-go, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it this time around. Thank you, Em!

  5. Sanae! I love your Vintage May outfits. So cute! And I LOVE that romper. It’s adorable! I love it in the linen and the buttons are perfect! And thanks so much for mentioning my romper. I was so surprised! What an enormous compliment. <3 I had never thought about the bathroom-romper conundrum, but that is definitely something to consider. We're actually on vacation right now and yesterday we were at Carmel Beach and Tia took off her bathing suit and dropped it on the public beach bathroom floor. I was horrified. The bathroom floor was so disgusting. Then Iris wanted to go in and she has a fascination with toilets. She loves to touch the seat and ewwwww it's so gross. She takes off her shoes and sometimes her dress!! We had already been though that at the airport and at the Monterey Aquarium. Thankfully, this time I was able to distract her. So, yes, I can totally relate to your concern with the bathroom – I will have to remember : no romper when out in public. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You hit it out of the park with the rompers, Rachel – I adore it so much! Oooh, I love the Bay Area and Carmel Beach/Monterey are so beautiful. My uncle used to have a sushi restaurant in Carmel though it’s sadly closed down now. Man, public bathroom incidents are the worst aren’t they? We try to avoid them at every cost, but sometimes it just can’t be done…hope you’re having a wonderful vacation!!

  6. Oh girl, that romper! So cute. Up until I sewed the ash recently, I was totally against romper a for the bathroom malfunction risks. But they really are horribly cute. Your color palette is beautiful. Taking pictures in the pre-magic hour brightness was a challenge for me too. Lots of blown out highlights/shadowy areas.

    1. Ha, thanks Tara!! I can’t ever seem to coincide with the magic hour, so there was a lot of Photoshop trickery going on with these photos to keep them from looking completely overexposed. One day I hope to get that perfect light….

  7. You’ve got this vintage thing nailed, Sanae! Perhaps its your tight color pallet or love of simple design, but these outfits totally suit you (or K, as the case may be:). And i”m so glad to see that Japanese pattern romper sewed up! I have that pattern book and have hemmed and hawed about it for a few years, worried that it might be too low across the chest (as it looks in the pattern book). Seeing K wearing it so fetchingly has alleviated my worries! Love it in the linen, and those buttons are such a great pop of color. Well done!
    And on an unrelated note, I was going through my Kids Clothing Inspiration Pinterest board and saw a dress you had made K last year, which took me back to your blog archives and the joy of rediscovering so many of your sewn treasures. You are such a prolific sewist and have sewn so many amazing outfits your little gal – I so appreciate your sharing this sewing journey with the rest of us!

    1. Thanks Lucinda! The top portion of the rompers was okay, but the shorts are definitely short-shorts so I recommend adding some length for modesty’s sake ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’ve been with me since almost the very beginning of my sewing odyssey, Lucinda – thanks for constantly cheering me on and providing so much support. It feels like things have changed a lot yet remained the same in the almost two years since I started this little blog!

  8. I love these, Sanae!! Both suit K so well and I always love how acrobatic kids get when they’re wearing rompers, it cracks me up. I’ll echo the others too – love your photos! Thank you so much for joining us for vintage may!!

  9. I love both of your outfits!!! The romper is so perfect!! And, after making my very first romper and then sending my daughter off to school today wearing it…i finally understood the bathroom issue…she said she didnt’ mind.

    1. Ha, the bathroom issue is a big one when it comes to rompers. Your daughter was a trouper!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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