Simplicity 4760, in a fabric only a mother could love. 

Two mothers actually. 

Two mothers are involved in this shirt: the boy’s mother (me) who made the thing, and the boy’s grand-mother, who sent the fabric in a big package of toys and stuff all the way from Australia.

I’m not sure what her feelings on the fabric were, beyond it being Australian and therefore PERFECTION IN EVERY WAY, but my feelings are “Wow, this is so ugly I LOVE it.” Like, how do you say j’adore in Australian.

they couldn’t have lived on treacle you know, they’d’ve been ill.

the pattern: Simplicity 4760 copyright 2004 by Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc. 

I bought this brand-spanking-new in 2014 and paid full price for it, which appears to have been $14.95. I wonder if I was running a fever that day or something. I never pay full price for patterns. Crazy.


the fabric: Came already cut into two small panels and hemmed all around with Velcro at the top. I postulate it had been curtains for a pantry or some such. There was just enough to barely feature TREACLE and BILLY TEA like I wanted, but not even a chance of matching patterns or getting the whole shirt, so I used some washed silk twill in mustard for the back. Really classes up the joint, I think. 


this is what happens when you ask a two year old to strike a pose

the buttons: I chose those yellow plastic shanked winners because they are loud enough to hold their own against this bossy fabric. But there were only two of them. Which is fine. He can practice buttoning without getting all tuckered out.  

This is how we button at my house. The little instruction booklet was published in 1952, so this kit is a little older than our all-metal Singer sewing machine, which my husband found while riding past a yard sale on his bike. He went back for it with a car, those things are heavy. 

When you are using one of these old timey buttonhole makers, try and arrange to have a two year old in the room, because it is very helpful to read the instruction manual out loud to yourself under the guise of reading it to him. You can read it over and over and over. He’ll be super-interested. Plus he might have some helpful input like, “Mama, sew.” You’re right son, I should do that.

Just for fun, here are some ways to remember where the button-holes belong:

  1. Men’s shirts close left-over-right so that when he draws his sword with his right hand, it doesn’t get all tangled up.
  2. Ladies’ shirts close right-over-left so that when he is driving her to the movies on dates, he can peek into her shirt. (Brits and Aussies, you’re gonna have to let her drive for this one to work) 
  3. “Women are always right, men are left over.” 

These are official teachings that I learned in school. From professors. 

Sew It Or Throw It?  Sew it.
With these important changes:
It’s got odd proportions, I’d shorten the body by two inches next time, no matter what the size, so it looks more intentionally boxy and oversized and less like it’s just plain too big.
I’d also add a yoke across the back, to make the collar finish cleaner and stronger. This pattern has the front collar’s seam allowance press downward into a facing, then you clip the seam allowance and press it up inside the back of the collar, which creates a pressure point at the clipped places that will eventually wear into two little holes, meaning that in the future I won’t be able to pass this hilarious shirt along to any of my friend’s kids, which is a bummer because, I mean, all children should get to experience the glory of this shirt. 


12 thoughts on “Simplicity 4760, in a fabric only a mother could love. 

  1. This is fantastic! I love that you didn’t have enough fabric and had to use the coolest color of yellow. Most of the time those details that don’t work out are the best feature…


  2. I think this is very, very cool. And although it is a slightly funny length on the boy the fabric is so special that I imagine he will want to wear it even when it is way too short. And I love vintage equipment.


    1. Those vintage buttonhole makers really make some great shapes: eyelet, keyhole, all the sizes…and it’s not too unusual to find them at yard sales because no one knows what they are.


  3. I would be totally confident in saying the fabric was pantry curtains circa 1988 (..celebration of a nation..) and the only thing more popular would have been Ken Done’s Opera House and Koala’s in a neon pink fabric! I must admit I love Roses Lime Marmalade – haven’t had it for years….


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