It’s been more than forty years ago since the SOUND OF MUSIC, with Julie Andrews, introduced us to a “few of our favorite things”.     Every year students in schools around the world perform this charming musical about the Von Trapp Family.

The students of the Richmond Christian School performed this musical a couple of years ago.    I volunteered to sew  the sailor suits the Von Trapp children wear in the first act of the play.

I could not find a commercial pattern for this project.  I spent a long time on the internet  and finally found  a l9th Century pattern that gave me a tiny illustration of the collar.  That was enough.  For the tops I used a Simplicity pattern for scrubs.  The collar I made over-size so it would have lots of impact on stage. I sewed it to the scrubs neckline at the back, then attached Velco tabs to fasten it to the front of the top.   For the boy’s short pants I used a pajama bottoms pattern.  The girls skirts were simply a length of fabric gathered on an elastic waist band.  All the children’s sizes were different – five girls and two boys.

I have had so many requests for help with these patterns that I regret I didn’t save the collar pattern.  I apologize for not taking pictures while the work was in progress.  I really had no idea so many of you would write asking for help.

My sewing room was afloat with yards and yards of blue grosgrain ribbon and crisp white twill cotton.   It’s was a major project and each day while I  sewed away The Good Husband would come into the room and sing at least one song from the musical.  He has a beautiful voice and I love that he sings to me while I’m sewing.

I’ve enjoyed making the costumes.  It took about two week of work, and when I delivered the sailor suits to the school and the performers saw them – they cheered.  Proud parents and adoring friends filled the auditorium.  We laughed, cheered, and   The SOUND OF MUSIC was an outstanding success.



      • Thanks again for your encouragement. Finding that I could do this myself by adapting a plain boys’ jacket pattern and using newspaper to draft the rest of the pattern pieces I needed was exciting, when I finally got it to work. My first shirt had a dickey opening that was halfway to the navel, but I learned a lot from that.
        I did three different colored sailor tops as “casual wear” for the three smallest boys in the show. I wish I had a good pic of the guys in their sailor gear but unfortunately I wasn’t taking the pictures so there wasn’t one.

    • I found the pattern on line at THE COSTUMER’S For the tops I used a “scrubs”pattern. For the pants a pj pattern without pockets and elastic in the waist. For the girls I gathered a rectangular on an elastic waist band, adjusting the lengths for the various sizes. The most important part of the pattern is the collar. I made it really generous so it would be seen from even the back of the theatre. The dark blue grosgrain ribbon really snaps it up.

  1. Hi – I too am looking for a good sailor suit top pattern, for “Cheaper by the Dozen”, I need boy’s sizes 6 – 12 and have checked Costumer’s Manifesto but can’t find the pattern mentioned. Most of the recent patterns are toddler size. Could you possibly share more specifics about the pattern you used? These look lovely.

    • Good news Nelda. I have found you a pattern . I also hunted through the Costumer’s Manifesto and could not find the pattern I used. However the link I am sending you (see above) had a boy’s sailor suit #8609. It is a pattern. Much better than what I had to use, as I had to make up my own pattern from an illustration. Good luck and let me know how it works out. Virginia

      • Thank you, that pattern is precious, but a little too early 20th century for my needs. I think I’ll have to do the same as you did – put a pattern together from photos and a standard sailor collar. Sure wish someone had a simple costumer’s pattern out there in all sizes, the high end patterns are really not what we need to turn out several costumes at a time.

        Thank you!

      • Nelda I encountered the same problem. The trick to making this look like the costumes you want is the collar. I made it larger than what it would be normal – so that it would show up right to the very last row.. I interfaced the collar so it would lie properly. Attached to the back of the garment at the neckline, and then had velcro tabs at the front. I also made sure to buy a deep blue grograin ribbon so it really snapped in effect. Cheers V.

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