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Sewing For Travel - Air, Car, Train, or Boat

When I was a kid, we drove from Ohio to Massachusetts or the New Hampshire Coast every summer. That was 16 hours in the car. Two adults, four kids, and 2 dogs. All of us in a Chrysler Town and Country Station Wagon.

Did I mention


What did we wear? Well, Mom always looked great. Dad wore what Mom laid out for him. Now for the kids. Mom would do all of the laundry the day before we left and pack the suitcases. We traveled in last summer's clothes now far too small. As you can see from the horribly embarassing photo below of my little brother and I. I believe this was on the way to Florida to DisneyWorld when it was first open. It was Spring Break. I have to say that I would NEVER do that to one of my children!

my little brother and I in front of a station wagon in the 1970s
I should hate my mother for this. I bet one of my sisters took this picture


Whether you travel by air, rail, sea, or highway comfort and ease of care are key. There are other factors that also need to be factored in as well. packability and usefulness. So shall we explore?

For the always fashionable woman, such as my mother, this Pucci ensemble is a great travel set. The back suggests using jersey fabric for the entire outfit. Too flashy for you? leave the ruffle off the pants and it calms it down. You could wear this out to dinner or to a cocktail party, and go sightseeing, during your vacation as well. Let's see how it fairs in the travel test.

  1. Comfort

  2. Ease of Care

  3. Usefulness

  4. Packability

This Pattern covers all the bases! So Head over to Kinseysue to grab this versatile Vogue 2712 Pucci

Here is another Vogue and another great design for travel. Vogue 1546 by Tamotsu has cropped, pleated pants, a sleeveless button-front top, and a knee-length coat dress. Flying from a cooler location to a more tropical one? All you need to do is remove the coat dress and you are ready for those tropical breezes and walks on the beach.

Stop by Alice Valentine's Fabrics and Patterns for this great Pattern! Let's see how it stacks up.

  1. Comfort

  2. Ease of Care *

  3. Usefulness

  4. Packability

Ease of care would depend on your choice of fabric. However, I think that this pattern is a great choice!

Men's Weekend Sportswear sewing pattern
McCall's 7568

For the man of the family, McCall's 7568 by Van Martin has it all for his travels. Flying? He would probably want to wear pants. Driving? Maybe shorts. The Bomber Jacket not only looks good but will keep him warm in the plane or train, or if you are driving, get him through the rain when you stop for gas! No matter what the case, you'd better hurry over to C'est si Bon Vintage Sewing Patterns and grab it before it's gone.

Let's check this pattern for versatility!

  1. Comfort

  2. Ease of Care

  3. Usefulness

  4. Packability

This pattern hits a home run for vacation travel! Just add a few shirts and he's got a casual summer wardrobe. Now he's ready to fly!

Here is a pattern that can cover not only your travel wardrobe but quite a bit of your vacation as well. Wear the pants, camisole, and shawl collar jacket to travel in comfort. When you arrive, slip on the floor-length skirt and reverse the jacket for a romantic dinner for two. McCall's 6375 takes you from daytime shopping to evening cocktails and dinner, to late-night dancing. Available now at Redcurlzs on Etsy

I think we can all guess how this pattern faired!


  1. Comfort

  2. Ease of Care

  3. Usefulness

  4. Packability

One more for the Men of the family!

McCall's 2075 Palmer & Plesch Perfect Fit Pants and Shorts for Men. Flat front, pleated front, or cargo pockets. You choose the style that fits your destination the best. If your man is a hands-on dad, he might want to travel wearing cargo pants. Those roomy pockets come in handy when traveling with little ones! Both flat and pleated pants can go from playing tourist during the day to dinner at night with a simple shirt change. Maybe a tie too depending on the local style. So, play a round of golf, go to the amusement park, or go buy souvenirs during the day. When evening comes around hire a babysitter through the resort, shower, put a nice shirt on, and take your wife out to a nice romantic dinner sans children. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Quick, go to Candy Goeller Patterns on Ebay

Now for the scale of versatility.

1. Comfort

2. Ease of Care

3. Usefulness

4. Packability

I feel that these rate 4 stars. Here are my reasons.

  1. Comfort - The pants look like what he probably wears every day to work unless you are talking about the cargo pants.

  2. Ease of Care - They will require an Iron most likely unless you use a Wrinkle -Free fabric

  3. Usefulness - this gets 5 Stars. The different styles and the long pants and shorts make this very useful for a vacation.

  4. Packability - also 5 Stars! Easy to pack flat.

Let's look at ideas for dressing kids for travel. I feel like a bit of an expert #1, my mother taught me what NOT to do. #2 I raised 3 kids in Hawaii and flew back and forth a lot!

My 1st tip isn't about clothing. I always bought a new toy that was airplane appropriate for the flight. They never knew about it until I decided that it was time. New toys are a miraculous tool! The toy below is similar to what I got for air travel. It fits perfectly on the tray! (click on the image to go to the listing)

Let's start with the youngest and work our way up!

Babies. They can be troopers or not. Make them as comfortable as you can and bring at least twice as much as you think you will need! The easiest is one-piece pajamas or rompers. Definitely nothing fancy. Easy on, easy off.

This pattern Simplicity 8693 is an easy-to-make example. The raglan sleeves make it a breeze to sew together! You could make several for all of those changes. (I could tell you some stories!)

This is the casual or, Red Eye flight "uniform". If you are looking for something a little bit "nicer", how about a zip-front romper, jacket, and matching hat? Simplicity 5101

is a perfect alternative to pajamas. It has an optional snap crotch closing, it looks neat and tidy, has a matching raglan sleeve jacket so warmth is taken care of too.

Let's Rate these two!

1. Comfort 5-STARS

2. Ease of Care 5-STARS 3. Usefulness 5-STARS 4. Packability 5-STARS


1. Comfort 5-STARS

2. Ease of Care 5-STARS 3. Usefulness 5-STARS 4. Packability 5-STARS

Older Children - Let's start with Boys. As a survivor of traveling with 3 boys, I feel like an expert. It's not easy. We would fly from Kona, Hawaii to Los Angeles. This particular flight is a little bit over 5 hours. Comfort and ease of changing clothes are Very Important! This Pattern, Simplicity 8719, is a good travel choice. The pants have an elastic waist, they have extra pockets for goodies! A collared shirt and a tank top too.

The elastic waist in the pants and shorts makes it easy to change out of their dirty clothes and into another pair.

The collared shirt is great to have for the rest of the trip. You never know when you may need the kids to look nice.

This pattern is available at

Let's See How This One Rates!

1. Comfort 5-STARS

2. Ease of Care 5-STARS

3. Usefulness 5-STARS

4. Packability 5-STARS

It hits one out of the part! Pack a couple of T-shirts to wear with the pants and shorts and it's a Five Star!

Here is one from Redcurlzs for little girls. Burda 9519 has pants, Capris, and shorts.

Cute pants with contrast side insets, front, side pockets, and a fitted waist. Style for your little one. The pants for air conditioned travel, capris for cloudy days or for no more sun days, shorts for active days. All you need to do is add a few tops!

The Rating?

1. Comfort 5-STARS 2. Ease of Care 5-STARS 3. Usefulness 5-STARS 4. Packability 5-STARS

Next I was going to do older children until I remembered that choosing clothing for preteens and teens is pointless. They are going to assert their independence and wear what they pick out. So, give yourself a break! Don't fight, you have enough to sew here anyway!

Remember, if you are looking for a particular pattern and can't find it, join out chat group! Post what you are looking for. Brand, number, photo if available, decade, and size or size range. We will scour our stock for you!

Until next time, enjoy your travel time! Play cards, games - I used to count VW beetles! I only counted Orange ones! Play I spy, etc. Have fun with your kids! Travel can be brutal but if you take it in stride, so will your kids. They follow your lead. Being comfortable is a good start.

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Unknown member
Jul 15, 2023

Great selections for the entire family! I remember car trips when we were young - both my parents dressed nicely, even to a tie for my father. My sister and I wore shorts but had to change into a dress (in the back seat) before we went into a restaurant to eat!


Unknown member
Jul 04, 2023

Your car travelling memories brought back many of my own! There was always a homemade outfit or two included on most trips. Love your selection of patterns. Years later, I made the Vogue Tamostu many times for my mom - mostly in linen or cotton - A great pattern that I still have and plan to use again! Thanks for the flashback!

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