So I was very excited to be a pattern tester for the newest version of the pattern, which now includes a sweater, a short-sleeved version, and an expanded size range from 12m to 12Y.
And is it ever easy to sew! I finished about one project per nap. I love one-nap projects!
In the end, I made this pattern six times: three tops and three dresses, in three different sizes.
This project calls for knit fabric, and obviously a sweater knit would be ideal, but sadly the choices were limited at my local fabric shops and I had no time to order online.
The smallest kids chose the fabric for the tops (ack! so cute to watch them choose fabrics) – a slinky rayon jersey. In that fabric, the tops have a retro 70s vibe.
The pattern changed slightly during testing, and now has a banded waist, but these tops were made before the change.
For the dresses, I chose a ponte de roma that has a bit of a soft, sweater-knit texture. This fabric gave better results than the jersey. It’s a stable knit that is still very stretchy and has great recovery.
I only made two changes. First, I shortened the sleeves by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Second, I attached the cowl neck first, before starting the sleeves. I find it easier to work this way, but it’s just my preference. See a discussion on sewing flat versus in the round, here.
I didn’t use a serger – I don’t have one. I just used my regular machine, which has a faux overlock stitch and I hemmed everything using a double needle. This worked very well.
The results were great. These tops and dresses are cute, cute, cute and the kids love wearing them. Yay!
Dakota stretch rayon jersey knit Hearts in navy, pink and teal (medium-weight knit, 95% Rayon/5% Lycra, 4-way stretch, 25% vertical stretch and 50% stretch across the grain).
Ponte de roma in grey, (medium- to heavy-weight knit, 80% Polyester/15% Rayon/5% Lycra, 30% stretch across the grain), magenta, and dark teal – not shown – (medium-weight knit, 50% Polyester/45% Rayon/5% Lycra).
Sizes: 2T, 5T and 7Y. Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: About $12 per top and about $16 per dress. Sewing Level: Confident beginner. Modifications: I shortened the sleeves, by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Results: Great. This was fast, and I love the trendy look.
Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Heidi & Finn, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.
Well, it’s not quite spring here, but mother nature is working on it. So this pattern came along just in time. It’s the Spring Showers Jacket by Elegance & Elephants (yay! Canadian content!) and I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester.
It’s a lined, zip-front, hooded jacket. You can make a version with a cinched waist, but I like this version better.
I was going to make a waterproof/water-resistant version, but the one day I could get to the fabric store…. snow storm! So I shopped my stash instead. I used a (hard to photograph) navy, 100 per cent cotton twill for the outer fabric and quilting cotton for the inner fabric. I thought about using lining fabric on the sleeves, to make them easier to slide on and off. Montreal may be Hoth in the winter, but it’s Tatooine in the summer. Cotton breathes better, so this will be a better summer jacket this way.
I made the size 4/5 for Kid No 2. Usually he wears a size 5, and the fit of the jacket was just right. Room to move and grow and layer over whatever he’s wearing.
The pattern is really cute and practical, and I’ve already had a couple requests for more from Kid No 1 and Kid No 3.
Way back in July I volunteered to do a little pattern testing. I’d never been a pattern tester before so I thought I’d give you a little run down on what it’s like. The pattern I had the chance to test is the super cute Sally Dress from Very Shannon (great first name!) of luvinthemommyhood fame.
Now before you look at my version, you should hop over to her site and take a look at the finished versions there, then hop back here.
The dress is fully lined with nice big pockets (love those pockets!). It has no closures so it’s great for beginners and comes in sizes 2T to 8, which is a nice range. It also comes sleeveless or with two sleeve variations (short sleeves and elbow-length sleeves).
This is a really cute dress and it’s very easy to sew. I think Shannon did two rounds of testing, but I was only available for the first round. So when I did my round the sleeves weren’t quite ready and the bodice was also changed in the second round. I do like the sleeveless version though.
Now one thing about pattern testing is that you are sewing to a deadline, which I try not to do too often. In this case my busy schedule meant that I only had one day to get fabric. And there was only one place that was open on the day I could go. Ack! So this isn’t my first choice of fabric for this pattern (I do like the prints though), but I still like the way it turned out.
The prints are Houndstooth and Swell Strip, both in multicoloured, from the Textured Basics collection by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabrics. The houndstooth was a gift from Double Decker Fabrics.
This is the inside out view where you can see how nicely it’s finished on the inside. I lined the bodice in super soft cotton batiste.
Now I have to say this testing didn’t go as easy as I would have liked. I had to resew the bodice twice, and shorten the skirt (which meant taking apart the pockets), and because I was matching the stripes, redo the pockets. Now of course, all the little problems that had me resewing were fixed and retested before the final pattern was released, so have no fear! You will not be subjected to all of that. And if I hadn’t chosen a striped print, I could have made life so much easier on my self.
But it all still went a little wrong. This dress relies on a very fitted bodice for the fit and my little one is very slim in the chest, which mean she’s floating in the dress. I made the size 7, which I always make, and it’s just too big. I probably would have been happier making the size 4, but lengthening it.
And the other thing that went wrong was that I hadn’t seen how long the dress was supposed to be. None of the photos showed the full model. Of course now there are quite a few cute Sally Dresses out there, and some are quite short, some shorter than I’d like, but all are much shorter than mine.
So I had a choice. I could rip out everything and recut, or I could just hang onto it until next spring when it will probably fit perfectly. And since my little girl loves it as is, I went with the second choice.
I will, hover, have to try again, and maybe this time add sleeves too.