Thursday, March 26, 2015

When you don't love it

In my last post I mentioned cutting out some fabric for a dress I planned to make. I also mentioned that I've been avoiding this particular project because I wasn't sure I was going to like the pattern. Obviously, I like the look of the end product because I had decided to make it, and purchased all the trim and lace for it....but I have made another dress out of this book and I did NOT enjoy the process. The directions were ok, but I had to do a lot of adjustment on the fit. I brought the shoulders of that particular dress in, did sort of an improvised dart so they didn't gape in the back, and left an entire tier of ruffles off the dress, as it was plenty long enough for its above average height recipient.

The only reason I didn't entirely scrap my plans to make another dress by this designer is because dress number two is much less fitted, and I decided that oversized would be fine for now and it could be worn as a tunic over leggings in the future. Something grabbed me this weekend, and I decided to make the second dress.

I like the dress. But I was right. I did NOT love the pattern.

Many parts of it felt incredibly fiddly, and sometimes I would go ahead with the directions as written, hoping that it would work out but knowing that I was going to be ripping a seam and doing it again. You can see from the back image that there are ties at the waistband. I know for sure that there were directions on how to make those ties, but I am less certain that there was ever a direction to actually attach them to the dress! Luckily this is not my first dress with ties like this, so I was sure to attach them before I sewed the final side seams. I imagine I would have been quite frustrated if I hadn't noticed that, finished the dress....and ended up with spare parts!

The directions for the button band on the back were rather mystifying as well. This is one feature I haven't done much in the past, so I was really relying on the pattern instructions. The band is cut out as a single strip. All of the times I read through the directions, I really felt like it should have been two separate pieces, but I didn't want to slice it in half only to find out I was wrong. I checked and double checked the pattern piece to make SURE there wasn't another cut line, and there wasn't. I went ahead and installed it as best I down to the bottom of the band, had no idea how I was to navigate the transition between left and right side, and out of the lateness of the hour and just wanting to be done, I folded and mashed it as best I could to look decent and called it a day.

It looks fine for a toddler/kid dress I suppose, but I know it's not the proper way to do it and it bugs me. Not enough to rip out, but enough to want to research it for next time. On the other hand, how pretty are my buttonholes! Score one point for practicing it five times before doing it on the garment!

So here is my dilemma. I've now made two patterns from this book, and I disliked them both. I was surprised at many of my issues because, well, they came from a BOOK. In my mind, you should be able to trust what you get out of a book from a real live publishing house. There should have been multiple sets of eyes on it, patterns should be tested, fits should be reasonably accurate. This wasn't a freebie pattern (though, disclosure, I got this from my library so I didn't technically pay for it), so I just expected more. The dilemma name names, or just make a mental note to myself and move on?

I have no problem posting names and links and such when I have a good experience, but I somehow feel bad pointing a finger when I had a less than good experience. I know I don't have a large following, but I guess I feel like I should prevent others from having the same problems. On the other hand, I'm not the world's most experienced sewist, and I don't always read directions carefully, and I'd hate to paint someone else in a bad light if it was really just errors on my part.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Replies
    1. If it's not it should be. It looks better than sewer!

  2. Very pretty dress! I like the colors in the fabric...sophisticated for a little girl :)

    Regarding your question, I think I'd keep the pattern designer to myself. If someone directly asked me for feedback on that designer/pattern through a group or in person, I would share my experiences. I would say I have intermediate sewing skills because I've tried a lot of different techniques with success - however, I have not sewed nearly enough patterns to say I'm an experienced pattern reader - I spent a week hung-up on a collar stand for a pattern a few years ago... Sometimes pattern reading becomes easier as you have an arsenal of skills! It's probably a lot harder to call something an error in sewing versus knitting (where if it says cast on 100 and they meant 200, that's clearly an error!). You'll have to show me the pattern and we can dissect it sometime!