November 11, 2014

The Little Miss Sweetie Pie Dress

I'm back catching up on blog posts. More things are slowly being added to our page as we move across to this site. I've still got quite a few patterns to catch you up on, but for todays one, I just wanted to say that I love little girls dresses. Not the ones you necessarily see in the shops, but the ones you find when you are a sewer. Dresses that really suit girls, and allow them to look like girls, and not little versions of what teenagers wear. Here's my new fav...

Recognise the front cover model? Making her debut appearance haha. I tested this dress for Pattern Emporium a few weeks ago and I'm secretly stoked that I took a photo good enough to make a cover shot, because we all know photography is not my strong suite (but I am improving slowly). It's no secret that I am a big fan of Pattern Emporium Patterns. The designer behind them, Kate, is not some "I've sewn a bit for my kids and decided to write a pattern" type (which I honestly don't mind sometimes, there are some good patterns out there), but Kate designed and made patterns for her career before children - and it really comes through in Pattern Emporium patterns.  I always learn something from sewing one of her patterns. This is the first dress pattern she has released and I really like it. ALOT

The Little Miss Sweetie Pie dress has options. And not just one of them. Loads and loads of them. When I first saw the pattern it took me ages to decide what to sew because everything looked so good. in the end, I made the top, with a simple ruffle over the shoulder, and a ruffle along the bottom.

I made this up in rayon challis. These photos were taken on an especially windy day and you can see how much the rayon is blowing in the breezes. It is the perfect fabric for this top - which would pretty much work in any fabric, except perhaps polar fleece……..

How cute is it? I made a straight size two, and this was the first sew. There were some alternations to the pattern to narrow down the chest a little prior to release, so don't panic if this looks just a tiny bit wide across the chest. Zoe is a very real two at the moment. Her measurements fall exactly on the sizing chart measurements. In another couple of weeks she will probably turn that corner into the in-between size stage, and the sizing really is spot on.

My favourite part of this pattern, other than the options, is the facing and back yoke combo. I am well aware that many newish sewers won't have met with a facing before. Many pdf patterns tend to use neck bindings, or elastic casings, or self lined bodices to eliminate the need for a facing. It you wanted to try a facing or the first time, this is the pattern to try one with. It is genius! And Kate talks you through important things step by step, like stay stitching, and understitching. Facings can sometimes be a little intimidating to beginners - if they are not done correctly and well, they can really make a top or a dress look bad. This one is really very very clever and straightforward. Because of the facing design, you end up with a really cute back yoke, which also acts as the opening to get the dress on and off. Just trust me. Its clever and perfect! This photo is one I whipped up for my neighbour to check the bigger sizes. She loved it.

I also sewed up one in corduroy to check first of all that the pattern stays true to size for thicker fabrics (it does) and to see if it is able to be used as a pinafore for cooler climates. It worked really really well.

My third dress I sewed up the circular shoulder frills - this is probably the hardest option in the pattern, just because hemming on curves can be a little tricky the first time you do it. But don't be put off by that, it is not hard at all, especially if you just do a rolled hem on the overlocker. Just practice on some scraps if you haven't done it before.

I used the geofabulous range from Maude Ashbury for this dress. I saw it months before its release and bought it as soon as I could. Like all good fabric, it has sat, hoarded, like a prize possession in the cupboard waiting for something worthy of it. I actually didn't know which fabric option to go with for my dress, I kept changing my mind because I knew it would look great in heaps, and this dress pattern is kind of like a blank canvas (my favourite type of pattern) - change the patterns and an option or two, and you will really change the look! I narrowed it down to some washi that a lovely friend sent to me and the geofabulous, and my friend Simone who has impeccable taste urged me to go with the geofabulous. It is perfect for this dress. Phew. So glad it wasn't wasted on something I didn't like.

I omitted the sash because Zoe whines about them at the moment, the ties at the back annoy her in her car seat, or if she has a nap and they dig into her back. I love it that I can leave it off in this pattern and it still fits and looks fabulous. I added the side pockets, which are nice and roomy and perfect for hands and treasures. I am pretty sure Kate is the pocket queen and I love her pocket options in all of her patterns.

The fit and length are spot on, and despite the fact that this may looks like it takes a bit of time to sew, you can whip it up very very quickly. This one took me around 40 mins, with the circular frills. So don't be put off, and give it a go.

There are more options you haven't seen on here. There is a mock belt that looks amazing and one of the testers added piping through all the seams, which created a mod retro look that I love. I love piping. It's not just for little girls, either, it's for big girls too.

I love it that the dress has an a-line shape to it, but is a little roomier that a straight a-line, because it gives plenty of room for playing and standing and sitting easily.

If a pattern comes with an AO file so that I can just take it to Officeworks, that is a major plus for me. And this one does. Kate's tutorials are thorough, and when you first see how many pages the file has, you may be a little shocked. The tutorial is designed to be read on a computer, phone or tablet whilst you sew, so that you don't have to print the instructions. This can be slightly annoying if you have to scroll back and forth between pages, but not in this one. There is a magic little finger you can tap, which will automatically take you where you need to go in the pattern. It's amazing!!!

I've also sewn up one with a knit fabric, which I haven't had time to photograph yet. But it looks great. I will write a pattern hack soon with the modifications I made to make it suitable for knits. By soon I may very well mean after Christmas at this rate…..but I will try for sooner.
So all in all, a pattern that allows you to create heaps of looks, in numerous fabric types, has a great sizing range, and instructions that will make you a better sewer is a must in your pdf collection. And if you don't sew, I'd love to make you one for that special girl in your life, so send me a message.
Don't forget to join the Pattern Emporium Sewing Circle to see all the fabulous creations!

And sorry or the small photos. I'm still working out how to get them bigger in here without increasing the file size too much.

Thanks for taking the time to read along,


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