Friday, July 11, 2014

First Day Dress and Top Pattern Review

Today, I am excited to share a new pattern with you called First Day Dress designed by danamadeit. (I hope you like orange, because what follows is a ton of orange flowered photos!)
The downloadable pattern features 5 style options, each made with or without sleeves. I chose the summery sleeveless peplum top to try out this cute pattern. The fabric is Sunnydays by Kate Spain, which I had on hand.
All of the style options are lined. I chose to do a half lining for this first try. A Briar Rose print by Heather Ross made the perfect combo for the lining.
The peplum style is so flattering and Lula couldn't wait to try it out! (That's a disc golf game she's leaning on in case you are wondering what in the world it is!)
Really, the style is just as darling viewed from the back as it is from the front!
There are 46 pages to this pattern set so it take a little while to print it all off. Printed on regular 8"x11" paper, the pattern pieces are made to be taped together and cut out for whatever size you are going to sew. 
 At $10, the pattern includes sizes 2 through 10 and has lots of how-to photos plus very detailed and clear instructions. After you download the pattern, you can go back and print off just the pieces you need for whatever view you are wanting to make. I found a clear plastic bag to store the pattern pieces and a notebook to hold the instructions.
According to the size chart, Lula, who just turned six, measured at a size 4. I couldn't bring myself to sew that small of a pattern for her, so settled on the size 5.There were only 2 pattern pieces for the peplum top so cutting it out went quickly. The lining technique used was different from anything I've lined before. Instructions called for pressing under 3/8" all around the armholes on both the outer fabric and lining. Thinking that it might lend a more professional result, I first sewed 3/8" from the edge to create a fold line. 
I would definitely recommend that added step as the edges folded in like magic, as I'd hoped, and topstitching the lining and top together at the armhole made for a nice finish. 
One other change that I made was to create my own button loop using a 1" bias strip of fabric and folding the raw edges into the inside. (The pattern calls for using elastic cord, which I didn't have and am not fond of.) 
Just be sure that you cut the fabric loop long enough to go around the button you choose. I found a fun antique button in my collection to dress up the back.
Okay, here's where I get to the disappointment part of this adorable pattern. The fit. I wondered as I was cutting out the pattern just how it was going to work to use the same pattern piece for both the front and the back of the top. As you can see in the photo below, indeed, maybe it didn't work very well at all.
 The neckline in the front is very high. So high, in fact, that Lula immediately began tugging on the top to pull it down from around her neck. She is very slender, so a larger boned child would be even more uncomfortable, perhaps.
 Also, the armhole openings hike up at the top on Lula. I'm so thankful that I chose to make the larger size or it would not have fit at all.
When I make the pattern again, besides cutting the front neck opening larger, I will also make the back opening slit longer. Lula had a bit of a struggle getting the fitted top over her head and down over her arms.
 The top could also stand to be a little longer, but then Lula is also tall for her age. I will definitely be using the size 6 or even 7 the next time I sew up this style.
Although disappointed with the fit, Lula and I both liked the top and think it is worth it to keep tweaking it till we get the shape right. We are anxious to try one of the dresses next. Doesn't Felicity looked cute in her matching tunic! (For Lula's birthday, we took Felicity to the beauty shop in the American Girl Store for a new hair do. Fancy, huh!! Felicity, a retired American Girl Doll, was purchased for $3.99 at a thrift store last month. What a find!)
Well, after all of this "fitting of the top" stuff, we decided to have Jane try it on for size. Jane, who will be four in August, is small for her age. You can see that the proportions of the size 5 are all wrong on Jane, but the neckline fits great.
Pearl..........doesn't really care a hoot about what fits who!!
Have a happy weekend! Hope it includes sewing.


  1. Omygosh! Grandie cuteness overload!!! All that ginger goodness coupled with the wonderful orange!!! The top is adorable on your girls...keep tweaking! And what a treat to have both Pearl and her mother make an appearance :) Such adorable-ness :) (apologies for all the gushing!)

  2. You did a beautiful job of this sweet top! What a disappointment about the fit though. The front looks like it is sitting much higher that than the back too! Would some darts in the front help? And what a gorgeous little girl Pearl is?! She seems quite different to the other two?

  3. I do love that pattern. Thank you for an honest assessment of it. Wish I had some grand girls to sew for when I see this, but alas, only boys here. Your fabric choices are wonderful.

  4. What a cute pattern and cute models.

  5. I always love the cuteness overload of your grand-daughters. Matching tops for Lula and Felicity: brilliant!

  6. Darling, Carla. Your pattern review is excellent, and will be so helpful to anyone else who might have the fun of sewing for sweet little girls. Lula, Jane and Pearl will keep you at your sewing machine for years to come!