Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pattern Review: Madeline Knot Dress Pattern

Madeline Knot Dress Pattern
Sizes 0-12 months
Designer: Romeo and Mae
Pattern Type: Electronic, Adobe PDF
Sewing Level: Intermediate

Back in October I bought the Madeline Knot Dress pattern with the intention to make one for Adeline and several for the shop.  I have a friend whose daughter has the dress, so I know just how cute it is.  Once I received the pattern, I quickly got distracted by other projects—this was more for a lack of good fabric than for not liking the pattern.  It was always close to the top of my to-sew list though. 

Six months later I was at the fabric store and came across some beautiful voile.  Mind you, I was there to pick up interfacing for another project, not fabric.  The voile was on sale, and I knew as soon as I saw that it would be perfect for the Knot Dress. (The pattern suggests using three different fabrics, but I just stuck with two.

Side note: if you want tips for sewing voile see the Above All Fabric blog post and Anna Maria Horner’s blog post about their experiences with voile.  This post is not meant to be about voile though (although I think it is a really great fabric for clothing, especially for babies. My daughter loves feeling the texture!  Ahem, back on track…)

When I cut out the pattern, I decided to make two dresses.  I figured I could use the first for Adeline and put the second one in the shop.  That way I could work out the kinks in her dress!  There is quite a bit of measuring involved, and since I did the job downstairs talking with my husband, it took at least an hour to cut out all of the pieces.  I didn’t mind that though.  

Most of the steps are fairly straight-forward.  Sew one side to the other and make a few hems.  Not bad.  However toward the end of the instructions, there were a few places that were slightly confusing.  I think I figured them out fairly quickly, but at one point I had to spend 15 minutes ripping a seam—something I loathe doing with great intensity.  Please note: this was probably an equal part of me not paying close enough attention and the pattern being partially difficult to understand.  My mom probably would have had no problems with it.  

There are two “tips” I wish had been included in the pattern and the lack of these notes has kept me from considering this even an “advanced beginner” level tutorial.  The first is that when you baste your fabric with the idea of pulling threads to gather it, simply setting the top stitch on the longest setting is not enough.  You really need to loosen your tension as well.  If you are using voile (again off topic slightly), be sure you sew between those little bumps or your thread will get caught as you gather the fabric!

The other place I had a problem was sewing the gathered skirt to the top portion of the dress.  If you are making this pattern, be sure to use extra pins where the side seams match up or one of the seams will inevitably be off kilter on one side or the other.  

I noticed this after the first dress (Adeline’s version!) and tried to use an extra pin or two, but I still have about a ½-inch difference in the seams on one side of the second dress.  It is so frustrating to have such a beautiful dress with one little (albeit significant if you’re selling something!) mistake.  Use lots of pins!!  

Sewing both dresses took me about 4.5 hours total (remember one hour was spent cutting pieces; it shouldn't take that long if you're able to focus!)  I would guess that to make this dress one time through could easily take 3 hours the first time and then 2.5 or just under once you really know what you are doing.  Even with the mis-matched side seams, I really like this and am looking forward to my daughter being able to wear it (I made a size 12 months).  The sizing is pretty accurate with this pattern.

I will probably not be making many of these for the shop any time soon due to the amount of time they take to sew.  I really like this dress though so I could see myself making one again in the near future with another fabric.

To purchase this pattern, go to Romeo and Mae's shop
To purchase a complete dress, email irene design

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