Monday, January 7, 2013

Gretchen goes to Barbados - A Pattern Review

Ah, the first dress of the new year! For me this is the perfect way to start a fresh crafty year. Making a dress for my girl is one of my favorite things to do. I find that it centers me, inspires me and is ultimately very satisfying.

Just before the Holidays Pony girl and I were in my favorite local fabric shop, she pulled this pattern from the stacks and said, "Please Mama, will you make this?" How could I resist?
The pattern is "Gretchen" by Modkid.

I have seen Modkid patterns before, but never picked one up. When I use a pattern company that is new to me, I like to resist the urge to alter, modify and forge ahead in my own wild fashion. Instead I keep to the pattern faithfully (mostly) and carefully follow the pattern's own instructions so that I get a sense of the company overall. This makes it perfect for a review too!

First Impressions:
The Pattern Booklet is beautifully photographed with an "Inspiration Gallery" showing the variations and lovely fabric combos. The pattern itself is printed on good quality paper with clear cutting instructions.
I like a pattern that allows for a ton of variations, this pattern definitely fits the bill.

I decided to make view D without the bottom band. I do believe I must have been day dreaming about tropical locales and sunny beaches... perhaps The Caribbean with it's vibrant colors, maybe Barbados! I used Moda's Trade Winds fabric by Lily Ashbury, very bright and colorful! I decided to make the largest size 10. Pony Girl is an 8/9, but I like a little room to grow.

Work in Progress:
The instructions were very clear and thorough, illustrations of cutting lay out and sewing steps were helpful. There are a lot of pieces to this dress, so once I had them cut I kept them in organized piles for ease.

As I was working I found that the pattern drafting was excellent. Every piece came together perfectly and even the sleeve attachment was close to effortless - which is not often the case.

This is a straight forward pattern and quite simple really. There are no button holes, no zipper, and the block piecing makes it easy enough for a beginner with just a little experience.

The only things I did that were not a part of the original pattern instruction were 1. increase the width of the side ties to 1 1/2" and 2. top stitch around the neck opening. Purely for personal preference.

What I especially like about this pattern:
Cute! Endless variation possibilities.
The sleeve gathering on the long sleeve version, nice design detail.
Oversized pockets! You all know how much I love a handy dandy pocket.

Things to note:
There isn't any thing I dislike about this pattern, just some things to keep in mind.
Using quilting weight fabric as I did, makes this a pretty substantial garment due to the linings. For a more Summery dress, I think it would make up wonderfully in Seer Sucker or even a voile. This is a full cut dress, the waist is very wide and then cinches in with the side ties - this makes it easy to pull on and off over the head. The size 8 would have fit my girl much better in the shoulders and neckline, though I did find that the length on the size 10 to be just right. If you have a tallish girl (like I do) you might want to double check the length before cutting.

I often find that the back of a garment is my favorite, wonder why...

The Stats:
I spent a couple of hours tracing the pattern onto my own pattern paper and then cutting out the fabric.
All together the dress took about 5 hours of sewing time to complete.
Yes, I would make this dress again.

And most importantly, my girl loves it!


june at noon said...

My first thought was, "I did?" :)

She looks adorable, and the fabrics and colors just seem so Pony Girl!

Laura said...

Happy dress!

Flaming Nora said...

Umm umm!
Don't forget to check those pockets for sticky things that may bleed colours in to the rest of the wash!

Penny said...

This is too beautiful for words, your pony girl looks so vibrant and gorgeous and what a clever mama to make such a dress for her xox Penelope

harmony and rosie said...

Wow, that is certainly a dress to chase away the gloom (which is what we have here :( ). What a brilliant pattern review you just did there, and your beautiful stitching hasn't passed me by either. Lucky you, getting some dress making in so soon in the year, my sewing stuff is all in storage *sigh*
Hope alls well with you xox

vintage grey said...

Such a beautiful and sweet dress you made for you darling girl!! Love all the pretty colors!! Happy New Year! xo Heather

Gemma said...

Love the colours of this dress. So pretty

Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous! My three year old daughter is peering over my shoulder and now wants one. Never made a garment in my life, but it's so beautiful I my just give it a whirl :-)

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

Beautiful! Pony girl looks so pretty in her new dress. Thanks for the review, this year I plan to be more crafty than normal - making dresses for my girl is on the list.

Josie Crafter said...

Hi there Alex
Wow it is stunning - no wonder Pony Girl loves it!
I love the process pics and your review too. I love to see your sewing!
Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comments, I really appreciate them.
Happy days to you
Josie x

Josie Crafter said...

Hi there Alex
Wow it is stunning - no wonder Pony Girl loves it!
I love the process pics and your review too. I love to see your sewing!
Thanks for visiting my blog and your lovely comments, I really appreciate them.
Happy days to you
Josie x

Naturally Carol said...

This is a wonderful dress...I love the colours you've chosen which soften the geometrical design perfectly. Looks great too.

Annie Cholewa said...

I'm not surprised she liked it ... very her! And gloriously colourful ... what a joyful antidote to winter grey :D

I just wish my kids were still young enough to sew stuff like this for ... I'd be out there tracking a copy of the pattern down right now. Great review Alex :)

Anonymous said...

I like it very much
wishes from Germany