There are so many kids’ clothing patterns out there. I mean so, so, so many. I get dizzy just thinking about it, so I usually just stick with the ones I know and trust – Oliver + S, Made by Rae, Make it Perfect. There are other good ones, of course, but I get nervous – sewing is such a huge time commitment, and I have no extra hours or patience for things to go wrong. So I tend not to stray. But when Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company contacted me and asked if I’d like to try her first pattern, the Franklin Dress, I have to say I was intrigued. She has a 15 year background as a patternmaker for Broadway, ballet, theater, and circus, so while she’s new to kids’ clothes, she’s certainly been around the pattern making block a few times. I decided the Franklin Dress was worth a shot, and I joined the tour.
I’m glad I did! The result is a sweet and simple dress with some really nice little details, like a pleated, button-up yoke, gathered sleeves, and side seam pockets. Sizes range from 6 months to 8 years. Lila fell into the size 4 range, but I chickened out and made a 5 – I think either size would’ve been fine.
I totally had my heart set on making this dress in baby wale corduroy, but I checked two local stores, and the color options were abysmal. I gave up and chose a Kaufman chambray shirting, this one I think. The shirting is soft and lightweight, and has a kind of sheen to it. I used the reverse for the bodice facings and pockets.
The trim at the hem is one of Anna Maria Horner’s new designs for Renaissance Ribbons – they have an amazing selection of ribbons by some really great designers, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use one.
Before I added the buttons or the ribbon, Lila was skeptical. Here I was thinking the chambray highlighted the pleats so nicely, and the best she could say was, “Hmmmm. It’s really…..this color.” Which I guess it totally was. Kind of dark, kind of plain. But hopefully the shiny pink buttons and the trim jazzed it up a little. A zinnia probably couldn’t hurt, either.
About sewing the pattern – my experience was really good overall. The dress came together without any hitches. Taping the PDF together was a breeze, and all the pattern pieces fit together just right. There were dots and notches, hallelujah! It was polished and professional, and I think the design and the fit are spot on.
I’d say there were a couple spots in the directions that were a little sparse, and a few places where an extra illustration would’ve been helpful. I made a few inferences, and they happened to work out just fine, but I could see where that could cause frustration. From Tara’s post it sounds like Erin is very receptive to filling in those gaps, which is so great.
And one thing the pattern didn’t say (but I would suggest) is to add interfacing beneath the buttonholes. My machine makes much prettier buttonholes with interfacing, and luckily I remembered to add a strip between the bodice and facing before turning the bodice right side out. And I’ll admit that I longed for buttonhole placement markings on the pattern pieces – I’m not a big fan of measuring and drawing them in myself because chances are I won’t place them correctly and I’ll have to rip out a buttonhole. Or two buttonholes, as the case may be.
BUT, like I said, everything came together quite nicely, and I love the end result. If you’re a fan, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway on Erin’s blog for a chance to win a copy of the Franklin Dress pattern. I’m really excited to see what Brooklyn Pattern Co. has in store for us next!