It felt like there was no time in my life to spend on pattern tours right now, but I decided to change my mind. When someone contacts me, says they spent the past 15 years working on costumes for the ballet, broadway, theatre, and circus, and they’ve just started making patterns for sale as a stay at home mom….I’m like eeeh I think I might make time for this! Erin, who just started up the Brooklyn Pattern Co, lives in (wait for it!) Brooklyn NY and now has two little ones to design clothes for.
Not that I don’t admire the blogger turned pattern makers who have done their research and made some great resources for us to use, but I think that fit and detail are kind of a nuanced art, and someone who has been doing this for a long time probably has some special skills to share with the world. So here I am. On the pattern tour!
Brooklyn Pattern Co : Franklin Dress
The Franklin dress is Erin’s first offering in the pattern shop, and is a sweet dress with puff sleeves, a pleated and curved button front bodice, knee length with pockets, and comes in a 6m-8y size range. The pattern gives you body measurements to use for sizing, which I always appreciate, having such skinny kids who are never in their official age range for size. Using Clover’s measurements (she’s 5 btw) I sewed her up a 3Y sized dress with a 6Y length and I think it came out just right.
Now here’s where I tell you that my photoshoot didn’t go so well……
When my sweet oldest child gets a notion in her mind that she’s going to be unhappy in a situation, there’s really no talking her out of it. And boy was she convinced that she didn’t want to be outside for photos on a day that was too dark to shoot indoors. She frowned, screamed, pouted, hid, and said she was cold. I begged and asked her to “do something princessy,” to which she responded with things like this one below……
And it’s too bad because she actually loves the dress. It suits her sense of style just right with the shape of the sleeves being fancy. As a side note, the pattern actually comes as a 3/4 sleeve but I knew her finely tuned sensory system wasn’t going to be having a 3/4 sleeve, so I asked her whether she wanted me to make the sleeves long but hard to get on under a sweater, or short and possibly also annoying to her senses. She said short. And I’m glad because they look really cute. I just used the sleeve from another pattern I have and like (Oliver and S Hide and Seek dress) and matched up the under arm seam to get the length where I wanted it.
Aren’t they cute? I think they are pretty dang cute. I think if I put elastic in the cuffs this would look like a Jane Austen dress, which would be even cuter. JANE AUSTEN, guys. Clover doesn’t even know about her yet, but when she does it will be all pride and prejudice all the time. I should start planning the vintage dances now.
The front of the dress is the opening side, and the buttons are supposed to be functioning, but mine actually aren’t right now. This delicate double gauze + the super annoying and finicky backup sewing machine I’m using right now seemed like a recipe for disaster when it came to buttonholes. Plus the pattern doesn’t call for interfacing where the buttonholes will be, and I felt like double gauze would be iffy without it. So I think I’ll put in a hook and eye or something. Velcro?
I opted to just sew the buttons onto the front and temporarily attach the sides with a safety pin. Which was probably a bad idea because she had a leotard on underneath the dress, and then had to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t get the dress off to take the leotard down and flipped the F out. Being 5 is hard. Being 28 is hard too though.
Ok, so how did the sewing go, you all want to know! I’m committed to honesty here, so I’m gonna say it was hit and miss for me. When it comes to the pattern pieces themselves, printing and assembling the PDF pages was great. She also includes notches on the pattern pieces, which is a professional touch that I appreciate. The lines for tracing the individual sizes were pretty hard for me to differentiate though, and I wound up just cutting the pattern straight from the printer paper pages I’d taped together, when normally I would trace onto separate paper and keep the original for other sizes.
The pattern instruction pages are clean and easy to read, and the diagrams are well done. But the pattern could definitely use some more diagrams for certain parts – like the pleating of the bodice – which had me pretty confused for a bit. I’m a very visual person, and did a lot of second guessing of myself while reading instructions for a few sections.
The good news is, that I gave Erin my feedback on the instructions, and she’s eager to make the pattern more user friendly. So she’s adding more detail to them. How cool is that?
So certain sections felt frustrating because I was confused and crunched for time with kids crawling all over me, and this double gauze was really starting to get pissed at me with all the pressing and basting and stitching and ripping and restitching that was happening. Double gauze was meant to be treated like a lady. Not a wrestler. It all held up though, and looks great now.
I have a double gauze shirt with tucks like this going down the front, and I like it so much that I knew this dress would turn out nice in my fabric choice. Plus, you can’t go wrong with double gauze.
This being Erin’s first pattern, I’m not surprised that there are some holes in the instructions. Learning how to translate what’s in your head into something everyone else can understand isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It all makes perfect sense when you’re reading your own technique back to yourself. And she’s really receptive to input from those of us who have less than 15 years experience in sewing. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with in the future! She seems to have a sophisticated but whimsical sense of style that I like.
I’ve personally requested that she work some of her circus experience into a pattern sometime. Because that would clearly be awesome.
Pattern: Franklin Dress by Brooklyn Pattern Co
Fabrics: Pink dot double gauze from Imagine Gnats shop, and Acorn Trail by Birch from Finch Sewing Studio (dudes, I’m obsessed with this Teagan White chick’s artwork after buying a children’s book illustrated by her and she DESIGNED this fabric! Clover thinks it’s great too and chose the print. And she tells me she wishes her name was Teagan now “because it’s more common than Clover”…..Um…Not really, babycakes)
Do any of you have any meltdown moments with your kids when you want to take photos?….or brush their teeth, or get them to eat a carrot or all the other things that make our little people cry?
Erin has offered a copy of the pattern as a giveaway in this rafflecopter below
Yep, there’s a giveaway! Go ahead and give it a whirl and maybe it’ll be your lucky day : )