***Thank You to Whimsical Fabric for sponsoring this post!!! All fabrics on Mack are from the Art Gallery Petal and Plume and Sweet as Honey lines that are both currently available at Whimsical Fabric. You can grab these fabrics and other beauties at 15% off with this exclusive discount code: Rompergate2015 (offer good through Tuesday 3/31).****
As we look at planning a collection of clothing for our kids over the next few weeks, you will be faced with many decisions about patterns. It is quite normal for designers to have similar patterns in their repertoires, or even to release a similar pattern at the same time. It is merely a response to supply and demand, and giving customers what they are begging for. But as the consumer, it can be difficult to figure out which to buy when two amazing designers have similar patterns. You are choosing between 'good' and 'good', so you have to figure out what the important things are to you in a pattern and buy accordingly.
Today we will be taking a look at the two most recent and adorable rompers to hit the PDF scene - the Lily by Made for Mermaids, and the Haven by Violette Field Threads. Now when these two beauties hit the internet, there was quite an uproar of 'who copied who?' I can assure you that the answer is neither. Both designers had multiple people ask for a pattern, both designers got to work with no idea that the other was also working on a similar design. And in the end, both designers turned out fabulous patterns that you will be happy to sew.
At first glance, these patterns look very similar. They both contain options for rompers and dresses, they both include lace attached to straps, and a similar construction of neck ties that feed through the back straps. But my friends, there are quite a few differences as well!!!
First, let's just look at the patterns:
You can see that each designer has different things that they include in their patterns. To me, this is a clear place to start in picking out a pattern to buy. Are line drawings a must? How about body measurements? Size range? None of these individual items make a pattern good or bad, but it is useful information to know - because only you know what you like.
Now let's take a look at the included options for each pattern:
- Shorts with gathered leg
- Pantaloons with gathered leg and trim
- Optional Sash with belt loops
- Modest wrap around bodice or regular bib bodice
- Snap crotch option
- Shorts with cuff or bubble hem
- Skirt in Top length, dress length, or Maxi length
- Optional Sewn in Sash
- Snap crotch option
- optional lined bodice instructions
That is a ton of options in each pattern!!!! Once again, you simply look for which pattern includes the options that you most want.
Now that we have looked at the basics of each pattern, let take a deeper look at what makes these different. For me this is all in the instructions, construction, and finishing. For two such similar patterns, they could not be put together in a different way! Both sets of instructions are clear and easy to follow with images to help you each step of the way. While the construction order differs there are some things (like sewing the shorts) that are obviously done in a similar manner. The differences truly show in the finishing.
Some big differences:
The first difference which is obvious in the pictures, is that the straps of the back are different sizes. The straps also attach in slightly different places on the back of the shorts. I personally like both and didn't find much of a difference in back fit between VFT's wider shorter strap, and M4M's longer narrower strap. So this just goes to your aesthetic.
The second difference is in the back waistband and elastic. The Haven has a fully lined waist band that you insert elastic from strap to strap along the back (not side to side). This means that you are top stitching in the middle of the band. I honestly wasn't sure I was going to like this...but when I put it on, that stitching just disappears in the gathers of the back - sweet. The Lily on the other hand has only a back casing, this makes inserting the elastic easy and leaves the option for using button hole elastic to adjust the fit (great if you are selling), but you do end up seeing more serged edges on the inside. This is a total tie for me, I liked the fit of both and it felt fun to try some new things.
The third difference is the sash. The Haven has a separate sash that has a main side and a lining side - super fun if you want to use two fabrics in your sash. You can add belt loops to hold you sash in place, or leave them off so the romper can be worn without the sash as well. The ends are finished square, and it was long enough to wrap twice and still tie in a small bow. The Lily sash is made of one fabric folded in half and attached into the side seams of the waist band during construction. The ends are finished on the diagonal and I was able to wrap the sash around Mack's back and then around to the front to tie leaving a large bow with tails.
I tried hard in making these two patterns to keep the options I chose as similar as possible. The only different choice is the leg finish - the Haven has the elastic casing, and the Lily has the leg cuffs. The Lily does include a quick explanation for doing an alternate elastic casing or shirring on the leg, but I wanted to stay truer to what I thought was the original design of the pattern - and hey, cuffs are cute!
The last difference I want to highlight is the cut of the front. Mack is barrel chested and broad shouldered, so I wasn't quite sure which cut would fit her best. Based on the sizing charts given from both designers I ended up with a 6 width and 5 shorts length in both patterns. Their sizing charts are slightly different, so make sure you double check the charts - the Lily includes specific instructions on combining sizes to get a great fit. The cut of the Haven has a higher curved neckline, and the Lily is slightly lower and straight across. Both bodices fit her great, the Haven is probably just a hair more fitted on her because of that higher neck. I realize that the Lily looks like it is buckling a tad in the front, and that is my fault - I put it on, had it all adjusted right (and it fits PERFECTLY), put Mack on the backdrop for pictures, and the first thing she did was roll around. I didn't notice until I was editing that the roll on the floor made the waist band shift up slightly making the bib look just a touch too long.
As you can see - she loves them, and I am sure I will be making more versions of both over the course of the summer!
Kara and Melissa have also sewn up both patterns to show you some of the differences between them: