Today we take a look at the adorable Matinee Dress by Jennuine Design. Read through to see all the details about this dress and to see how adorable the two versions Melissa made for her girls are.
Also, Don't miss out on the coupon code for Little Red Cottage on Etsy. Use coupon code PATTERN for 20% off your order. No minimum purchase required. The coupon code is good until 5/31/14 and can be used as many times as you would like before it expires!!!!
Hello all. It's Melissa here from Emby Designs. Today I am reviewing the Matinee Dress & Peplum Top by Jennuine Design, found HERE. I had been eyeing this pattern already so I was happy to get to sew it up and review it. I was not familiar with this designer before this and I love the chance to get to test out new (whether they are actually new or just new to me) designers. I am super pleased with the results from this pattern. I opted to make the peplum top style, and made one for each of my girls. This adorable blossom fabric and the polka dots fabric are both from Joann.
First, all the details:
- sizes 12 months to 8 years
- dress or top length
- sleeveless or cap sleeves
- option inseam pockets for the dress
- optional contrasting hem band on dress
- sizing chart included (in. and cm.)
- directions on blending sizes for a perfect fit
- fabric requirement chart (with in./cm. and yd./M)
- cutting chart for skirt pieces (in. and cm.)
- 9 pattern pages set up with layers so you can print just the size you need
- pattern pieces are color coded by size AND each size has a different line style
- cutting layout
- glossary of terms
- seam allowances included
- seams are finished and skirt portion is enclosed
- directions on when to topstitch
- clear step by step instructions with line drawn, color coded images
Whew, okay, I think that covers the "business" end of it all. Now let's have fun talking about it! First up is printing out the pattern. There are 9 pages technically, but the last page is the size key. Well, with this pattern you really don't need to print that key out because she has made it SUPER easy for you. First, the pattern piece pages are set up with layers in Adobe Reader. Are you familiar with those? If not, they are really awesome. You are able to pick and choose exactly which size you want to print and ONLY those lines will show. So if you hate having to print and then trace and then cut you can completely avoid that here. Simply pick your size and just print it. She includes directions on how to use this function. Would you rather save on the printer paper and print out one master copy of all the sizes and then trace the size you need on your tracing paper? Not to worry, that's been made super easy, too! The pattern is color coded, so each size has its own color. What's that you say? You don't like having to print in color? Guess what, that's okay, too! Not only are the sizes color coded, but all the lines are also labeled AND each size has it's own line style. Seriously, she has you covered here. I don't know any way she could have made it any better for you. No matter your preference when it comes to printing/tracing, you are set with this pattern. Now let's talk a little more about those actual pattern pieces. She has done something that I really like to see in patterns. Each pattern piece has all of the following on it: designer name, pattern name, pattern piece name, cutting instructions (including when it should be mirror images), grainline and seam allowance. I mean really, the only way I think this could be more user friendly is if she came and sewed it up for you. See, I don't know about you ladies, but on more than one occasion I have printed out multiple patterns at once. That's all well and good...unless your little one decides to "help" by bringing you the pages you have just printed only to drop them along the way and mix the pages all up. Yeah, trying to get all the pages sorted correctly by which pattern they belong with and in order is NOT easy if each page/piece isn't labeled. Or how about when you are cutting multiple patterns out at the same time and your pattern pieces get knocked on the floor and mixed up. Yep, these will be easy to locate and not mix up with another pattern. Okay, okay, enough with this you say, on to the sewing part. I was just very impressed with the pattern pieces and printing options and wanted to be sure to share that with you. On to the sewing we go...
I've been making lots of dresses for my girls lately, so I wanted to try the top version of this one and I really like it. Let me say right up front also that I intentionally went with a little larger of a size on the bodice for both of my girls. That is why they have some gaping in the back instead of being snug and also why the strap has two buttons in the back. Let's face it, the kiddos grow like weeds which means they outgrow their clothes fast...faster than we like! So even though they are loose in the back, the style of this top still offers adequate coverage in the right places and I know they will get lots of wear out of them because they have room to grow. (I also think they could totally wear this in the fall with a long sleeve white tee underneath.) By all means though, if you don't want that be sure to check your child's measurements against the chart included and pick your size accordingly, blending sizes if need be.
The bodice of this top (or your dress) is fully lined as you can see here:
The peplum "skirt" seam (or skirt seam of your dress) is enclosed in the bottom of the bodice. There are clear, easy to follow directions on how to do this. The only thing I would add here is my own little tip. I like to use Wonder Under (or Stitch Witchery) when enclosing that seam instead of pinning. So when you are ready to sew down that bodice lining to hide the skirt seam instead of pinning everything into place I head over to my ironing board with Wonder Under in hand. I place a strip of Wonder Under (I use the 1/4" size) in between the skirt seam and the bodice lining and press well with my iron to secure the pieces together. This helps to avoid shifting when you go to topstitch and if you happen to not catch some of that lining in your topstitch, well you don't have to worry about it going anywhere because it's held together by the Wonder Under. That's just the way that works best for me, because well...I hate pins...so I wanted to share in case it can make things easier for anyone else.
As you can see I opted to add a little trim to the bottom of these tops. This isn't included in the pattern, but is super easy to do. The trim is some cute red lace I picked up from Hobby Lobby. All I did was serge the raw bottom edge of the peplum skirt portion. Then I placed my lace right sides together with my peplum, lining up edges, and stitched roughly 1/4" from the edge. Next I turned under the seam I had just created and I top stitched above that seamline (on the peplum part) to hold the seam and lace in place. This did result in my peplum being slightly longer than it would have been had I hemmed as the pattern called for, but I needed that. (You'll read why in just a minute.) It wasn't part of my original plan, but I love how it turned out. Wanna know a little secret? I also put pockets in the peplum of these tops. The pattern is written for them to just be used on the dress, but my girls are suckers for a pocket so I decided what the heck. Now, in order to make it work with the dimensions given in the pattern for the peplum skirt, I had to cut my pocket pieces down a few sizes so that they wouldn't hang lower than the bottom hemline. They were very close and that's why I opted to throw in the red lace at the bottom (and why that little extra length I mentioned above was needed). Sometimes these little accidents result in a super cute addition! Having to cut down the pockets did end up making the opening somewhat of a snug fit for my girls' hands, but they still work just fine. If I do it again I will play around with the pocket a little and blend sizes instead of simply cutting a complete smaller size so that the opening won't be a little snug. In fact, I might even just make the peplum a tad longer as well because it wouldn't need a ton of length added. That way even less adjusting would be required for the pockets. Oh, and while we are talking pockets, there was one part of the pattern that I wasn't crazy about the order of some steps. The pattern has you sew the pockets onto the skirt pieces (after finishing the raw edges of the side of the skirt pieces), sew the skirt pieces and pockets together and THEN seam finish the raw edges of the pockets. Doing it this way actually still leaves the edge of the pocket that is lined up with the edge of the skirt unfinished and trying to get around the curve of the pocket with the serger was a major pain for me. Now having that small edge being unfinished isn't a huge deal because it is underneath the side edge of the skirt, but I don't like knowing I have an unfinished edge there and I don't want to deal with any fraying. If that would bug you, too, and/or you don't want to deal with serging those curved edges of the pocket when already attached to the skirt then I would suggest serging all your pocket edges FIRST before attaching them to the skirt pieces. I will do it this way next time.
The back on this top (or dress) is just to die for. It is so cute! As I said before, I could have easily gone with a smaller size in the bodice. But the way the bodice is made with the strap that buttons in the back everything that needs to be covered is covered and there is still plenty of room to grow and to even layer in the fall. One adjustment that I WILL make to the bodice next time is shortening it just a little. The bottom of the bodice comes down a little too far onto my girls' hips which does make it gape a little more than it otherwise would. I didn't make that adjustment here because I would have needed to cut all new pieces. You wouldn't want to simply cut from the bottom of the bodice. I mean, I guess you COULD do it that way, but you would end up with a much narrower area where it buttons together at the waist. For me, this would have resulted in only having room for 1 button (using these same buttons). I like the width for 2 buttons so next time I will cut the same width on the bodice pieces, but I will cut the length of a smaller size. When you do this on the back pieces you are not only taking from the bottom, but the curve is moving up as well so you aren't losing any of that width in the button area. You can see in this picture below how it wants to get hung up on my oldest's hips since she has more shape to her.
I got these cute little buttons from Michele of Little Red Cottage on Etsy. She is super sweet and has a variety of buttons (and trims). I don't know about you ladies, but I love buttons! And guess what? I talked with Michele and she is offering up a coupon code for us. How awesome is that? Pretty great I'd say. I would guess about 95% of my button collection is from her. So head on over to her shop and use coupon code PATTERN for 20% off your order. No minimum purchase required. The coupon code is good until 5/31/14 AND can be used as many times as you like!! If that's not some incentive to do some button/trim shopping I don't know what is. So go on ladies, let's show Michele some love :)
I really enjoyed sewing this up for my girls and am really impressed with the pattern. I would definitely recommend this. I would say it is an intermediate level pattern, mostly because I know buttonholes scare many. As for sewing time, well I never get to sit down and work on a project start to finish without interruptions, but I am going to guesstimate maybe 3-4 hours total on these two from taping the pattern together to sewing the last button on. I look forward to using this pattern again both as a top and a dress.
I hope you enjoyed this review and I covered any questions you might have. I will leave you with a few more photos of my girls in their tops.