Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Matinée Dress and Peplum Top Pattern Tour

My definition of happiness:
--- this little girl - in a gorgeous little dress - playing with the waves - so happy & carefree ---

N's definition of happiness:
--- running, playing with the waves, jumping, being comfortable, running, playing in the sand, jumping ---

Shooting these photos has been pure happiness for both of us.

So many 'first-times' in this post: 
first time photographing this spectacular scenery, first time participating in a blog tour, 
first time presenting a dress that isn't hot off the sewing machine.... unbelievable!

I've been given an honor to participate in the Matinée Dress and Peplum Top Pattern Tour!
The pattern is designed by Jenn of A Jennuine Life & Jennuine Design Pattern Shop
Such a unique little dress!

But before I go into details of this pattern, a little side note is due:

This is the first time I'm officially reviewing and promoting a pattern online.
I'm a self taught sewist (I've noticed this is a word now, so I'm gonna go ahead and use it). 
I started to sew when my daughter was born and have learned everything I know from store bought patterns and online tutorials. There are no words for how much appreciation I have for those people who spend time and effort to create tutorials and provide advice to all of us for free. 

I don't self-indulge myself on lots of patterns, but whenever I do, I want to be sure it will produce a  well fitted garment. So I search for reviews. And for the most part, these reviews, especially the ones with photos, provide insightful feedback as well as inspiration. 

However, it is hart to not notice that overwhelming number of pattern reviews out there are mere appraisals. Very seldom, if at all, I've found reviews that point out flaws and problems of a pattern. Problems with instructions are easy to bury, but flaws with the fit - not so much. So when I see an obviously ill-fitted garment with the caption of a gushing praise, it saddens me.

So I plan to be honest and sincere about my experiences with any pattern I review, and I hope my feedback will be useful for the sewists just like me who depend on online reviews to make up their minds about purchasing a pattern.

Phew.... wasn't so 'little' after all... now back to the business!

 I absolutely love the silhouette of Matinée dress. It is so different from most other little girl dress patterns. 
N has lost her toddler belly not too long ago, so the fitted dropped waist looks adorable on her.
However, if I was sewing this same pattern last year, when she was wider at her belly, I would have thought twice.. and if I did go ahead with the pattern, I'd try the looser fit for sure.

If you look at my other sewing projects, you'll notice that I love a fitted garment vs. a loose or over-sized one, even if it means she'll wear it only during one season. But one problem I've noticed with the patterns I've drafted myself before and now with Matinée as well, is that when a bodice is fitted, it will often bunch up at the chest when she's sitting and wiggling a lot. I wonder what could be the reason and if that could be avoided without compromising the fitted part.
Either way, if that's the price I have to pay for a fitted garment... I'm ready to do so.

Matinée Dress passed many tests N has put it through – building sand castles, rolling on the beach, blowing out birthday candles, and posing for birthday photos. 
I’m happy to announce that this dress is as comfortable as it is gorgeous!

For this project, I upcycled my own dress that I never wore.
I loved the fabric and thought it would go nicely with Matinée.

I knew I wanted two layers of ruffles, yet I was limited in terms of fabric, so I made it quite short.
And I love it! I love this proportion of skirt in relation to the bodice. Personally, I LOVE short skirts on little girls and this is no exception. It looks absolutely adorable on the beach over some bloomers.

I adjusted the width of the shoulder when cutting my fabric, I probably subtracted 
about an inch at the top but left the underarm part intact.
But enough about shoulders and skirts, the best part about this dress is the back!

For this version, I raised the scoop by 6 inches mostly because I had fallen in love with the very first Matinée (see here; also featured on the pattern cover) and it seemed to me the scoop was shorter on that one (Jenn explained that the overall torso length on that version may have been a little shorter). 
For closure, I used three snaps instead of two buttons.
Instead of a sash, I added two bows that hide two additional snaps inside the loops (in other words, there is no tying necessary). 
Quite ingenious, if i may say so myself... I felt pretty proud when I came up with this closure!

  N is a slim and tall 4 year old.
Her measurements placed her in two different sizes: 2T width and 4T length.
I followed the recommendations and blended these two sizes easily; the fit turned out perfect.

Instructions were very clear, yet the best part was the graphic illustrations (vs. photographs) with all their simplicity and clarity. I wish more patterns were this way. 
And you should see the dress from inside out - it is just as clean and pretty!

N has worn this dress a lot already, and I know it will be loved dearly throughout this summer.

Finally, I wanted to show the versatility of my Matinée by pairing it with leggings. 
I think it looks just as adorable!

Be sure to check out other participants of the pattern tour to see some amazing versions of
Matinée Dress and Peplum Top Pattern!

If you want to sew your own Matinée, you need to grab the pattern here now, because Jenn is having a 20% off sale during the tour with the code "matineetour20".

And more good news! 
You have a chance to enter and win some amazing prizes, just use the raffle copter below!