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!


  1. Thanks so much for your honest review Sopo! I agree, we all need to be sure we're giving a fair evaluation so other people can rely on our opinions. I love this version and seeing it in action standing up to everyday play in the gorgeous settings is perfect! Thanks again for joining the fun!

    1. It's been so much fun to be part of the pattern tour! There are some amazing Matinee versions on the tour, they are so inspiring! Can't wait to have my sewing space organized and running again to try a knit and a color blocked dresses or tops!

  2. That is darling! I love the bows in the back! I always appreciate an honest review. =) I've noticed that if I keep the chest on kid's clothes fairly fitted but add just half an inch to the waist it doesn't ride up as much. Back darts and widening the front bodice at the waist also help.

    1. Thanks! Hmmm... Your suggestions definitely make sense, I'll try adding half an inch at the waist next time, it shouldn't change the design and would be great if it solved the problem. Thanks!!

  3. How did you create that beautiful picture with the leggings. I love the background texture with the clear photos of your daughter. Please share as I'm learning how to take better pictures.
    Deborah Devine
    Sew Much To Give

    1. Thank you! I love to experiment with photoshop, it's especially helpful whenever I have a make-it-work situation, as I did here. That last photo was taken at a different time at a different location with bright green background of shrubs, trees and grass, totally out of context with the beach photos. That's why I did what I did, I'll try to explain in short here: -duplicate the layer, -add texture through filters option in photoshop to the new layer, - add a mask, -using your mask, reveal background from textured layer and reveal subject from the original clear layer. I hope this makes sense. If you're relatively new to photoshop, it will be very helpful to watch youtube tutorials on layers and masks. Hope this helps...

  4. Hello from England! I have just found your blog via MakeItLoveIt - how timely, too, as I am (this week) about to carry out my first ever pattern review, and bizaarely, also making a dress for my 4 year old. I admire your honest approach - I hope to do the same, as I agree with what you've said about some reviews being a bit of a light touch. Your finished garment is lovely - and it looks like your daughter is enjoying herself on the beach. The sight of my little girls (I have four!) running around on the beach is one of my all time favourite things. Can't wait to go to the seaside again this summer...

    1. I took this post way too seriously, drafting and redrafting a gazillion times, hopefully it will be useful for anybody who's considering buying this pattern... good luck with your post!! And I'm interested to see what you're making for your 4 year old, it's such a fun time to sew for them!

  5. Love that the dress is a refashion! Love how it turned out & love your photos too!

  6. THAT is a great combination of fabric and pattern. Really sings. Thanks for linking up with Inspire Us Thursdays!

  7. This is gorgeous! love the fabric combo and the tiered skirt. the bows are super cute too!

  8. This is so pretty! I just love it. And so neat inside!