Recently, I was contacted by Erin, the designer behind Brooklyn Pattern Company, to review her debut pattern. Erin had worked as a pattern maker and draper for 15 years on Broadway, and in the ballet, theater and circus. After the birth of her second child, she launched her new indie sewing pattern company and the Franklin Dress for kids is her first pattern.
I have to admit, when I first got the email from Erin, I was hesitant to accept the offer. I’m all about promoting indie designers, but I’ve sewn patterns from many people and companies, and some of them are just not very good and have been frustrating to sew (and blog about). So knowing that this was her first pattern, I was worried about the quality and that I may not have a positive experience. But I liked the style of the dress and after taking a look at her website, (I was drawn to the clean design), and skimming through her professional looking pattern, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad that I did! It turned out to be a fun project that gave me just the break I needed from my crazy Halloween costume to do list.
The Franklin Dress comes in sizes 6 months – 8 years. The pattern features a pleated yoke, gathered sleeves and pockets. It’s really a simple and classic design, but cute and modern depending on your fabric choice. I went with a solid shirting that I bought awhile back at Mood. It was supposed to be for a top for me, but it’s been sitting in my stash for long enough that I figured I might as well use it for something.
I made the dress in the smallest size, 6M, but unfortunately, it’s still too big for petite little Kaya, so I’m liking this garment on the hanger more than on the model. The chest measurement for 6M is 19 inches and Kaya is about 18, so I knew it would be a little roomy, but it’s even more roomy than I thought. I know that Kaya will grow into it eventually, but if you’re thinking about making this dress for your baby, make sure their chest is at least 19 inches! Though I love the overall design of this dress, I’m afraid the bagginess and maybe my fabric choice is making this dress look a little nightgown-ish on Kaya. I have some ideas for alterations, but more on that later!
The pattern itself is great. I love the look of the instruction booklet. It has clean and clear illustrations, charts, and helpful information to get you started. The pattern printed and taped together smoothly. The pattern pieces are well graded and have notches and markings for the gathers, pleats, and pocket placement, which are things I look for in a professional quality pattern.
My only complaint about the pattern is that, for my personal taste, it could use more diagrams and directions in a few places. It doesn’t walk you through each step as thoroughly as an Oliver + S pattern does, for example. But if you’re a pretty experienced seamstress or are used to minimal directions (like Figgy’s patterns), you’ll be totally fine.
Here are a couple of notes/things I did differently:
– To make the pleats, it says to “thread mark” the pleat and center fold lines, but I’m not entirely sure what that meant. I tried basting the lines and doing it that way, but things just got messy. So instead, I marked the lines on the RIGHT side of the fabric with a fabric marking pen (disappearing ink) and pressed and stitched the pleats that way. It was simpler for me.
– I recommend interfacing the placket. I think it’s helpful any time you are making buttonholes on light/medium weight fabric. Use a 1 inch strip of fusible and place it 1/2 an inch from the edge on both front facing pieces.
– It doesn’t mention it in the pattern, but be sure to finish your seam after attaching the yoke to the skirt (both front and back), before top stitching it down along the yoke.
– For the 6M size, I found that the directions to determine buttonhole placement didn’t work – they ended up too close together. So I made up my own. It would be nice if the pattern had button hole placement for each size already marked on the pattern. Maybe a note for the next pattern? 🙂
– I also accidentally switched which way the placket crosses over in the front. Not sure how I messed that up, but I didn’t notice until after I had sewn the yoke to the skirt. Oops. I also need to resew that bottom button because the placement is off and making the placket look all wobbly. Grrr . . .
Clearly, Kaya has a few more months before she can wear this dress. The only pattern modification I made was to shorten the hem by 1 inch. I wanted it to be more of a tunic length than a dress, but it could loose a couple more inches of length if it’s going to be a tunic. I’m thinking of adding some pintuck pleats just above the hem to shorten it more and add some interest along the bottom, though I’m not sure how that will work out with the slightly curved hem.
The other issue that I’m having with this dress is the sleeves. I think that something about the length and the gathers is also adding to the “nightgown” look. I really like this flutter sleeve version and Tara’s short sleeve version, so I’m considering altering the sleeves somehow . . .
I really like this pattern! I already know that I need to make a flutter sleeve version next spring. And definitely check out Brooklyn Pattern Co. – if her future patterns are of the same quality and style as her first, I’d say she’s going to be quite successful!
I’m actually the last stop on the pattern tour, so you can already check out all the other versions that have been made before mine! Head over to the Brooklyn Pattern Co. blog for links to all of the other stops. AND if you want to win a copy of the pattern, click HERE!
*I was provided a copy of this pattern, but all opinions are 100% my own!*
It’s kind of crazy that I stopped in the middle of Halloween costume production to make this dress, but it’s the only thing I have to show for Kids Clothes Week this time around. I SERIOUSLY underestimated how long Yuki’s costume was going to take. I’m still working on it, but I’m excited about how it’s coming along (after MANY MANY fails and frustrations). Only one week left till Halloween!! How’s your sewing going??
I saw this on another blog in a viole….
I thought it looked like a nightgown in that fabric, too. Unfortunately, I think that might be just….. The way it’s designed. it doesn’t look to have any real shape at all… I do love the details… The pintucking, the gentle gathers across the bodice…
But it just looks like a nightgown to me….
It’s so strange, because when I saw the samples (http://www.brooklynpatterns.com/shop/franklin-dress) I didn’t think “nightgown” at all! I think it has to do with the fabric choice? And the way it’s styled? I’m not sure.
I think it’s cute! Maybe paired with some skinny jeans when she gets a little bigger?
i’m with you cherie, i didn’t think night gown from the samples at all! and i actually don’t think this one looks like a nightgown either. there’s room to grow, definitely, but she’s adorable in it! can’t wait to see your costumes 🙂
I like the pleats on front yoke but regarding the sleeves I prefer less gather. If I have this pattern, I’ll consider to alter it too. I haven’t started Totoro costume, lack of material white fleece and my sewing is jammed! 🙂
love your choice of the shirting for this dress – really suits the style. It’s nice to have something tucked away in the closet for Kaya to grow into:) Thanks for taking the chance and reviewing this new pattern company – it will be fun to watch what comes from it!
I quite like that its a little baggy. It looks roomy and comfortable and really trendy. Defonatley pair it with some black leggings.
It’s pretty darn adorable, Cherie! I think in the end it might just be a bit too big on her? Haha I think Em’s chest measurement was 19″ when she was 3. Totally think this will be even cuter next fall with leggings once she grows into it a bit, but it’s super cute now too. 😉