Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lulu Dress Testing - New Pattern from Craftiness Is Not Optional

Just over a week ago, I was super excited to be chosen to test a new pattern from one of my favorite sewing mama bloggers, Craftiness Is Not Optional. Jessica's new Lulu Dress pattern is so awesome for the little girls! You should definitely check out her three darling daughters, wearing their adorable Lulu combos. I had so much fun making my first sample, I volunteered to test another size, too!

We were on a tight deadline, but I ran to the store for some new fabric because I didn't think my stash was quite right. But then I decided I wanted to give the pattern a trial run before I cut into my pretty new stuff, so I squeezed a dress out of some of my trusty pink stripes.
The pattern is really quick and easy to whip up. Everything works together nicely and turns out really great-looking results. There are lots of fun options, too, like shirt and skirt pockets, a faux placket, and a dress or top length. You can do an all-knit version, or knit on the top and woven on the bottom. If you're nervous about working with knits, there's lots of great advice out there on the blog-o-webs to help you build up your confidence (like this and this and this). Bust out your walking foot (on the sewing machine!) and use a zig-zag stitch meant for stretch, and you'll be all set!

I was asked to test the 2T size, and I started with the sleeveless top version. Ivy is 16 months old and is just getting into the 18-24month size, so I figured it would be a bit big on her. It was actually huge, like falling off the shoulders. But it looked like it would fit Alice perfectly, and it did! Alice is turning 4 any day now, and is solidly in the 4T size. She's average height, and a bit below average weight. I'm not usually very careful about comparing their measurements to the sizes in patterns, but in this case, I would recommend doing exactly that. In fact, I would even go far as to recommend that you cut out the bodice pattern pieces and compare it to some of their clothes that fit well, and make the corresponding pattern size. To me, it seems like the neck is a bit wide, but it looks fine on most of the other testers' dresses, so maybe my kids just have narrow shoulders... I still need to hem this top, I'm thinking I'll go for a little curved hem and trim enough off so you can tell she's wearing shorts underneath!

I did have a little bit of trouble with the bindings. On my first test, I barely had enough and had to really stretch it to fit. On the second dress, I was a good inch short and had to recut the both neck bindings and the arm bindings for Ivy's dress. So in addition to checking the stretch and recovery of your fabric, I recommend cutting 4 extra inches for the neck and arm bindings. I probably only needed 1-2 inches for each, but it was nice to have plenty to play with. One tester recommended using spray starch to keep the bindings from rolling and to make them easier to work with. I will definitely try that next time, knit bindings drive me bonkers. Jessica made a Facebook group for the testers, and it was great to see all their photos and feedback during testing. There were lots of great questions and answers and advice, like the spray starch tip! You can see all the tester photos here, including Alice's cameo!

I volunteered to test the 12-18 month size as well, and I decided to make matching dresses for Alice and Ivy. I cut out another 2T size for Alice and then assembly-lined them (which is why it took me a bit longer to crank out the 12month sample - sorry, Jessica!). And I ended up with this super adorable matching set.

I found out that I'm not the only fiend for stripes and florals (I think we should make a Facebook/support group for that!) and heard a few comments from my big girl friends that they'd like one of these dresses in their size. I just might have to whip up a matching Anthro-inspired tee for myself and then see about adapting this pattern/method for a dress in my own size. I think it would be perfectly easy to do using one's measurements and maybe another well-fitting dress or tee for reference. 

So if you need to do any sewing for 1-8 year-olds, hustle on over and invest $10 in this super easy and versatile pattern. You'll have a closet full of Lulu dresses in no time! 


  1. I so admire your sewing skills! Since I found out I was pregnant with a girl (Lucy), I've wanted to become a better seamstress. Tried my hand at a few patterns even! But I haven't pulled out my sewing machine in awhile, wish we had the space to leave my machine out all day, I feel like I'd try my hand at it more. Maybe that's just an excuse. Either way, bravo! Love the dresses and those little girlies are darling!

    1. Leah, I totally get the space issue. I have to use my dining room table, so I leave it there and tuck everything up when I'm not sewing. It's super annoying. I hate not having a spot where I can leave things in progress and just sit down and work. But alas.

      You should get your machine out and give things another go, now that you have TWO girls! I follow some great sewing/mama blogs, so I've learned a lot just by reading about their projects over the years.

      Rae Hoesktra has some awesome patterns at Made By Rae. They are so easy to understand and follow and so quick to sew, and they always turn out great. Any of her patterns would be a really easy and reliable thing to start practicing with! Let me know if you ever need help!!

  2. Adorable. You amaze me with all of your many talents. These dresses really look great, and the combination of fabrics is so much fun. Keep it up Erin!


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