Gracie - a pattern review

Happy Monday morning and joyous, isn't it?  He is Risen...our family enjoyed a great day with family over the Easter holiday and I hope you feel the freedom and joy and hope that this new day brings.

In preparation for the Easter holiday, I picked out a dress pattern and some fabric to make the two peas and little sprout a new outfit.  As is our tradition, a new outfit to dress in our finest for such a celebration that Easter brings.  For two Easters in a row...I picked Heather Bailey prints.

This Easter, I choose a Sandi Hendersen pattern called Gracie.

Pattern design and layout

First, this pattern is amazing.  It's a book.  Seriously, a little book with full color photos and illustrations.  A nice big sturdy paper pattern.  Extra hints about techniques like gathering and creating a bias.  It has 3 different dress versions and a skirt.  It cost $16 which was hard to swallow BUT once I got it home and saw everything it had to offer I was really pleased.  Quality was really great.

Because I was making a 2T and then I also wanted to make a size 9 (the pattern only goes up to a size 8), I traced the pieces I needed and kept the pattern intact.  That way I can use it again for other sizes.  And I needed to size it up to get the larger size I wanted.

Ease of Instructions

The dress is fairly simple.  Tiered gathered layers with a bodice.  I don't sew a lot of clothing so here's where I got tripped up.  First, its a lot of fabric that gets gathered.  I mean, a lot.  So, gathering such a huge piece of fabric was tricky.

The yoke was difficult but doable.  I took pictures at this step to help me in the future.  It's a lot of pinning, pulling, fussing but it will come together.  (see the ps at the bottom of the post for process photos of the yoke - hope it helps!)

Overall, the directions were great.

Where I ran into trouble

Several places were troublesome for me.  First, the gathering.  As I said, you are gathering a lot of fabric.  I tried a basting stitch and then pulled my threads.  I tried a zigzag stitch over elastic thread.  I tried a zig zag stitch over heavy thread.  In the end, my favorite was the zig zag over heavy thread and this is what Sandi recommends and describes in the pattern book.  It gathered easily and I felt like I had the most control over the gathers.  When I then attached the layers together, I didn't use a big enough seam allowance to hide my gathering so I had to go back and pull a lot of threads out.  Bummer.

The yoke.  The instructions say to pin to the inside edge of the yoke.  I may have misunderstood but based on the illustration provided, the only way it fit was pinning to the outside edge.  This was really tricky and I panicked the first dress I did.  But it went together fine after I got all the pins in the right place.  What I like is that it has a nice finishing touch of bias that folds to the inside.  What I didn't like was that you had to slip stitch that bias in place.  The first one took me like 30 minutes.  The second one I thought, heck, why can't you just stitch it on the machine?  So I did.  On the blue green colored dress.  I didn't like it.  So, I slipstitched the third one.  Lesson learned, follow the pattern.  It looks nice, I just didn't like it because it was time consuming.

Which leads me to what really tripped me up - TIME!  Each dress from cut to finish was 3-4 hours.  I got faster as I went along but there were just steps that you just couldn't rush.  Making these over the little sprouts nap times was a challenge for sure.

End Result

I loved it.  I love how sweet they are.  I love the twirl factor (as do my girls).  I love the neckline.  I love the professional finishing touches on them that were well illustrated, described and easy to master with some practice.  I give it two thumbs up!



PS {a HUGE thank you} to Britt from Britt Lakin Photography!  She did the 2010 Easter dress photos on a moments notice.  Britt is so talented and shoots newborns, maternity, weddings, and families...her website is a place to just get lost in.  I LOVE good photography and she is top notch!  A must visit on your blog list just to enjoy her art!  {Did I mention she has a camera - can travel?  Just ask!}

Here are a few of my process photos for the yoke.  I think it will help you a lot to see exactly how the pinning works...