Thursday, April 8, 2010

Amy Butler's Comfy Baby Jumper Dress Review

I just completely finished sewing the Comfy Jumper Dress  - out of Little Stitches for Little Ones by Amy Butler.  This is my experience & review of the pattern.  (I hope it's okay to review a pattern that you didn't read all the way...)

I love the way this dress turned out.  It looks really plain & simple in the photos in the book.  But, it has more detailing than I expected.  And there are pros and cons to that!
Don't think that the dress is hard.  It is not.  But, the thing that I found challenging was that some of the little details, that make the dress really cute, weren't shown in any photos or sketches throughout the pattern.  So, I had a hard time understanding them.

Like I said, I didn't read the pattern throughly.  Some parts I just kinda glanced over, cuz I figured I knew what to do.  Some parts I read & read & re-read, and didn't get it.  Here's my experience.

First -
I didn't follow the direction to line the interior with muslin.  I lined the interior in such a way to make the dress reversible.  This is the inside of the dress.  
In the sewing of the bodice, I faced much confusion.  The book has no frontal photos.  So, you don't see this cute little slit neck.  I had never done a neckline like this & was so afraid to go forward with it.  I couldn't fully picture it in my mind.  It was only because of the courage that my friend Tina (of Paisley & Lace) gave me, that I could go forward with the making the frighteningly large cut required.    

See the photo here & be bold.  When she says to sew along the neckline & then follow the sewing line down to the dot & pivot back up; just do it!  But, don't let your stitching lines touch.  When you get to the dot point, make a clean pivot back up.  My lines ran together for a moment just above the pivot point.
If you click on the yellow dress photo above, you can see how that left a little pucked at the bottom of the slit.  This is because, when you clip your seams to prepare to turn the bodice, you must cut all the way down the neck slit.  All the way to the pivot point.  I couldn't quite cut all the way, because I had a couple stitches running in a straight line together, prior to the pivot point.  Oops.  Not a big deal, though.  I just left it.

Next issue with the bodice is the call for sewing a 2 inch band around the base.  I did not get it.  And, decided to forget about it.  I went forward without the band.  And, I am so glad I did.  I love the way it looks without the band.  Maybe it would be cute with a different fabric?  But, with the bands already in the fabric I used in the bodice, it seemed to detract.  Skipped the bodice band.

In keeping with the making the dress into a reversible dress idea, I just ironed the skirt hems to be even with each other (skirt & skirt lining) & hand stitched them together.

The bloomers.  So darn cute and easy.  Amy Butler gives measurements for the elastic.  I would recommend measuring your child, if you can.  Her measurement for the waist band elastic turned out quite loose on my little Mo.  (And I took into account the smallness of my 11 mo old girl by sewing size 6-9 mo, instead of 9-12.)

This dress for a crawler...  maybe not the best match.  One thing is the length.  Long dresses don't always work good for a crawler.  You could shorten it bit, if you want to make it for a crawler.  

The other thing is the shoulder buttons.  (Please note below.  She crawls to me & then pulls herself to standing, catching her foot on the bottom of the dress, hence pulling the snaps at the shoulder.)

My extremely bad choice was to make this dress for a crawler, keep it long and put snaps on the shoulders, instead of a button.  I still think that a long dress with button shoulder connections will be strained too much by a crawler.  But things probably won't get this crazy - 

Oops!  I think she is close to walking.  So, I'll just save it in the closet for the next month or so.

Now, lastly, I will explain the green ribbon.  On the inside & back of the waist band, a small piece of elastic is sewn down to gather that section a bit.  I couldn't figure a way to easily sew this elastic inside the fabric to allow for my dress to still be reversible.  So, I sewed this lovely green grosgrain ribbon around the waist, and over the elastic.  I love the way it turned out.

I do recommend this Amy Butler pattern.  It is really cute.  But, it is lacking in sketches & photos.  Some of us need a little more help picturing things!


Sonya said...

Thanks so much for sharing, This was so helpful. I am in the middle of making the dress and was very confused by the slit in the front of the bodice (because there are no pictures of it). No I can go forward with confidence! by the way, love your fabric choices.

Rachel said...

I'm glad you posted pictures of the front, I had no idea the slit was there. Also I didn't care for the fabric used in the book so I hadn't really thought about making this dress. Now that I see it in something different I think I'll try it.