So, a while ago I posted that I had bought a couple of sewing patterns from a shop (also on etsy) called 5Berries. I bought the patterns for a few reasons, namely I don’t have easy access to girly clothes or even smaller than 12yo children to measure them and draft my own patterns. I am considering selling clothes, so I needed a pattern that was ok with home sewers selling the finished product – very few commercial patterns allow this.
There are so many pattern designers out there at the moment. Etsy is saturated with them. I’m afraid that making a decision came down as much to price as it did to style. I was lucky enough to grab them on sale, so that if everything turned out to be a total disaster, I hadn’t spent a fortune on it.
To start off with, we had the “convert the pages from US Letter size to A4” headache, followed by the “tape 40 sheets of paper together and call it a pattern” waking nightmare. After this was all completed, I was no way going to attempt it again, so I drafted off every single size onto tracing vilene, so I can ditch the unwieldy mass of paper into the recycling bin.
I am not sure if the sizes translated perfectly with all the fiddling around, however I believe they did. I asked my friend for her daughter’s measurements (although they are twins, they are not identical, and quite different in some areas), and then made up some sample clothes from there. The sizing was much further off than I expected. Her daughters are 7, normally wear from a 7 to a 9 in sizing. The “dress” pattern that fit their chest measurements were 5-6 and 4-5 years. Sadly, this meant that the dress was no longer a dress but a nicely proportioned behind covering top. Even with the ruffle that I had omitted, a dress would not be even close to the length.
I omitted the belt, the ruffle, and the elastic around the sleeves – way too frou-frou for me. These were meant to be playground type tops, not party dresses. My two little “clients” loved them, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. My real disappointment is that the whole purpose of buying a pattern was to take the guesswork out of the sizing issue, which didn’t happen.
The pattern itself was fairly easy to follow. The instructions were not super-well written, with some omissions (what width elastic to use would have been handy information) and there were some parts that seemed to make no sense at all – the instructions for basting the hems contradicted themselves, and the photographs only confused the error. As far as being “beginner-friendly”, I am sure that several beginners will read it through and go “Hey-what?!?” I fudged my way through it because I have been sewing for so long, I tend to have my own way of doing things regardless. If you are a semi-confident seamstress, then you should have no problem following them along, and making up the missing bits.
So, would I buy a pattern there again? Probably not. I will be checking out other designers, if only for the A4 part. If I could pass on any wisdom at all to these pattern makers, it would be to cater for the rest of the universe in paper size. If you want, have 2 different download files, one for US, and one for the rest of us. That will be a major factor in my future purchasing decisions. I will also be cautious in future as to the size basis for clothing, which even in the shops, we know can be erratic to say the least.
But, yes, the tops were cute, the style is simple to create, and I have a vintage stash that would rival the treasure of the pharaohs, so I will be following up on sewing some clothes to sell. Stay tuned for more details!