Sara Dress.

Monday, October 31, 2011

During Elsie Marley's Kids Clothing Week Challenge, I made Big Sister a Sara Dress by Little Dress Pattern.  This is my first pattern from Little Dress Pattern, and I was very happy with it.  The paper pattern printed well and lined up as it should (not the case with all PDF patterns, I've found).  The design was simple to assemble, and the instructions were clear.  It made a very cute dress.

Little Dress Pattern shows the dress with a bow, but I think I may prefer a knot.  It's nice to have both options.

Because of weather, and because of the scoop opening, I opted to have Big Sister wear a shirt under this dress.  I'd recommend a raglan, since the sleeve seam lines would work well with the cut of the dress.  We didn't have a raglan that would work, so we went with a plain Target tee.

So, knot or bow?  I wonder if that's an unfair question in this setting.  The knot kind of gives it a sailor look, though I didn't realize that before.

Construction Notes:  The ladybug fabric is a fabulous corduroy by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  It's soft, not too thick, nice drape, very high quality fabric. 

When using corduroy, you have to remember the nap of the fabric.  I didn't, and I ended up with the nap going opposite directions on front and back.  You can't really tell unless you look closely at the side seams, but that's something to keep in mind.  As in most cases, the pattern's fabric requirements do not account for nap, so if using something like corduroy, you should learn from my mistake and plan on more than the recommended amount of fabric.

The sizing of this pattern seems right on.  Unlike many small pattern manufacturers, this one actually provides a chart with measurements and sizes.  Big Sister typically wears a 6, which is what the pattern recommended based on her height.  I think this 6 fits just about right.  The style of the dress will allow it to fit for a good line time, I think.

You have to add seam allowances to this pattern.  The pattern provides different seam allowances for different parts of the garment (3/8 for neckline, 5/8 for side seams, and 1 inch hem allowance).  I'm not sure that's really necessary, but I did like the way the 5/8 seam allowance worked out under the arms here.

It might just be me, but I found that the hem line at the side seams didn't have quite the curve it needed.  I smoothed out those areas before hemming, and that seemed to help.

The pattern uses bias binding, which you make yourself and attach to the arm and scoop neck openings.  But it's referred to in this pattern as "neatening."  I've never heard this term before, but as long as you know that neatening = bias binding, the pattern is perfectly understandable.

I added a little topstitching to the neck/tie piece.  The pattern has the topstitching ending at the end of the neck opening and not continuing to the end of the ties.  That seemed a little unusual to me, so I continued it to the end of the ties and around the corner (but I didn't topstitch on the fold).

There's a handy little glossary at the end of the pattern.  Curiously, it does not include "neatening."  But it would be helpful for beginners, who I think could probably tackle this project without much trouble.


  1. While reading Rae's Oct. 24 post, I saw your comment about needle guards. I posted a question there, but I should have posted it here. :)

    So here it is:
    I’ve asked about needle guards and always am told they don’t exist. :/ I’m so excited to hear they do as both my kids are interested in sewing, and it would be fun to use my machine with them.

    Is there a needle guard you’d recommend and where did you find it?

    Thanks so much!!

  2. Jody -- Needle guards are ridiculously hard to find. I don't know why they're not more readily available. I bought one of these for our Pfaff: I know there are others out there, but it really requires digging, and probably some trial and error. Good luck!