Monday, January 10, 2011

Birthday Party Dress Pattern Review

Last fall, I purchased this Oliver + S pattern and some cute corduroy by Valerie Wells. After cutting it out, I left it languishing in my sewing room until last week.  Wanting to finish up some WIP with this new year, this cute dress was at the top of my list!

Since my two year old grand daughter decided not to cooperate in modeling, here's the result on a not-as-cute-as-her hanger.
 I am partial to little dresses that button up the back....I think it looks so much more charming than a zipper (and is easier to slip onto a moving target). The buttons I used are vintage ones that I found in my button tin. (Please excuse the wrinkles....oops!)
If you have been seeing these children's patterns in your LQS, and have been wondering about them, I thought I might give you some feedback with my experience. First of all, as you can see in the upper right hand corner of the picture above, the patterns are rated as to difficulty in sewing.  This one is rated 3 scissors, which I would agree is accurate.  Having quite a bit of dressmaking experience, I found the pattern certainly not easy, but not extremely hard either.  After making one dress off the pattern now, any others will go quite smoothly. You also see that the cost of the pattern is not cheap.  However, there are four sizes included (I made the size 2T and it seems very accurate with Lula's ready made size.) and the design features are outstanding...more like what you would find in an upscale children's shop. I'm showing you the inside of the dress, so that you can see a few of the features.
As you can see, the facings are generous and the little box pleats are stitched down. The hem is faced, which was a lovely designer touch. (You just need to be sure to shorten or lengthen the pattern, if necessary, before cutting out the pattern.) All the instructions were superb and well written with good illustrations and hints. There was a glossary of terms with instructions, which would be very helpful for anyone new to dressmaking. The only addition I made to the pattern was to staystitch the facings for a flatter appearance.
As you can imagine, the box pleats were the most time consuming part.  But, with great instructions, I think just about anyone with a little experience could accomplish them if the markings are transferred from the pattern onto the fabric properly before beginning. (I should have paid better attention to that detail myself!) 
I give this pattern an "A" for sure! I already am thinking of other fabric options and with several sizes included, will get my money's worth. I'm headed over to the Birthday Party Dress Flickr site now, for some ideas! 


  1. What a cute dress!! I had given up on making clothes a long time ago but with grandkids...... I am back at it!! I am glad to see that you are too, or maybe you never gave up on making clothes.

  2. Really cute! This pattern is on my todo list so it is nice to see you gave it an A+

  3. Carla, this is adorable and will be so, so cute on Lula. Great job!! I've just about given up on clothes, but you inspire me.

  4. Love this dress......Have you ever tried Izzy and Ivy. Love their dresses and skirts for little girls!

  5. super cute. lucky little girl.

  6. This is really wonderful! I have made a few birthday party dresses but never in corduroy - you have inspired me to give it a go.

  7. What a pretty outfit! It's as sweet as can be, and I especially like how you've lined up those three little blue birds in the pleats across the tummy. I'll admit to feeling a tad jealous. You have a little girl to sew for... err, but I guess I could sew for a hanger too!