Posted in Projects on Sunday the 11th August 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
One of the mandatory purchases that you've got to make when having a baby girl is the Geranium pattern by Made by Rae
because you know, it's a rite of passage. I resisted it for 8 whole months; but one day I woke up and decided that it was time. I didn't stop there -- I went all out and got the Expansion Pack
too because who wouldn't want endless options?
But somehow, I struggled a bit with the pattern. I think this is a classic case of having expectations that were built up way too high by all the glowing reviews and recommendations. Although I seem to be the only person in the universe that didn't totally adore the pattern, I want to give my honest opinion here. I liked all the options (with the Expansion Pack), and AM already thinking about making more versions in different fabrics but I don't think the pattern and instructions were in the same league as some of the other indie pattern companies (Sewaholic and Hey June, I'm looking at you).
Before I go into the nitty gritty of the pattern review, let me share my flutter sleeve Geranium mini dress with you. I made a matching nappy cover as well - more on that later.
The fabric is a super cute bumble bee Cotton Poplin Fabric
in ivory and it was a dream to sew with. I knew instantly that this would be perfect for a baby outfit but the print is balanced enough to make a lovely summery blouse for a grown-up too. Matching outfits anyone? I lined the bodice with a lacey cotton from my stash.
I chose the original empire waistline (i.e. without bodice extension), with gathered skirt and cut the short skirt to make a tunic length mini dress in size 9-12 months. I really like the proportions. I know that flutter sleeves look nice on Freya's chubby little arms so naturally selected this option as well.
Although I was initially a bit skeptical about using the same ruffles spanning sizes from newborn to 12 months (and then a bigger pattern piece for 1 year+), I must admit that they look great.
Now onto why I'm not 100% happy with the pattern and instructions.
First, the seam allowances. The pattern includes 3/8 seam allowances throughout, except for the skirt and where you attach the skirt to the bodice, in which case the seam allowance is 1/2. I struggle to understand why this isn't standardised across the pattern.
Secondly, whatever happened to notches? This pattern has us transferring lots of dots and pressing the skirt and bodice front pieces in half to mark the centre, when a lot of these can be marked with a simple clip or notch.
My biggest issue however, was the back closure. The buttons and buttonholes were fine on the bodice but there is a slit in the top of the skirt centre back. This is left open and crosses over when finished. I was convinced that I had missed something in the instructions but apparently this is how it's supposed to be. I left it as it is and moved the buttons and buttonholes (I only used 2, as I only had 2 of these buttons) closer to the centre to minimise the crossover this time. I will definitely add a placket next time for a more professional finish, and will run a tutorial on this too. Watch this space.
Before I move onto the nappy cover, there are a couple of minor things that I did slightly differently.
1) I understitched the bodice lining at the neckline.
2) Instead of a zigzag stitch, I used the overlocker to finish the edges for a more professional look.
3) Instead of making 2 rows of gathering stitches that straddle the final stitch line, I made them both in the seam allowance. I already spend enough quality time with my unpicker
Overall, having made the Robson trench
and the Cheyenne tunic
as my last projects, I have been spoiled by the fantastic instructions from Sewaholic and Hey June. Perhaps it is a little unfair comparing a kids pattern to a adult one but they are at similar price points and I want a professional finish to kids clothes too. With all that being said however, the designs and options in the Geranium pattern, together with the expansion pack, will probably mean that I won't need another woven dress pattern for quite some time and I am excited to make more versions in the years to come.
Next, I made a pair of matching nappy cover to complete the outfit, using this free pattern
This was my first time making a nappy cover in woven and it came together easily. The only thing that I deviated from the instructions was that I overlocked the crotch and side seams.
Despite some of the points mentioned above, I do like the sweet little outfit on Freya and she seems happy in it too. And that really is all that matters after all.
Thanks for reading.