The first test up for The Pattern Exam was kiddo undies. While all the bloggers prepare a quick post for the actual blog, I felt another was necessary here to allow me some creative freedom. The Pattern Exam blog itself is aimed at being objective; attempting to really give consumers an idea of the features of a pattern aside form personal opinions.
That being said, it’s really difficult to be objective! When I sew, I kind of get in to it. I use it as an outlet, and as such, it’s a very, um, passionate process. My poor machine would have tales of abuse to tell if it could speak. Profanity often abounds if things aren’t going well, and if they are a little hooting and hollering. It’s even more entertaining when I get the chance to do a sew-in with friends, or just have a single friend over to sew the night away. So a pattern can really impact the mood and process if it just isn’t my thing.
Oh, disclaimer – it’s really hard to iron panties with synthetic waistbands once your little has worn them. I wanted M to get a good wear on these before I reviewed the fit, so they’ve all been through the wash and aren’t as ‘pretty’ as they were when they were first sewn up. But oh well. Get over it 😉
I sewed up 4 little lady patterns for the exam: Serger Pepper’s Big Girl Briefs, Little Kiwi’s Closet Children’s Undies/Knickers, Peek-a-boo Patterns’ Classic Panties & Camisole, and Monkeysbug’s Bikini Briefs.
Each pattern had its strengths, and it’s weaknesses. The Pattern Exam blog looks at the more technical view of all this, and includes a great chart discussing the actual features of each pattern. However, I wanted to share with you my opinions and experiences sewing each of these up.
I’ll start with Serger Pepper’s Big Girl Briefs. I’ve never sewn up any of Serger Pepper’s patterns before, so this was a first for me. I took this one along to a sew-in with a few fabulous ladies and spent the evening giggling away. But as I put these together, I was struck by how ingenious the technique for adding the liner is. It took me a few moments of visualization to ‘get’ it, but once I did I was thrilled with it. I love the concealed liner with no visible seams. This is the only panty pattern I’ve sewn up that has this feature, and it really stood out for me. Also love how there are no side seams, and instead the front and back attach in the front. This is a great way to feature some awesome knit scraps I have lying around, as well as deconstructing some store-bought panties with horrible elastic. Cause if I throw out the Dora and My Little Pony panties all together I’m sure there will be hell to pay!
The only downside I found with these was the sizing. They were a tad bit big on my little, who measured for a size 5. That is also her RTW size in store purchased panties. I find that because the waist and leg bands on these are soft (unlike store-bought with lingerie elastic or FOE) going down a size actually fits nicely and they don’t cut in and leave horrible marks on her (which is why she seems to size up in the RTW pairs). I also found the crotch a *wee* bit narrow, however when you factor in the width of the leg bands, even when she sat all toddler style (in other words, not even remotely lady like) there was still adequate coverage. I may widen the crotch very slightly next time (maybe half an inch total) just in case.
Next up – Little Kiwi’s Closet Children’s Undies/Knickers. These undies have a very similar style as the Serger Pepper’s in that there are no side seams and the front and back half of the panties connect in the front, once again creating a little visual interest. The rise and fit were great, and I found it really interesting that the pattern did not include standard RTW sizes, but instead just measurements. I made the size recommended by M’s measurements, and found them just a wee bit on the big size (I’ll size down just one size next time).
While the tutorial is relatively short and not a lot of pattern pages to print, I did go a little batty having to deal with the photo tutorial changing fabrics. In my perfect world, a tutorial that uses photos to assist should use the same fabrics/garment throughout. One of my pet peeves is when one photo to the next doesn’t ‘match’ because the designer has switched samples to demonstrate different steps. Of course, nothing is lost in regards to the text and directions themselves, but for those that are really visual this can provide frustrating, and sometimes confusing.
The third pair I made was Peek-a-boo patterns’ Classic Panties. The construction methods used were pretty standard for attaching things like the lining, and the side seams were on the hips as per most patterns. The biggest stand out for this pair though was the fit. While they may not be a pretty as some of the other patterns, nor have the same looks as adult panties, they sure as heck fit awesome. I think that at first I was drawn to the esthetics of other panties, forgetting that what I see as cute panties doesn’t necessarily fit the unique body types of a toddler. M is about 40 inches tall, and weighs about 43lbs (which is definitely WAY up there on the percentile scores) however she is still very much so built like a toddler. She hasn’t leaned all the way out like those willowy little girls you see prancing around in their princess dresses, so a true panty fit just doesn’t work for her. These however – these fit GREAT! The whole look of them is rounder – more baby booty room, and a great front rise to accommodate that still rounded belly. And they just look more comfortable on too – no shifting and moving. Also, for sizing, they were spot on.
Finally, Monkeysbug Bikini Briefs. I kind of shot myself in the foot with these ones. I figured that the bikini over hipster style (which is also included in the pattern) would be a better fit in the front to accommodate for the toddler belly. I was wrong. While these ones are super adorable (and have more of that bikini panty look) they are not really designed for a toddler. For those leaner little ladies, I’m guessing these would be fabulous. The tutorial also provides directions to use FOE for the waist and leg bands, which is a nice stash busting feature. I stuck with the softer lycra ribbing personally, as when I attempted to use FOE I just found it was not nearly as soft and comfortable for M. I also found the sizing a bit wonky – when I measured M fell in to the 11/12 size range, which would have been MASSIVE on her. I’d recommend laying a pair of your child’s panties on top of the pattern pieces to get a more accurate idea of what size you need to make.
OK! SO! I’m entirely torn between the Serger Pepper and Peek-a-boo panties. I love the construction technique of the Serger Peppers, however the fit of the Peek-a-boo is spot on. I think what I will do with the next pair is use the Peek-a-boo pattern pieces, but the techniques used in the Serger Pepper tutorial. Eventually I’d love to fiddle around and modify the Peek-a-boo to join in the front like the Serger Peppers, but the hip seams don’t seem to both M too much. The Serger Pepper pattern also include tons of wonderful information and tips, which I was really impressed with, and the Peek-a-boo pattern includes the pattern and tutorial for a camisole. So really, you’d be great with either. Or, for that matter, how about both!