Monday, October 6, 2014

Finished project: Peek-a-Boo Patterns - Poppy Polo Dress / Versatile Blogger Award

So, I finished a new dress for Eva two weeks ago. After several wears and many attempts to get Eva to stand still enough to get decent photos for this blog, I gave up. These are the best that I got:

Peek-a-Boo Patterns Poppy Polo dress
Here's a flat view of the dress, so you can see what it looks like when it's actually not in motion:

Poppy Polo dress - not in motion

For this dress, I used Peek-a-Boo Pattern's Poppy Polo pattern, which includes both a top and a dress option. Amy from PAB originally drafted this pattern with the intention that it could be used for a school uniform or dress code, where needed.

PDF and pattern drafting notes

The pattern printed out just fine.
Two things to note about Peek-a-Boo patterns:
  • There's no key or cues to taping the pieces together. Now, this is a kids' garment, and there aren't a lot of pages, so it's pretty easy to figure out what goes where. However, if you like having matching circles or letters to help you tape, be aware that this pattern line doesn't use them.
  • The pattern lines for the different sizes are color coded, but do not use things like dotted or dashed lines. This makes it a little harder to tell pattern sizes apart if you print out your PDFs in black and white.
The PDF uses very little paper. You cut things like sleeves and the collar on the fold. The top front and back use the same pattern piece with different necklines. The two ruffle tiers for the dress are rectangles that you're given dimensions for and draft yourself.


The fabric for this dress is a cotton/rayon/spandex blend from Girl Charlee. The ribbing is a rayon rib knit, also from Girl Charlee. The size 3T dress took one yard of the main fabric and remnants of the ribbing. The main fabric is fairly lightweight, has some vertical stretch, and is very, very soft.

Pattern sizing

Eva is on the cusp of the 2T/3T size break on the Peek-a-Boo size chart, so I sewed her a size 3T. As you can see, the dress version ran a bit long, which isn't something that I've seen in other Peek-a-Boo patterns before. Granted, my fabric did have vertical stretch, which I'm sure doesn't help. Seeing the hem cut-off for the top version, I do think that the top will run a bit more true-to-size, length-wise. Obviously, if/when I sew the dress version again, the length will be an easy enough fix.

Pattern instructions

I found the instructions to be a bit of a mixed bag. Is it possible for instructions to be too detailed towards beginners?

To elaborate, I've never made a contrast knit polo placket before, so I'm answering this question from that perspective: I found the instructions for the placket to be confusing. I had to rip out the placket and re-do it three times before I got to a point where I was satisified-for-a-first-try with it. I think that it will go a lot smoother the next time, and I definitely will use this pattern again. What tripped me up is that I thought that the instructions were both too directed at a real beginner but not simple enough. They rely very heavily on the color photos in the PDF, which is fine if you're reading them from a computer screen, but I'd printed them out in black-and-white to have them right next to me as I pinned and sewed. (Full disclosure: I don't normally print out PDF instructions unless there's a new technique that I want to be hand-held through. The polo placket fit the bill for wanting some hand-holding from me.) Given that the photos show light thread on a light-colored placket, I had trouble telling what was stitched vs. pressed seam allowance on some photos, which led to some of my frustration. Additionally, there are times when the whole thing could have been made easier to understand by simply saying, "Stitch with a 1/4 seam allowance," rather than trying to describe that without saying it. Once I feel more confident in the placket technique, I'm thinking that I might put up a tutorial on my blog because the instructions for this drove me so nuts! Outside of the placket instructions, I thought that the rest of the instructions were fine. The order of construction made sense and techniques used were appropriate for the garment.

Here are photos of my good-enough polo placket:
Poppy polo placket - closed

Poppy polo placket - open

And just for kicks, here's one of my outtake photos of Eva showing off The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Showing off her caterpillar!
Overall, I think it's a cute dress and a good, versatile pattern. I suspect that the contrast polo placket will be much easier the next time around. If I feel like I've really got the technique nailed, I'll post a tutorial here, since I couldn't find much online to help me with this particular variation on a polo placket.

Versatile Blogger Award

A couple of weeks ago, I was nominated by the lovely and funny Rox at Brand New Old-Fashioned for the Versatile Blogger Award. I responded to her that I'd write my post later in the week, but I was just about to post my "around the world" blog hop post and wanted to space out my ramblings about myself a bit. So, I'm writing my post now--I didn't forget!

The rules for this blog award are simple: Share 7 things about yourself and nominate up to 15 other bloggers. Here are 7 things that you might not know about me:
  1. You probably know that I have cats (and a dog). But did you know that my oldest cat is 17 years old and that I've had him since he was just a few weeks old? I actually helped bottle-raise him and consider him my "furry first-born".
  2. I played clarinet in my high school marching band. I'm still friends with many of my fellow band geeks.
  3. I've been to Japan, France, and Italy twice, and have been to England and Scotland, but have never been to New York City outside of a layover at the airport.
  4. My next selfish sewing project (after I complete Eva's Halloween costume) will be a winter coat. Interlined with thinsulate, bound buttonholes, and everything.
  5. Outside of my very early childhood, I had never experienced a real "fall" until we moved to Seattle last year. Same goes for snow that didn't require a drive to the mountains.
  6. One of my biggest thrills as a teenager was seeing Depeche Mode from the 6th row on their World Violation tour.
  7. Meltdowns aside, being the mother of a 2-year-old is way, way more fun that I possibly could have imagined.
To keep the chain going, I'm nominating L at You Sew, Girl!Naskisha at Sew Crafty Chemist, and Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow.


  1. Ah, two and Halloween. If memory serves, this was the first 'real' Halloween (that is, a costume that gets played in as a costume). "Our men have always been bees" at one; at two, an owl and a leopard.

    This is the first year I am not sewing anything for anyone for Halloween, and I do feel a little lost. Then again, they are 17 and 15, and that means it's cosplay sewing for Emerald City and Sakura Con in the spring.

  2. Your daughter is so dang cute :)

    Thanks for the nomination!!!! I will get it posted shortly!

  3. All through the worlds varied cultures, professions and religions use the distinction that a uniform can deliver. Like the image of a business person is that of professional dress with snappy shoes.
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