Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Round Yoke Top

I love the look of a round yoke top and have made a few using the free Prudent Baby Snappy Toddler Top pattern in the past.  Now that LA has completely outgrown that pattern (and I didn't want to figure it out on my own), I decided it was time to buy a pattern.  There are many out there, but one in particular seemed very popular on a Facebook pattern page I follow, so when the designer had a sale, I bought it.

I had high hopes for the pattern--after all, if so many posters "LOVED IT" and called it the "BEST PATTERN EH-VAH!" why wouldn't I.  Sadly, I was quite disappointed.  So, let's talk about this pattern--the good and the bad.  What pattern is it you ask?  The Blondie by Brownie-Goose.

On a positive note to begin with, the end result is super cute and LA looks adorable in it (even if she is the MOST difficult model lately--standing still?  Not happening!!).

I hate to give negative reviews, but I call 'em like I see 'em and I appreciate when other bloggers give their honest opinions and experiences with patterns.  So, here goes... 

To begin with, the pattern designer does not include a sizing chart so you are left to your own "guess" as to what size to make.  LA wears a size 3-4.  Since my sizing choices were 2/3 or 4/5, I went with the smaller of the two and thank goodness I did!  It is definitely NOT a size 2!  It is frustrating to me when sizing charts are not included since there is no "true to size" measurements anymore.
I chose this summery light blue seersucker from my stash to make this top.  Clearly seersucker is a directional print.  No problem when laying out the body.  Then I went to lay out the collar.  Sigh...no grain lines.  No suggested illustrated layout.  Ugh.  Directional prints (and really all fabric), need to be cut on the grainline!  Now time had to be spent to figure out the grain line for the TWO collar pieces (neither of which have shoulder seams making the process just that much more "fun"). 

I was surprised to discover that the designer did not enclose the raw edge of the body into the collar.  So...more time was spent figuring out where to sew/not sew to encase the seam.  Sewing it as instructed would have left a raw edge exposed at the arms which would be very unsightly...not to mention, isn't being able to eliminate all exposed seams one of the benefits of the round yoke style?
I also changed the finish on the armscyes.  Granted this is personal preference, but I am not a fan of sandwiching the raw edge in double fold bias tape.  It never lays flat.  Instead, I used single bias tape and flipped it into the inside of the garment.  Lays flat and you don't see it from the outside!
But, perhaps the part of the pattern that I was most disappointed with was the closure.  See that big ole button?  You probably think that is how the top closes, but you would be wrong.  Nope, there is a "placket" in the back (yes, even the designer admits to using this term "loosely" since "buttonholes make me sweat").  Unfortunately, this leaves a large opening in the back.  Since I did not pay attention to this detail before cutting (I know, I know), I had to make it work.  Luckily, an extra button and loop fixed it, but the garment would look even better if the yoke button were actually functional.
So here's the thing.  The end result is pretty darn cute (especially thanks to my friend Kam who did the embroidery!!), but the pattern needed too many modifications.  There are so many round yoke patterns out there, so no need to settle for one that requires so much extra work.  If I had to do it over again, I would buy this Creations by Michie pattern instead. 


Anne at Film and Thread said...

Thank you for giving an honest review of this pattern. So many reviews of independent designers' pdf patterns are so overly praising of them that it makes a lot of the reviews hard to trust. And the patterns are not cheap so it would be nice if they were well written.

Your end result came out very cute, thanks to your good sewing skills.

sew girly studio said...

Thanks Anne! Trying to find honest reviews of PDF patterns is very hard--like you said, so many are over-the-top praising of them. I get it--they want to pattern test and be in the designer's good graces, but that doesn't help me as a consumer. I do sometimes wonder if the pattern testers gave any constructive feedback to the designers...

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to have read this because was just about to purchase this pattern because its so darn cute on your beautiful daughter. Thank you so much for your honesty!

Goodbye Valentino said...

So adorable!

daniKate designs said...

I think that it turned out adorable (love the embroidery) and you did a great job despite your concerns about the pattern. I appreciate the honest review as well (then again, I originally discovered you through Pattern Review :) ).
I have a hard time being too open with my negative feelings on my blog, because I am concerned about hurting someone's livelihood (though I don't know that any negative reviews would put a dent in BG sales right now, she is so popular). But I have no problem giving an uncensored review in a place like PR.
As far as pattern testers giving honest feedback, I can say with certainty that at least one does! I love to pattern test for so many reasons, but the main one is because I get to give feedback directly to the designer. In fact, I get to test regularly for one designer because I sent her an email with some constructive criticism once. She wants her patterns to be as good as they can, and I am a fan of that.
A lot of PDF fans knock paper patterns for their instructions, but I do feel like there are a lot of details that get overlooked (like the size charts, fabric layouts and grainlines you mentioned) in PDF patterns.
I find I am most pleased with patterns created by people that I know from their sewing first, and their designing second. Popolok Designs patterns are incredibly detailed and, in addition to the fabric layouts, etc, she includes line drawings, something I wish more PDF patterns included. And Cole's Corner and Creations patterns are great because Cole has sewn a ton and really put a lot of her knowledge into developing her instructions. Her pattern pieces look a little less polished then some, but I trust that anything I make from her patterns will go together properly.
Sorry for my long-windedness. I have a lot of opinions in this area, I might should blog about it and get them all out.

sew girly studio said...

Thanks Dani--you should blog about it! I think the pdf pattern world is still so relatively new and growing at such a fast rate, that it is hard as consumers to know where to invest our money. I hate dropping hard earned cash on something that is not well produced.

I have also pattern tested for a couple of designers who really took the constructive critiques to heart and one designer in particular, did a major redesign after several testers encountered the same problem. I do think that MOST designers want constructive criticism (or at least I hope they would) to make their product better. I just wonder with some of the patterns that are problematic, did the testers not give negative feedback or did the designer choose not to make changes?

I am thrilled to hear your recommendations for Coles' Corner and Popolok as those are two designers I have not yet tried.

LOL, I didn't mean to get long winded either...maybe I should also blog about this topic sometime ;)

Kate said...

Oh how I wish I had read you review before I bought this pattern. I'm making it up at the moment and coming up against all the problems and niggles you did, just wish I'd read your review before cutting the pretty fabric I'd been saving :-(

Keiki said...

Hi I too have been frustrated with this pattern. Unfortunately the pattern you recommended does not ship out to little ole Australia so am pushing ahead with my limited skill and experience. I would love to know how you positioned the grain line on the yoke and how you worked out the enclosing of the skirt. Many many thanks in advance

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