Gracie – a pattern review

Easter 2009 pattern was Pink Fig - HUGE thumbs up! I love Pink Fig patterns!

Happy Monday morning and joyous, isn’t it?  He is Risen…our family enjoyed a great day with family over the Easter holiday and I hope you feel the freedom and joy and hope that this new day brings.

In preparation for the Easter holiday, I picked out a dress pattern and some fabric to make the two peas and little sprout a new outfit.  As is our tradition, a new outfit to dress in our finest for such a celebration that Easter brings.  For two Easters in a row…I picked Heather Bailey prints.

This Easter, I choose a Sandi Hendersen pattern called Gracie.

Pattern design and layout

First, this pattern is amazing.  It’s a book.  Seriously, a little book with full color photos and illustrations.  A nice big sturdy paper pattern.  Extra hints about techniques like gathering and creating a bias.  It has 3 different dress versions and a skirt.  It cost $16 which was hard to swallow BUT once I got it home and saw everything it had to offer I was really pleased.  Quality was really great.

I am seriously obsessed with the hair flowers I make...and as I type, have one in my hair too. I wear one almost everyday, they just make my happy!

Because I was making a 2T and then I also wanted to make a size 9 (the pattern only goes up to a size 8), I traced the pieces I needed and kept the pattern intact.  That way I can use it again for other sizes.  And I needed to size it up to get the larger size I wanted.

Ease of Instructions

The dress is fairly simple.  Tiered gathered layers with a bodice.  I don’t sew a lot of clothing so here’s where I got tripped up.  First, its a lot of fabric that gets gathered.  I mean, a lot.  So, gathering such a huge piece of fabric was tricky.

The yoke was difficult but doable.  I took pictures at this step to help me in the future.  It’s a lot of pinning, pulling, fussing but it will come together.  (see the ps at the bottom of the post for process photos of the yoke – hope it helps!)

Overall, the directions were great.

Where I ran into trouble

Several places were troublesome for me.  First, the gathering.  As I said, you are gathering a lot of fabric.  I tried a basting stitch and then pulled my threads.  I tried a zigzag stitch over elastic thread.  I tried a zig zag stitch over heavy thread.  In the end, my favorite was the zig zag over heavy thread and this is what Sandi recommends and describes in the pattern book.  It gathered easily and I felt like I had the most control over the gathers.  When I then attached the layers together, I didn’t use a big enough seam allowance to hide my gathering so I had to go back and pull a lot of threads out.  Bummer.

The yoke.  The instructions say to pin to the inside edge of the yoke.  I may have misunderstood but based on the illustration provided, the only way it fit was pinning to the outside edge.  This was really tricky and I panicked the first dress I did.  But it went together fine after I got all the pins in the right place.  What I like is that it has a nice finishing touch of bias that folds to the inside.  What I didn’t like was that you had to slip stitch that bias in place.  The first one took me like 30 minutes.  The second one I thought, heck, why can’t you just stitch it on the machine?  So I did.  On the blue green colored dress.  I didn’t like it.  So, I slipstitched the third one.  Lesson learned, follow the pattern.  It looks nice, I just didn’t like it because it was time consuming.

Which leads me to what really tripped me up – TIME!  Each dress from cut to finish was 3-4 hours.  I got faster as I went along but there were just steps that you just couldn’t rush.  Making these over the little sprouts nap times was a challenge for sure.

End Result

I loved it.  I love how sweet they are.  I love the twirl factor (as do my girls).  I love the neckline.  I love the professional finishing touches on them that were well illustrated, described and easy to master with some practice.  I give it two thumbs up!



PS {a HUGE thank you} to Britt from Britt Lakin Photography!  She did the 2010 Easter dress photos on a moments notice.  Britt is so talented and shoots newborns, maternity, weddings, and families…her website is a place to just get lost in.  I LOVE good photography and she is top notch!  A must visit on your blog list just to enjoy her art!  {Did I mention she has a camera – can travel?  Just ask!}

Here are a few of my process photos for the yoke.  I think it will help you a lot to see exactly how the pinning works…

Your pieces will be layed like this...and you're going to just bring the yoke down to pin keeping them in this alignment. Make sense? See next photo.

The yoke just comes down and the bodice is sandwiched in between the yoke layers.

Follow the pattern instructions for how to pin - what order. It will take some time. Pinning and unpinning but eventually it goes in.

Finally, all pinned and ready to sew

Completed yoke


16 Responses

  1. Hey there! I am so GRATEFUL for your post! Even one year later, it is helping! Could you find it in your heart to help one more? I am having trouble with the bias tape part of the yoke. I have stitched the bias tape on, but now what? The pattern instructions do not make sense to me…do you have any pictures of the tucking and slip-stitching?

  2. I am SO glad that I found your post on this! I am having a TON of trouble with the yoke. Your pictures look totally different from the pattern, but I’ve tried following the pattern and have ripped out the stitching 3 times b/c I couldn’t get it to work right. I kind of follow your photos above, but then where do you stitch? Is your yoke inside out? Help!!!!!

  3. Those dresses are so cute! I am working on one for my daughter but put it aside because of the yoke. Would you mind sharing your pics of the yoke construction? Thanks so much!

  4. Working on the tiered dress now (size 2t) for my little one and I am having some trouble getting the yoke right. I just ripped it off once. Are you able to send me some photos of how you did it!!???? Thanks!!

  5. Can you pretty please help me with the yoke. I am a beginner at sewing and thought I had it, but there isn’t enough arm room. I couldn’t figure out how to pin that sucker to allow the yoke to curve properly.

    Thank you!

    • Help is on the way! Insert superhero music here. I just sent you a series of photos to illustrate what I did to get the yoke pinned properly. Good luck!

      • One quick question on this. My pattern says to pin the inside edge of the yoke but it looks like you might have done the outside edge. Can ou clarify?

  6. Fab Easter dresses for the 2 Peas & itty Sprout! As a Mom, career woman & entrepeneur – you NEVER disappoint! Way to go, Trish!!!

  7. They turned out great! Heather Baileys Nicey Jane prints were the perfect choice for spring. We see lots of fabric going out the doors and love seeing what our customers are doing with it!

    Sandi Henderson’s Portabellopixie line of patterns are all great to work with. Very detailed, lots of pictures, and as you say, she always gives multiple options for her designs in each pattern which is a great bonus. Just wish she would churn out a few more patterns for us to carry!

  8. The dresses all turned out beautifully!

  9. Loved the dresses. So pretty and so perfect! Great work as always!

    Girls were just darling in them!

    Love Britt too…

  10. Great job on the dresses Trish! And thanks for the pattern review. I love dresses that have gathering, but I sure hate doing that part! I’ve had to learn the hard way to follow the pattern too. I’m always dreading the fact that I have 2 girls to sew for, but you have 3 to sew for! Whoa! It turned out beautiful!

  11. those dresses are too fun!! Love ’em!

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