Who hates tracing patterns? Who finds marking fabric time-consuming? Who thinks preparation is the dullest part of sewing?
Me, for one!
It is however super important. Mistakes made in the initial stages cannot be corrected later. You can waste a lot of time and nice fabric by laziness at the start of a project.
So when I heard about Sprout Patterns‘ service I was super excited. Because with them you can skip all the boring beginning steps! Not only that there’s so much more choice with colours, patterns and fabric types. Perhaps it’s a little pricey, but in terms of time saved and choice available – I reckon it’s worth it. It’s certainly an incredible concept and I’ll definitely use them again.
The site is really easy to use. There’s an incredible range of colours and patterns and the design tools are really amazing. It allows you to see how your chosen fabric will look as the finished dress – you can even reposition the pattern on the dress. As you can see with mine – I positioned the feathers to start at the centreline to give a cool asymmetric effect.
They then print the fabric especially for you, with big white borders and little white notch markings which makes preparing you fabric a doddle.
The first few times I used the site I did have problems with ordering though. I think it was to do with having a Japanese delivery address. I’d get so far in the ordering process before it would crash and lose all my data. I gave up a few times, but eventually I got it working and I’m glad I did.
This dress was soooooo easy to make! The pieces were cut out and ready to sew in under 20 minutes! I did it in a day, but I reckon if I’d really buckled down I could have had it done in a couple of hours. The notches matched up perfectly, the sleeves fit straight in, and the instructions were easy to follow (although to be fair, I chose the simplest design cos it was my first time using this site).
I think you’ve got to be close to a standard size to make this concept work. The advantage of going from paper is you can adjust the fit; FBA, Sway-back, narrow-shoulders and all that. Obviously with Sprout Patterns’ site you cannot do that – A limitation with which the selection of designs was chosen I think. They’re all looser-fitted dresses or stretch fabric – so should work well with the majority of body types.
I tend to prefer closer fitting clothes but nonetheless I was able to find several designs I’d like to make.
Another disadvantage(/advantage depending on your point of view) is the choice of fabric patterns – there are sooooo many choices it can be impossible to choose! The first few times I used the site I was totally overwhelmed – in a good way. There were too many options and I was unable to make up my mind for a long time.
So to use this site I think you have to have a good idea at the start as to what you want to make – otherwise you’ll end up making 10 identical dresses in wildly different colours and designs – which may be bad for your wallet.
The dress I made
As I mentioned I picked a simple design at first to test the service; The Inari Tee dress. Simple, easy fitting and light for summer. As the design is simple I went for a bold pattern.
This was actually my first time buying fabric online so I really didn’t know what to pick. I usually go by feel when buying in a shop. Also as I’m always buying in Japanese I dont actually understand the name of the fabric I’m buying.
So I figured I’d probably go for the mid-range cotton, although I actually ended up picking the most expensive one so as to qualify for free international shipping.
The fabric feels good and the printed colours are exactly as they were on the site so I’m very happy with that.
After washing and ironing and getting ready to cut I remembered some stash fabric I’ve been meaning to use up. After the fun of doubling up dress making with my Burda Style blouse I decided to do it again now and use up some of my ever growing stash.
This is a random quilting cotton I bought on sale with another project in mind – however I never got around to making it. With it’s big bold design I thought it would be perfect for a tee shirt dress. Also I reckoned I could get away with using the same dark navy stitching for the majority of both projects.
So after cutting out each piece of the green feather fabric I pinned it to the floral and cut a perfect copy. It was easy then to transfer the notch marking.
I then just had to repeat each pattern step. Easy. Two quick dresses.
It’s a pretty simple dress so this was super easy. As I said, if I was just doing the one, it could have been done in an afternoon.
The only annoying part was I had to hand sew the sleeve band down. This was to hide the stitches, so going by feel only, you sew the two under layers and not the top. This was pretty tricky to do and looks pretty ugly from the inside.
So for the second dress I just didn’t bother with that – instead I used hemming tape cut thin to glue the band down. Yay lazy sewing!
It pretty much worked – took much less time that the hand sewing would. After one wash it needed a little repair work where some of the tape had come unstuck.
I really enjoyed buying from sprout patterns. The dress turned out as expected and the price was pretty reasonable. The design process was really fun and having the fabric specially printed took so much work out of the process.
I’ll definitely buy from them again in the future.
Enjoy some pics of me wearing these out to work and dinner.