I’ve been admiring the pretty dresses at Sense and Sensibility for a long time now, but never got up the nerve to actually order one and work on it. I’m not much of a seamstress. The girls know more about using our sewing machine than I do!
Still, when the TOS Crew members were given the opportunity to download the pattern for an Edwardian Girls’ Apron, I thought we’d do our best to muddle through. After all, there must be other novice seamstresses out there who are looking for a place to get their feet wet! (Um. Mixed my metaphors there. Not sure what a beginning sewing metaphor would be, actually.)
E-pattern, here we come!
I had sewn a few things from paper patterns, but never an e-pattern. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was sort of like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You see, the pattern prints out on 8-1/2 by 11 sheets, and then you tape them together. The author tells you to trace the pattern from the taped sheets onto interfacing for durability. The pattern comes in a range of sizes, from girls’ 2-14, so you can trace just the lines for the size you’re making. A note to the wise: Don’t drop the stack of sheets! The pages aren’t numbered, but print out in an order that allows you to lay out the pattern left-to-right. A “thumbnail” picture shows you what the finished pattern should look like, when you have all the sheets laid out in the right order.
The pattern came with lots of helps including an mp3 file with an audio workshop that goes together with slides saved in a PDF file. I had a little trouble playing the mp3 file on my Vista-based computer, but found instructions on the web (in short, I changed the file extension from mp3 to mp2 and it worked). The audio workshop is well organized, with the speaker telling you which slide you should be looking at, as she goes along.
The instructor takes you from choosing material through the the process of making the apron. Along the way you learn how to lay out the pattern pieces for cutting out the fabric, making your own bias binding, and then step-by-step putting the whole thing together, all the while listening to a running commentary, including hints and tips.
There are instructions for making your own binding, but if you want to save time you could use purchased binding for your apron. The apron itself has pockets on both sides (we love pockets!) and straps that criss-cross in the back. The result is pretty as well as practical.
The Sense and Sensibility Girls’ Edwardian Apron is available for $12.95 as a paper pattern, or $7.95 as an e-pattern, from Sense and Sensibility. You can buy the mp3/PDF slide class and e-pattern together for $24.95.
Although this is supposed to be a simple pattern, I’m not sure I’d want to try it as my very first sewing project. I’m glad I had a couple of jumpers and a dress in my sewing experience. (I guess baby quilts wouldn’t count much, except for learning to sew a straight line.) I think if you wanted to try this for your first project, it might be a good idea to find a friend who knows how to sew, to walk you through the process.
To read more TOS Crew reviews of this product, click here.
Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew were offered a free download of the e-pattern and apron-making class. No additional monetary compensation was involved. Opinions offered are our own family’s.
Update (May 2010): We purchased the Regency dress pattern and used it for the older girls to learn to sew. Because I am something of an indifferent seamstress, I asked a friend to teach the girls, and she invited two more friends for a sewing party. Under their watchful eyes, the girls made beautiful dresses, and have learned about gathering (they already knew how to gather but now they know more), setting in sleeves, making buttonholes and sewing on buttons, slip-stitching, and hemming. What fun!