I sheepishly admit that I worked on this dress for almost 3 months. I could possibly and fittingly blame the holidays (in part), or a busy (fun-filled) life, or even workday fatigue. At 8:30 PM, after my wee ones are sound asleep, tackling a challenging portion of a lovely “dress-to-be” often loses out to reading a fabulous book on our super comfy couch. Regardless, here is my addition to the very fitting Franklin Dress buzz that can be heard within the kids’ clothing sewing blog community. With its pleated yoke and slightly puffed sleeves, the Franklin Dress by the Brooklyn Pattern Company has a lovely, simple elegance that it both classic and classy. I was excited to jump into this pattern and am delighted with the result. (So is the recipient. Can you tell?)In October, when there was still warmth in the air and temperatures a tad higher than -35 (sigh.), Gail of Probably Actually posted her stop on the Franklin Dress tour and I was smitten. I immediately loved the design of the dress with its gathering, pleats, puffs and buttons and, in equal parts, I was intrigued by Gail’s description of the founder and designer, Erin Proud, whose past experience includes 15 years of pattern-making for Broadway, ballet and circus. Wow.
As the tour continued, I loved the way that the pattern seemed to shift and shape beautifully to a wide variety of fabrics. In addition to the chambray that Gail had used, I loved this Franklin Dress in a sweet peach double gauze by Girl Like the Sea and this one in rayon challys by Made by Sara. Gorgeous. Thankfully, I had a lovely little stash of Liberty of London fabric that my sister-in-law had given me that was on reserve for something special. This was it.The Process: To my immense delight, a few weeks after cutting out my pieces and a few daunting read-throughs of the instructions, Erin announced the beginning of the Franklin Dress sew along. I was ecstatic…that may even be an understatement. I so wanted to sew my own Franklin Dress, but the instructions made a few assumptions that went beyond my sewing expertise. The sew along, however… Well, I cannot rave about it enough, so I won’t go on and on, but I really encourage you (especially if you are a beginner like me) to sew along with Erin for your first Franklin. Her writing and photography are excellent. The sew along is clear, precise, thoughtfully chunked into doable daily portions, and fun! As a bonus, she shares some tips and tricks along the way of how she does things. What an amazing opportunity to learn from such an expert. I do hope, in future posts and sew alongs, that she shares more about the creation of the cork mat that she uses for cutting her pattern pieces. This is simply a brilliant idea. A few more dress details…
The fabric: Liberty of London fabric (I have just discovered) is beautiful in so many ways. It is thin, soft, 100% cotton and 100% easy to work with. No slipping and sliding and it cooperated so beautifully when being pinned and pressed. The tones are muted, yet vibrant, a contradictory (I know), yet accurate description.
The buttons: I love metal buttons. Somewhere, deep down, I have some very blurry and fond memories of childhood outfits with metal buttons. These ones were easy to find at our local sewing store and a lovely fit.The sizing: The pattern provides pieces for children 6 months to 8 years. My daughter is 6 and a half, but using the measurements provided, I decided to make a 5T and lengthen it to the 6T length. I wanted it to fit well and wasn’t worrying too much about allowing room for growth. That being said, she straddled the 4T and 5T sizes and I went with the 5T. The only thing that I would change is the length of the sleeves, as she keeps trying to pull them down. We realized during our initial photo shoot (we’ve tried a few times), that this is her first dress with sleeves that are neither short nor long and she’s not a fan. I’m hoping to make another one soon with full-length sleeves like this lovely, lovely dress by As it Seams. What a beautiful shade of blue and yet another fabric type that fits the Franklin Dress design perfectly. Overall, I love this pattern. With the added detail of the sew along, it is accessible and versatile for sewers of varying levels of experience and inviting of a creative spin, if desired. On the title page of the Franklin Dress pattern, Erin gives this debut design for the Brooklyn Pattern Company the number 0001. Such a promising number. I look forward to sewing along, again, as that number climbs.