I didn't think I'd get the chance to review a pattern from Sense and Sensibility, seeing as my only sewing-aged children are boys! But they were willing to send something to me anyway!
What I received is the e-pattern and the class for the Girls' Edwardian Apron, which runs $25. There are options to just purchase the pattern, either "real" or in ePattern form, or to just purchase the class if you own the pattern already. The pattern includes girls sizes from 2 to 14, so we will be using this again (and again, and again...)
I immediately checked out the class slides and read the basic pattern information. And my mom and I got out a tape measure and tried to get Trina to stand still so we could figure out a size. I opted to purchase binding instead of making my own, as I just don't like doing that. I didn't maximize my couponing value or anything, but I did get fabric for about $7, and binding for $2. I own thread, so I didn't purchase that.
There was some discussion as to whether or not one of the boys was going to take the class and sew an apron for their sister. In the end, although I did have a volunteer, I decided to make the apron myself. Probably a good call.
So, first I read through all the read me first information that came with the ePattern and class. I ran the test on my printer, and it worked just fine (you print a strip that is supposed to measure 6", and you measure it to be sure that your pattern will print at the right size). I printed off the pattern, and laid it out on the kitchen floor to tape together. That is where I encountered one of my frustrations. Some of the pieces were very easy to put together -- match up the three or four lines and tape. Some were very difficult, with very little to go on in putting the pieces together. I wish there had been some type of grid lines on the background or something. It wasn't a huge deal, the pattern went together fairly quickly. But it was a bit frustrating. Cutting out the fabric was simple and straightforward.
Then I watched the class. That was pretty neat. They had a pdf "slide" presentation, and a separate mp3 file. The idea was to pull up the slides, start the mp3, and advance through the slides when told to. I found the class to be informative, and especially for a beginner, there were great little hints and advice. I love the idea of using this class with Trina in a few years. :) One thing I wish she had done differently was to use a contrasting binding, just to make it easier to tell just what she was doing. I know, she says why she prefers to use matching binding, but for class purposes, the contrast would have been a huge improvement.
The class also included links to four videos online, which makes it a lot easier to understand. Specifically, the videos are on putting the binding on the pocket, two on the belt, and one on topstitching. These would have been the most complicated parts of the pattern. Again, these would have been better with contrast.
Finally, I sat down to work on the apron, with my little helper. I was convinced she was going to burn her fingers on the iron, but she did manage to leave that alone. Putting the apron together was pretty easy... until I came to one of thefinal steps, that of putting binding on the top, and I had about half the binding I needed. The binding is supposed to start at the side of the front piece, go up around the strap/belt on that side, around the neck... and that is where I would have run out. Without enough to go around the second strap/belt and down the other side of the front. (ETA: Jennie has updated her pattern, so the binding amounts will be accurate going forward. I now have the correct yardage requirements file for my ePattern too, so I won't encounter that again! Awesome customer service!)
So, I debated. I could wait and go shopping and hope to find a matching hot pink binding. I could make my own (did I mention I don't enjoy making binding?). Or I could make a narrow hem all the way around, which would make the apron and belt narrower than the pattern called for.
I opted for #3, and I'm very happy with it. I like the hot pink around the pockets, but I'm not sure I would have liked it on the rest. And I know I wouldn't have liked making binding :) Seeing as I made the apron a little big, losing a 1/2" wasn't a big deal, I decided.
I hope that Sense & Sensibility comes out with more of these classes, as I think this is a great way to introduce sewing to the kids, either for a mom who has shaky skills herself, or if you just want the kids to hear "press everything" from someone other than mom! There were a number of tips incorporated in the audio to help make the final result more professional looking, and I appreciated that.
I also really liked the design. The criss-cross straps in the back do make the apron so that it can grow with the child, and so the straps will stay UP like they are supposed to. (The picture doesn't really do it justice!) The pockets are quite roomy (and that is the part that Trina keeps talking about... she is very proud of her big pockets).
The other great thing is that by printing at a smaller size, you can make a matching doll apron, and Sense & Sensibility also has an apron for Mom, along with other Edwardian patterns.