Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sewing Made Simple with Sense and Sensibility Patterns

Picture 2Product: Girls' Edwardian Apron Pattern and eClass
Company Sense and Sensibility Patterns
Price: $24.95US
Long ago, when I was just a wee child, I told my teacher that my mother would be happy to sew 10 little elf costumes for an upcoming Christmas concert. What I didn't realize, was that sewing actually takes some time and with only about 2 or 3 days before the show, I was expecting a lot from Mum. However, after her initial "You did what??!!" she pulled out her sewing machine and started to stitch up little elf hats, skirts and shoes. It was magical to sit beside her and watch her work. This is the first time I remember "sewing" with my mother but not the last. There was always something special about the experience and I wished to be able to create like her. Unfortunately, I did not inherit my Mum's agility with the sewing machine. Generally, whatever project I start ends with me pulling my hair when it doesn't work out like planned. Because of this, I choose NOT to sew with the kids around and if I do having sewing to do I generally stitch by hand. I would, however, love to be able to share the same type of special moments I shared sewing with my Mum with my own children. A little piece of Grandma, as she is no longer with us.

A few months ago, a friend posted a link on a website I frequent to the Girls' Edwardian Apron Pattern by Sense and Sensibility Patterns. We thought it was gorgeous but without much experience with sewing we mostly admired it, wishing someone else would make it for us! When I was given the opportunity to review it, and the eClass, I was excited but very apprehensive at the same time. Vesions of threads getting caught, and needles breaking amongst other possible mishaps danced through my head. I e-mailed Jennie Chancey (creator of Sense and Sensibility Patterns) to thank her for the opportunity to review and let her know of my fears of ruining her pattern and not being able to actually finished. She reassured me that she included the eClass as part of the review so that even beginners could complete the project. She also said that if I had any questions she would be available to help (as she would with any of her clients). With that in mind, I decided to go for it.

I am so glad that I did. It was a pleasure to be able to start a project and end up with a finished, albeit not perfect, product in the end. The eClass, consisting of a slide show and a 45 minute instructional audio track from Jennie was great! She was so friendly that it felt like having a friend right there holding my hand guiding me through the steps. Even without the accompanying videos (I could not get them, in their windows format, to run on my Mac) I was able to get a good understanding of all the steps involved (even creating my own bias binding). The ePattern wasn't near as intimidating as it looks when it is first printed off. I did get a smile from my mailman, though, when he saw me using the window as a light box to piece the pattern correctly. Despite the extra work the ePattern is great because you'll never loose a piece again, or rather you can just print off another. It also make sewing numerous patterns of different sizes a breeze. You can even use your printer settings to shrink the pattern to a size that is appropriate for a doll if you want to make an extra special matching set for that little person in your life. The pattern itself is only a few pieces so easy to handle as a beginner.

Making bias binding, however, took FOREVER, and in the end I ended up using packaged bias binding. I did need to purchase more bias binding then was called for in the pattern (I believe this is an error that has now been fixed) and as I had to buy more anyways, I ended up adding bias to the bottom hem of the apron as well. I find it gave the apron a nice finished looked. I find that the dark binding with my fabric choice is quite striking.

For the most part everything went quite smoothly, though, I did get hung up about 10 minutes from the end of the project. I ran out of thread on my bobbin and for the life of me I could not get my sewing machine to pick of the thread to bring it through the plate so I could continue to sew. The project took me about 7 hours from start to finish but I seriously spent a couple HOURS trying to figure out how to get the bobbin threaded through the top plate. Initially, my husband threaded it for me, then the second time I ran out of thread, I tried and tried, but finally got my husband to do it again ( and of course he was so quick he didn't actually show me how he did it!). The final time, I ran out of thread he wasn't not home and I desperately wanted to show him the finished project when he arrived. I fought with the machine for over an hour. At one point it actually brought me to tears of frustration. I finally managed to get it done, though. Just don't ask me to do it again because I probably wouldn't be able to! I could have completed this project, as a beginner, in about 5 hours if I had only known how to properly use my machine. It's probably a good idea to really understand how your machine works before taking on this project. The eClass is great but it does assume that you have the basics down before beginning.

In the end, it all turned out well and we couldn't be happier with the results.





As you can see, Morgaine LOVES it. Her favorite part is the pockets and I am sure that she will have fun collecting rocks and flowers in them. I'm also loving that because of the criss-cross straps she'll be able to wear size 4 for several years without having to have a new one made (though the pattern is easy enough that I have plans to make more for friends and family). I took pictures of my tall 6 year old boy wearing it and it still fits well. He, has forbidden me from posting the pictures on my blog, though! You'll have to take my word for it.

I enjoyed this project immensely and I am already looking at Sense and Sensibility for my next project. I love the modest, elegant and timeless style of Jennie's patterns and Iook forward to sharing more of my creations in the coming months. Check out her website. If you are a lover of vintage clothing you will be glad that you did! I cannot wait for my next creation!


  1. Great job - I love it! I may even get brave enough to try an e-pattern too :)

  2. Merit, I am sure that you would be able to! Like I said, the pattern was easy enough to put together with the help of the window!

  3. Hmm, I am wondering how my review ended up posting on Sense and Sensibilities site. I didn't put it there!