Christmas Elf and pattern review

I’ve finished up my last Christmas dress.  Sadly, it’s not exactly what I had expected.  I hate when that happens!  I thought I’d write-up a review of the pattern so that nobody else will have the same experience.

With Christmas fast approaching, I had to get the dress done quickly.  Wanting a dress that wasn’t quite so traditional, I chose the same dress that I had designed for Australian Smocking and Embroidery – a basic yoke dress with a lowered neckline and no collar.  That dress fits my granddaughter perfectly right now, so it was an easy choice for me to make.


This dress was featured in Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine, Issue #88 (Red Birds).  I designed the dress, sent the pattern pieces along with the dress in to the magazine and the dress pattern is in the pull out section of the magazine.  Obviously, they had their own model and photographer.  I love this dress on Ella – love the neckline, sleeve length and, well, pretty much everything about it.  Could this be any cuter on Ella!?!?!?  Such a great fit as well!

Because of all my recent sewing, the room was trashed filled with creative inspiration, so I chose to pull out the magazine and trace off the pattern rather than find my originally submitted pattern.  I traced off the size 4 (same size I sent in) and proceeded with the sewing – I was on a mission to get it done.  It wasn’t until after the bodice was entirely finished and I was pressing the neckline that I noticed that it seemed smaller.  I wasn’t going to deconstruct and re-sew the whole bodice, so I decided that it would just have a closer neckline, though I wasn’t happy about the change.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s the Christmas dress.


The neckline is significantly higher and the dress is larger.  I should have known that the dress sizing would be larger – the AS&E patterns are always  more generous in fit.  A size 3 would have been a better choice for that.  I take full responsibility for that mistake.  However, the totally different neckline is inexcusable as far as I’m concerned.


The magazine features the yellow dress, so one would expect to get a dress with an open neckline, and not a close-fitting neckline.  It is the editor’s choice to make changes, but when you change the “lines” of a pattern but then show a dress that does not reflect the changes and no mention is made of the changes – aka:  “we have chosen to give the dress a higher neckline than the modeled garment” – that hits a nerve with me.  I thought I was sewing the same dress and clearly it isn’t the same.  Needless to say, I’m disappointed.  I suspect anyone else that has made this pattern has had the same experience.

Seamstress beware – this is not the dress you’ll be getting in the magazine pull-out.  If you want this neckline, you need to trim away at least 1/4″ – 3/8″ all around.


On the positive side, I love Janet’s new smocking plate!  The elves are adorable!!!  Ella was ecstatic about “Elfie” as she calls him.  Another positive is that I made the dress long enough – it will fit again next year.  As cute as Ella is, I’m sure that the generous fit won’t be noticed by too many that will be seeing her.  🙂  Also, observers will be unaware of the fact that I had hoped for a lower neckline.  LOL!  So, really, it’s only me that is bothered by this.


My other “fail” for the day was a pair of pants for Ella.  I measured her at the end of September for pants length, so thought I had that made as well.  Wrong again.  She’s grown!  The pants are too short.  Oy!!!  Back to the drawing board.  Unfortunately, I have a second pair of too short pants cut out.  LOL!  Some days are just like that!

My suggestion of the day – rush over to Janet’s website and get her Elf plate and have some fun smocking.  The pull out a tried and true pattern and sew it up for Christmas!  You can bet that’s what I’ll be doing for Easter dresses!!!

Happy stitching!!!



8 thoughts on “Christmas Elf and pattern review

  1. Frances Suzanne

    I LOVE your “red birds” dress!!!! And, you are being waaaaaaayyyy too hard on yourself about the Elf dress!! It’s all about expectations isn’t it, and it wasn’t what you were wanting…. Still, a very cute dress that looks like it will get LOTS of wear before the Christmas season has come and gone!

    1. Kathy Post author

      thank you – yes, it’s about expectations. However, I do think that it’s a “reasonable” expectation to have the pattern look like that modeled garment. That’s my complaint. She will get plenty of wear out of this dress as it will fit next year as well! 😀

    1. Kathy Post author

      Patterns frequently get changed without mentioning to the designer – that’s part of signing off on the contract. I don’t have an issue with the fact that the pattern was changed. I do have an issue with the fact that the garment modeled is not a true reflection of the pattern offered in the magazine. To me, that’s deceptive. Anyone looking at the modeled garment would expect a lower/open neckline and that’s not the way that they changed the pattern design. I only want others to be aware of this change. Had I known this, I would have redrawn the neckline prior to sewing the dress. I’ve clearly marked my pattern now to reflect the change in the pattern. I won’t be making that mistake again.

      Yes – the pants will definitely need a second ruffle. I already have the first ruffle “on”. LOL!

  2. Linda S. in Illinois

    Kathy, This is one of THE cutest Christmas dresses I’ve ever seen! And your model couldn’t possibly be more darling! Truely, if you had not mentioned the neckline being higher than you wanted I would never have noticed. I’ve heard many say “we are our own worst critic”….and boy that is so true ; ).

  3. Carla Fiedler

    Kathy, the model in her new dress is gorgeous! Maybe the higher neckline on this dress which will be worn in the cooler months of the year will end up being a warm blessing.


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