Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pattern Review - Izzy & Ivy Designs

So, while I wait (impatiently) for my fiber fill to arrive, I thought it would be a good idea to get started on sewing some birthday gifts for my niece.

I picked up an Izzy & Ivy Designs pattern sometime last year, and I finally liberated it from my pattern pile for this occasion.  Am I the only one that gets lured in by the great photography and exciting fabrics on these indie patterns?
Izzy & Ivy Designs

Normally, I'm a commercial pattern girl. I learned on the big name patterns, and I am accustomed to the ease and convenience of those tissue-paper-templates and idiot-proof-instructions. So, I thought I would do a review since indie patterns are new to me.

That being said, the problems started almost right away.

I didn't realize it when I bought this, but the Macy Giggles design uses a TON of fabric.  For size 7, they require more than 3 1/2 yards!! Whaaaaat?  I mean, I know that I am stash-busting this year and should be grateful to get rid of so much in one project, but that seems excessive to me. Do the girls in the picture look like they are wearing that much fabric? What if I had to buy new material for this? I'd be broke!!  But, I do have lots of fabric on hand, so I soldiered on..

And I was perplexed to find that there are only 2 pieces of pattern in this envelope - front bodice, and back bodice. Umm..weird.
That's when I flipped through the book and noticed that the rest of the pieces are just measure and cut. Which seems convenient...until I had to decipher the measurements.  Is that 24.5" wide by 34" long for the skirt pieces, or what?
After comparing the measurements on both pattern views as well as the trim dimensions, I figured it's actually 24.5" LONG by 34" WIDE.

Already. Annoyed. And, I hadn't even gotten to the "step-by-step" instructions yet! So, I got through all of my cutting, decided to skip the pockets since I don't care for them, struggled through the skirt facing description, and fought with my serger (which seems to have a timing issue). During this adventure, I made a few changes/additions of my own, and I am pleased with the final result. But, this pattern definitely proved to be a bit of a challenge for me. Which is why I have decided to GIVE IT AWAY!! (Details below..)

Review Summary - Izzy and Ivy Designs "Macy Giggles"
Skill level - Intermediate
(Disclaimer - I am receiving no incentive for this review. This is a pattern from 2009 that I picked up on the sale rack last year. The designer may have addressed some of these issues in their more recent offerings.)
  • Fun, contemporary design.
  • Easy-to-trace pattern pieces
  • "Measure & Cut" instructions reduce bulk in the envelope
  • Izzy & Ivy tag included

  • Way too much fabric being used here. With all of the gathering in the skirt, they could have cut down a bit. (Most home sewers do it as much for frugality as for art, so you should not have to spend more on a homemade summer dress than you would to buy a new one.)
  • Measurement instructions are difficult to understand. (I can't imagine that adding a "w" and "l" to the type would have been too much trouble.) Also, there are no grainline indicators to help decipher the measurement mystery.
  • Pictures and instructions are not clear or confusing (especially the skirt facing section). I can't imagine trying this out as a beginner.
  • The flower embellishments in the cover photo are not included in the pattern instructions. I would advise against showing sewn-on accessories that pattern purchasers cannot replicate without seeking out additional resources. It's frustrating.
After putting the names in a bowl, and having my son swish them around a bit before he picked one out, the winner is:
Congratulations, and thanks to those who commented.


Melle said...

I learned on commercial patterns and feel about them they way you do about.this one. I own probably 100+ and if I never ever use one again it will be too soon. I especially do NOT feel the directions are even complete much less clear. Lol

It's all about perspective and how the brain thinks and processes I guess. :)

On the other hand... I adore PDF patterns tho... I like the ease of reprinting to get just the size I want and not having to trace it out or.lose access to the other sizes. I like the updated, modern styles. And I LOVE being able to send a direct message to the designer and get s response when I have questions. :)

Yeah. I'm a fan of the Indie.

I guess I've been sewing with them, my target customer isn't looking for frugal... I don't have a daughter. I have a niece and a god daughter to spoil... And customers who are looking for the spectacular. :) 3 1/2 yards is nothing for a size 7! Lol

Clearwater Patsy said...

I have a few indie patterns, but haven't used them much. I do like the Oliver + S ones. They are not for beginners, but they do give a lot of detail on what you should do. I've made several of them for my grandchildren. I too typically use the commercial patterns. Recently I am making shirts for 2 grandsons with a Burda pattern. If I didn't know how to make a shirt, this pattern would not be useful at all! This was surprising to me. I might not buy many of the Burda patterns for kids anymore after this experience.

Shanna said...

ack! I can't.stand tissue paper patterns. First time I used a pj pants pattern. PJ PANTS. it doesn't get easier then that, but no the instructions were so bad I had fronts sewn on backs and it was a mess. no thanks. I have some and I have LOTS of indie. Fish sticks camp shirt WAY easier to follow (and put together more logically) then McCalls. Kwik Sew, are the bomb. Jalie, yes please. Ottobre, again yes. I am bummed you had a hard time with this though :(

Angela said...

Thanks for chiming in, ladies!
Your feedback has made me reconsider my initial reaction to indie. Maybe it's just this design, or pattern company. I think I'll keep an open mind and try other pattern companies. It's possible that I am just being stubborn and set in my ways. ;)