I’ve been planning to teach Miss 11 Year Old to sew, but it’s one of those things we never got around to. When the TOS Homeschool Crew that I am part of was offered a chance to review an Edwardian apron from Sense and Sensibility, my daughter and I jumped at the chance.
We received an ePattern and eClass for the child’s Edwardian apron from Jennie at Sense and Sensibility. This included a multi-size pattern, sewing instructions, a class PDF, and a class audio MP3 download. Using these resources my daughter learned a lot about sewing while we made the apron together.
1. The Package
Our ePattern and eClass bundle contains ten PDF files and one MP3 file. The pattern files include a pattern cover, a measurement chart, a pattern piece thumbnail picture, a printer scale test page, sewing instructions, instructions to put the pattern pieces together, and the pattern pieces themselves. All sizes from 2-14 are included, with hints on how to make the pattern fit a doll. The class files include an introduction to the class, a 57 page PDF presentation with detailed pictures and a separate sheet of links, bonus video links for tricky parts of the pattern, and the MP3 class audio. Note that regular patterns are also available.
2. The Pattern
The measurement and yardage chart is similar to that on traditional patterns, complete with fabric suggestions, lists of notions, and notes. The thumbnail pattern piece picture is also traditional, but we found that in the case of an e-pattern it is very important.
The pattern pieces themselves come in a 25 page file that needs to be printed out and pieced together. Fortunately there are written instructions for this, as well as three video segments. The most important part of the pattern is in another PDF file, a test page containing a 6-inch ruler. It is crucial to print this page out and ensure that the printed ruler is indeed 6 inches long, since some printers automatically scale the pages. Obviously, if the test page ruler is not exactly 6 inches long, all the pattern pieces will be the wrong size as well.
The 25 page pattern sheet needs to be taped together, carefully matching the lines, and then each piece cut out to the required size. To make a different size apron, you just need to print out the 25 pages again, and cut out the required size.
The rest of the process — cutting, sewing, and finishing — proceeds as with any pattern. The instructions also show how to make fashion binding of the apron fabric itself, so that it is not necessary to use packaged binding.
3. The Class
The PDF class presentation is very detailed with careful explanations and many photographs of the construction of an actual apron from start to finish. The audio goes with the PDF, page by page, and explains it in great detail, with wonderful hints that make the class suitable for novice adult seamstresses although it is too complex for an inexperienced child to do without help. There are useful hints for experienced seamstresses as well. Throughout, there are references to online videos which Jennie has made to show how she sewed the tricky parts. It’s handy to be able to go over the class many times if something is confusing. At the end there are questions from a live class.
4. The Apron Itself
This apron is pretty but functional, as you can see in the other TOS Crew reviews. It has crossing strap ties which allow flexibility in fit and years of growth as well as huge as huge pockets which are very handy and pretty. Crossing the straps also prevents them from falling off the shoulders.
How We Used It
We had never done an ePattern, nor an eClass, and we have rarely listened to an audio on our computer, so this was all new to us. I have, however, done a lot of sewing in the past, so at least we had some experience there.
We printed out all the information and put it in a binder. Although the instructions suggest tracing the pattern onto interfacing for durability, we don’t anticipate making more than a few of each size, so we just reinforced the paper pattern and put it in a hole-punched, full-size envelope in the binder.
Piecing the pattern pieces together was a bit tricky. This was the first e-pattern we used, so we had no experience, and it took Miss 11 Year Old 1 ½ hours to put it together, with some help from me. Video links are available to help with this step, but our ancient computer wouldn’t let us download them (my computer has a lot of quirks, and this is one of them) and we managed well with the printed instructions.
Then we went shopping for fabric, bias tape, and thread, using the traditional measurement chart. The ribbon for the hanging loop we already had. After washing and ironing the fabric, we spread it out on our wood floor to pin and cut. As always happens when I buy a pattern, there was a lot of fabric left, perhaps even enough for small apron—and that thrilled the little misses!
Following the printed instructions, Miss 11 Year Old began by putting bias tape on the pockets. Since I have done a lot of sewing, I could help her, but she would not have been able to figure out what to do on her own without the eClass,and probably not even then. Although the wonderful eClass contained links to videos (some of them huge) to help with tricky parts of the sewing, we did without them. As we continued through the project, I did the work that required a steady foot, and my daughter did the rest: the zigzagging, basting, gathering, pinning, and some short stretches of top-stitching that could be done turning the sewing machine wheel by hand.
This eClass is very user-friendly and simple. I do know from experience, however, that sewing can sometimes be stressful.
If you’re an inexperienced, perfectionist seamstress with a deadline, sewing while small children are running around, you will get stressed and might need someone to help you even if you have the class.
If you are a novice sewing in a relaxed environment with the class on the computer while you sew, you should be able to manage without extra help. The video links, which show how to sew the tricky steps, would assist you.
If you are a young girl, you will probably need your mother’s help, but you should be able to make the apron yourself if you are patient and careful and can control the sewing machine pedal well.
If you are an experienced seamstress, you will not need the class, although it is helpful. I was thrilled to see that some of Jennie’s topstitching isn’t perfectly straight, just like mine.
Putting the ePattern together is a bit of work, but ePatterns are definitely cost-effective. Other advantages and disadvantages of ePatterns are mentioned on the website.
The apron we made looks so beautiful on Miss 11 Year Old that I will absolutely not let her do any baking in it! She has a simpler apron for messy jobs and this one is much too pretty to wash several times a week. Unfortunately, the size 14 apron we made is a bit too small for her, even though we followed the measurement chart carefully, but it fits Miss 9 Year Old well with room to grow. I would definitely recommend making the apron a size or two too large (that would allow for growth as well), shortening the skirt as needed. Soon we will give this apron to Miss 9 Year Old and then we will buy the lady’s Edwardian apron pattern (scroll down a bit on link page), which comes with online photo instructions, for Miss 11 Year Old.
I think that in the future, when she can control the sewing machine pedal a bit more accurately, my daughter will probably be buying more ePatterns from Sense and Sensibility. She loves old fashions and so many beautiful patterns are available. I find it a treat to explore the site; even the FAQ section is full of intriguing information!
When I emailed Jennie with a few questions, she responded quickly and warmly.
Purchase Information and More Reviews
The Edwardian apron pattern (both ePattern and paper version) and the accompanying eClass are available here. The ePattern costs $7.95 and the eClass is $19.95. There is a discount if you purchase them together for a total cost of $24.95.
More reviews are available at the TOS Homeschool crew blog.
I received this ePattern and eClass as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew to use and review.