children's clothing · sewing

Big Joey dress for Clare

A number of my sewing buddies know that I actively avoid Make It Perfect patterns after a not-so-good experience with them a few years back.  I suspect then that they will be surprised to discover that I have recently purchased and sewn one!  I rather liked the look of the Make It Perfect Big Joey dress when I saw it pop up on a few blogs (actually, more than a few) and when the patterns were on sale for half price, I decided that it was time to give them a second chance.  And I have to say that I really like the finished dress on Clare.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

This pattern comes in three size ranges. The smallest is 0-5 years, then the Big Joey for 6-10 years. There is also a Women’s version. The size chart only lists chest and base of neck to finished hem as a guide to sizing. It didn’t say if the chest measurement was actual chest or the finished garment chest. Clare measured size 6 around the chest if “chest” meant actual body measurement, but I had a feeling that just wasn’t going to work so made an executive decision and went for size 9, guided by the base of neck to finished hem measurement. As it turns out the size 9 is fine but certainly doesn’t have much room for growth. I will make size 10 next time.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

The pattern description from the website: A mini version of the Make It Perfect women’s Skippy dress, Joey is a pretty, everyday dress for little girls made with your favourite stretchy knit fabric. There’s plenty to smile about with its pretty gathered sleeves in a choice of three lengths, an optional cowl neck and a swingy skirt. Joey has a great, everyday shape featuring handy kangaroo-style pouch pockets. Make it in a solid colour or mix and match prints and patterns for endless different looks. Easy to put on, comfortable to wear and perfect for play. Joey is a dress for all tree-climbing, puddle-jumping and bike-riding adventures.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

The front pocket definitely attracted Clare to this pattern, and she also liked the dropped waist. Although the skirt is described as “swingy”, it’s really a simple A-line. It’s drafted with the hem extending in a straight line to the side seam, which makes the skirt longer at the sides than in the centre front and centre back. I measured the length of the side seam and altered the pattern piece to lengthen it at the centre front/back, curving it gently to meet the side seam. It’s only a small amount, but makes a difference. As far as I am aware – and do correct me if I am wrong – the designer does not have formal pattern drafting training or experience, and to me it is in areas like this that it shows. The skirt on Clare’s dress is the same length all the way around, and it falls and sits much more nicely in my opinion than many of the others I’ve seen.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

Clare chose the short gathered sleeve option for her dress. I didn’t pay much attention to the instructions when constructing the dress, both because I am fairly experienced in making knit dresses for kids and because I’d not been enamoured by my previous experience with Make It Perfect instructions. However, I did look at them briefly for this section. They suggest that the sleeves be inserted flat before sewing up the side seams and before adding the sleeve band. Since these sleeves were so short and had a fair degree of gather at the sleeve head I did it differently and inserted them in the round after sewing up the side seams and attaching the sleeve band. Once again, the drafting wasn’t great at the bottom of the sleeve where it attaches to the band, but because it’s a knit there is some leeway and it all worked out okay. I’ll alter the pattern piece a bit in that area before I make it next. The armhole depth is not all that great, although the shoulders are fairly wide. I might alter that too.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

The fabric came from Clear It, and is lovely quality. You’ve seen it before in Stella’s Ethereal dress, and the other colourway in Clare’s Belinda dress. The contrast bands were a random cotton/spandex knit from stash. They really give the dress a bit of added pop!  Construction was primarily on the overlocker, with the machine used for gathering and for twin needle topstitching.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

Next time around I’ll make the size 10 for my almost 12 year old, and will make the same pattern changes listed above. It is quite a versatile pattern, and one that I will use again, but I’m still not all that thrilled by the pattern drafting from this pattern company. However, I do like the finished dress, and so does Clare. Hooray!

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress


7 thoughts on “Big Joey dress for Clare

  1. That’s lovely! Looks great on her!

    I was just gearing up to sew my first Joey, and I’ve been looking at that skirt side hem too, thinking that it looked too long. Thanks for the tip — I think I’ll do exactly what you did.

    You’ve got me wondering if the 10 will work for my big 8-year-old, or if I need to just jump to the Skippy for her (yikes). I’ll study the measurements closely.

    1. Jenny, it is probably worth doing flat pattern measurements to determine size depending on the amount of ease that you like. Maybe email the designer and ask her to clarify whether sizing is finished garment measurements? I will do size 10 for Clare as a small almost 12 year old – so 10 for a big 8 year old might work okay too.

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