Megan Nielsen Patterns - Matilda Dress Review

Well! This is quite an exciting day!

I have just launched my brand new website!! As I prepare to open my online shop selling hand dyed yarn, knitting patterns, art prints, and eventually sewing patterns, I wanted to up the ante and design a website that would be able to grow and expand as necessary and really reflect my long term goals. Thank you so much to all of you for inspiring me and encouraging me to keep at it. None of this would have happened without your support. And now, before I get too cheesy, I want to tell you about a very special first post.

I finally get to tell you all about the Megan Nielsen Matilda dress. Seriously though, I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for this pattern to be released! I am so in love with it that I actually made two versions, which is something I never do. (A quick disclaimer: I received this pattern for free in exchange for instructive feedback. I was not asked to blog about it. All the opinions mentioned here are my own.) This is a pretty picture heavy post, but I didn't think it made much sense to split it into two nearly identical posts. Now then, let's get on with it, shall we?

My first dress is made from a cutesy safety pin cotton fabric that I purchased from Joann out of the clearance section. I am all about novelty prints, and this one is adorable without being too obvious. Win-win! 

The second dress is made from a Waverly print fabric my mum gave me for my birthday last year. It was a tad bit more difficult to use since it is a directional print. I only had three yards, so there was a good amount of "pattern tetris" involved. I did have to narrow the skirt slightly in order to get everything cut out. Something to keep in mind: this did pull the pockets to the side just a little which isn't noticeable until I put my hands in them, but then it feels a bit awkward. 

Matilda Dress - French 1.jpg
Matilda Dress - French 7.jpg

Whenever I pattern test, I try to stay as true to the original draft as possible so that I can give accurate feedback. Matilda has princess seams and I expected to need a pretty drastic FBA. I cut a straight size M, but o n the front and side front I tapered from the M at the top, to the XL at the fullest bust point, and then back to the M at the waist. This gave me maybe an additional 1/2" at each of the front seams. Let me tell you, I was shocked to discover that this was the only adjustment I had to make! I could probably do with a touch more room in the bust, but it is close enough to perfect that I'll probably leave it as is. I always have issues with princess seams, so the painlessness of this make was a huge relief.

While I think the pockets on the bodice are super cute, I decided to leave the flaps off on my safety pin dress. I think the flaps would accentuate my bust a little more than I'm comfortable with. For the "French" dress I omitted the pockets entirely, and I can't decide which way I like better!

One of my favorite parts about this pattern is the pockets. I love pockets. They are super handy. You can put everything in them: phone, wallet, keys, bits and bobs, and, my favorite, your hands! That being said, in-seam pockets are kinda annoying to sew. They're probably my least favorite part of sewing a dress.

I think the Matilda pockets are ingenious. Because they are made up of lots of straight lines instead of curves, they are super easy to sew and they're just the right size. I have been sorely tempted to use the skirt/pocket portion of the Matilda for every new dress I make! 

I will say, the amount of topstitching involved in making this dress is quite intimidating! I think topstitching looks amazing, but it is no joke to actually do. And the collar. I don't know what was so scary about the collar/collar stand, but for both dresses, I got to that point, and then they sat for forever in my sewing area. It's quite ridiculous. The instructions are so well laid out that sewing the collar is easy as pie, but my brain seems determined to shut down the minute I attempt it. Then two or three weeks later I come back to it and finish the dress in half an hour. 

Instead of sewing a bazillion buttonholes on my temperamental sewing machine, I decided to use these plastic snaps. They are very straightforward to install. I used snap pliers to put them on, and it does take a bit of hand work, but it was much better than buttons. Be careful to mark your fabric correctly, since the snaps do pierce holes in the fabric. As long as you're careful, it shouldn't be a problem.

Matilda Dress - Safety Pin 8.jpg

That's it from me today! I hope you'll have a peek around my new site. I'm pretty thrilled with how it turned out!

~Emily

P.S. I made the black beret out of some craft felt. If you want to make one too, I have a tutorial planned!