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Wednesday 23 April 2014

Pattern Review: The "Anywhere Dress" by Go To Patterns

I've been sewing up a storm lately and I'm excited to finally show you some completed projects.  These are two play dress for Miss S.  I really wanted to make her everyday clothes that can handle lots of movement and outside play.  The big pattern companies offer shockingly little in this category.  McCalls seems to think that little girls need closets full of frilly dresses that were in style a generation ago.  Not this little girl.  After much looking, I settled on a pattern from GoToPatterns.  This is my first experience with PDF sewing patterns and let's just say, I had my doubts, so I'd like to offer my thoughts on using this pattern.

But first things first.  Doesn't my Little Miss make a wonderful model?  She's just getting old enough to take instruction from the photographer.  I had her spinning around and reaching up to the sky.  We both laughed a lot.  At least half of the pictures were too blurry to use, but as every mom knows, if you take thirteen million pictures, one or two will turn out.

Pattern Review:  The "Anywhere Dress" by GoToPatterns

*Please Note:  I bought and paid for this pattern and have not been offered anything in exchange for this review.

A Versatile Pattern

I really like the simplicity and versatility of this pattern.  It's perfect for building a little girl's wardrobe.  The four sleeve options are a great start, but don't be boxed in.  I achieved two very different looks out of the same pattern through simple colour blocking and the addition of a coloured band at the bottom hem.  You could make this dress longer (as in maxi dress) or shorter (as in T-shirt).  You could embellish it with top stitching, trims, buttons, pockets or appliques.  You could add a belt or sew ties into the side seams.  You could get really brave and reshape the neckline or skirt.  So many options; one simple pattern.

On that note, I should mention that this pattern is drafted in one piece front and back with no seam at the waistline.  To achieve the colour blocking on the purple dress, I cut the pattern at the "lengthen here" line and added seam allowances to the bodice and skirt pieces.

Preparing the PDF Pattern

Printing and piecing the PDF pattern took some time, but wasn't difficult.  Every page has lettered tabs to match up, so match them and tape it all together.  Done.  This pattern prints in black and white, using different styles of dashed line to differentiate the sizes.  I found this a little hard on the eyes, so I traced the lines for my size in coloured highlighter to make cutting easier.

Sewing with Knit Fabric

If you haven't worked with stretch knit fabrics before, I strongly recommend reading the tips included with this pattern.  They're very helpful.  I used a slight zigzag stitch on one dress (my vintage sewing machine doesn't have the lightning bolt stitch often used for knits) and a double needle on the other.  I've had good results with both techniques in the past and both worked here.

Sewing the Pattern

This is a simple dress and it comes together very quickly -- an evening or two.  The cut pieces fit together as they should -- always a good thing -- and there is no complicated sewing involved.

I would have liked to see some markings on the pattern (I'm talking about the notches and dots that help line pieces up evenly).  They can be easily added by a marginally experienced sewist, but their absence could lead to less than satisfactory results for beginners.

Overall the assembly instructions are clear, the accompanying illustrations are simple and helpful, but that lack of detail shows up again.   There are no indications, for example, to trim bulky seam allowances, clip curves or press seams in specific directions.  These are little things that add up to a very big difference in the overall quality of the finished garment.  Again, anyone with a little apparel sewing experience will know to do these things, but beginners won't.

Fit of the Finished Garment

I made a size 2T for my tall, skinny almost-two-year-old.  As you can see in my pictures, it fits.  There is plenty of space for movement through the shoulder and sleeve areas.  The dress, as cut to pattern, falls at the knee (see the purple dress).  Great.  I did hit one snag, though.  It didn't go over her head.  I discovered this at just the right moment -- after sewing the neckline but before sewing the side seams.  Because the pattern uses a facing, I was able to easily add a keyhole in the back with a button closure (see my pictures).  This may not be an issue in the larger sizes, but if you're sewing for a toddler (they're known for having big heads) I strongly recommend adding the keyhole.


Preparing a PDF pattern takes a little time, but isn't complicated.  The sizing and fit are appropriate, except for the trouble I had getting it over my daughter's head.  Be sure to test this and add a keyhole if necessary.  Experienced sewists will see this simple dress come together quickly and can have fun customizing it.  The lack of pattern markings and overly simplified assembly instructions, however, make it inappropriate for beginners.  This is too bad, as the pattern is advertised to be "perfect for beginners".  

Overall, this is a good little pattern.  It's a simple, versatile dress that will fit into any little girl's wardrobe.  I am sure to make it again and will mostly likely try other patterns from this designer.


  1. This is an EXCELLENT review. I hope you send it to the pattern company so that they can adjust their instructions. It's those little details that make such a big difference in stitching up a successful garment or a dud.
    Your Little Miss makes the most adorable model, and your camera captures it all wonderfully. Love the one with the backwards glance over her shoulder.

  2. Adorable! (the model and the dress;). Nice review on the pattern too.

  3. What a little cutie! The dresses are gorgeous too! xxoo

  4. I am not a seamstress...but oh my is that dress cute! Not quite as cute as the model but still...I wouldn't mind having the dress in purple for myself.