Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Princess VFT "Nora" Dresses

"As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary 
to build character in people"
Joseph B. Wirthlin

I hope my character was built a bit stronger!  This post was a challenge for me to write.  I enjoy writing posts praising designers and patterns and have not written one where I was so disappointed by a pattern before.  However, in the interests of other people who like to sew for little ones, I feel that I need to be honest and perhaps keep someone else from wasting time, energy, and money.

These pretty dresses were fraught with issues for me.  I had such high hopes for surprising three of the little girls I have been sewing for with dresses fit for princesses complete with crowns. I started with some gorgeous fabric with castles, unicorns, stars, and deer and a princess crown panel from Hawthorne Supply Co. and a dress pattern from Violette Fields Threads called "Nora".

The dress style is charming with a square neck and double skirts that are open on the side.  I fell in love with the many sample/tester dresses on the VFT site and purchased it along with several of the other patterns.  (Mind you, I have made three other VFT patterns without issues and loved them. See post HERE for the VFT "Luna" dress I made recently for the Sew Along challenge at Project Run & Play.)  I measured the girls and chose the sizes on the pattern that would be the best fit (or so I thought).  It is unusual to have to add chest measurements and ease measurements to get the right size.  Patterns usually have the ease added in already.  I did as directed and I measured and added the appropriate ease and still ended up with dresses that were too small!!!  I have sewn for little girls for more than 30 years and never disappointed a child like I did with this dress.  It may be user error on my part but this has not happened to me before!

Although tighter than I would like, Harper and Rory were able to get theirs on and wear them for photos.  Harper complained that she had trouble moving her arms.  Rory's fit was better but the wearing time will be short.  Tatum's dress was so tight that getting it on her was tough and the back didn't meet to close!!!  She was nearly in tears.  I felt so badly that I had disappointed her! 

Harper and Rory got to keep their dresses and did wear them a couple of times this summer.
This is Harper's dress.  She adores unicorns!  The panel for the crowns makes two crowns and has a panel for a pillow or something.  I used the panel for Tatum's dress overlay and the crown outline to make her a crown, too.

Fabric:  "Kingdom" house fabric line by Hawthorne Supply Co.  (HERE).

Note the tightness across the chest and arms.  Harper complained that it was uncomfortable to move her arms.

I deviated from the pattern in the construction of the skirt to the bodice so that there were no exposed  seams by sewing the front bodice and overlay skirts together and the under skirt and bodice lining together RST.  I was pleased with this finish and knew that the little girls would like the smoothness against their skin. I also lined the sleeves.  

Pretty butterfly buttons were purchased just for these three dresses.

The sleeves have very little ease and there is no difference between the front and the back at the sleeve cap. The arm hole openings are exactly the same on the front and back bodices, as well.  This causes an ill fitting sleeve and very little ease.  I need to pay attention to this when using other patterns with sleeves from VFT and alter the fit.

This is Rory's dress.  The one that fit the recipient best.  Probably because she is losing her rounder toddler shape now that she is three years old.

I added some length before cutting the skirts because the "Nora" style is a very short one but still needed to add another inch with Swiss edging.

After making these dresses, I went back to the VFT site and checked out the photos of the "Nora" dresses and noticed that nearly all the little girls have their arms down.  Could it be that there were more dress makers with the same issues?

Although she didn't complain, you can see the tightness across the back bodice of Rory's dress as she moves around.

Harper ended up with Tatum's dress.  Although she is two dress sizes smaller than Tatum, this dress fits her.  She wore it to school last week.

The styling is beautiful on this dress but I will not use this pattern again.  I can easily create the dress using pattern blocks that I know fit well.  My reason for purchasing it in the first place was to save myself time in drafting the look.


  1. That's disappointing. Have you also told the manufacturer/publisher? It may be something that hasn't been picked up by their test stitchers, and they'd be glad to put right if given the feedback.

    1. Yes, I did go back and I wrote a detailed review on my experience. Unfortunately, it has never been posted by VFT. I also wrote two positive reviews on two other patterns and they have not been posted on the site either.

  2. Those fabrics are so sweet, and I love the Swiss edging along the hems, and those pretty butterfly buttons! I'm sorry the pattern didn't work well- I've always loved the style of VFT patterns but haven't sewn any.


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