Something that I enjoy doing, is testing new patterns. There are so many pattern designers out there, and so many different items of clothing, it's very difficult to know if a pattern is going to be a good one or not without testing it.
After a while, you get to know particular designers, and can trust their work - I have a great "relationship" with Tadah! Patterns, I have made several different patterns of theirs multiple times in different sizes, and I know that they usually turn out as they should! My other go-to designers are Boo! Designs - mostly their older patterns, as most of their new patterns are made for knit fabric, and I've been focusing on cotton and linen - and Pattern Emporium. I like Pattern Emporium for pants, though I'd certainly try a blouse or dress if they made one which caught my attention.
Other designers make beautifully styled dresses, but I know that their patterns are not likely to work from a business perspective. Miss 7 is not especially tall, and fairly slim, so I know these patterns work well for her, but I also know that she is not the same build as most of the other children in her class. These patterns are designed to be "vintage" length, which is a little short for my tastes in general, but because Miss 7 is not tall, I don't need to adjust them for her. To make them standardised across the other dresses I offer would be a lot of careful testing!
I wanted to make this dress because of the square neckline and crossed button up back. I used some fabric I'd had for a while, and some wooden buttons I bought which were too orange for my original project. I also decided not to add the ruffles on the sleeves, or the bows on the sides, as I felt the double skirt with the ruffle on the bottom layer would be enough! I measured Miss 7, and she fell into the measurements for a size 7, so that is what I made. I had a few issues - my fabric was too heavy for a double layer gathered skirt, so I free-handed some box pleating. I also didn't like the exposed waist seam inside - Miss 7 can be quite sensitive, and exposed seams usually bother her. Unfortunately, the construction of the side panels meant that I couldn't simply enclose the seam with the lining, which is what I usually do with this designer. I could possibly work out a method to enclose it, but it would take a little more effort!
Once finished, the dress was a snug fit. It is supposed to be snug - you need it to be, otherwise the low sides would cause gaping at the front bodice - but it "feels" too tight when you do it up, even though that is the right fit. Miss 7 loves it - I realise there is going to come a point where she is too old for ruffles, but it's not happening yet! The dress has a sweet, vintage feel, and is a longer style than I've come to expect from this designer, so is a little long for Miss 7! All in all, it's a very pretty dress - but probably not one to be added to the catalogue!