The Juniper Pattern aka “Choose Your Own Adventure”

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I’d like to eventually make myself the goal of taking a capsule approach to the patterns I buy. Right now, I’m as successful in limiting pattern purchases as I am at cutting myself off from fabric (not at all).

However, if I were to restrict myself to a few base patterns (or need to justify another purchase to a partner), the Juniper from Kelly at Sew a Little Seam would more than make the cut. Even better, there is a code in the FB group for 30% off until Monday May 1, 2017.

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Options Galore 

The Juniper is a woven dress, tunic, or top and all the options add up to over 300 potential combinations. You think that was a typo? Let’s add some bold font this time: OVER 300 COMBINATIONS!

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Take a peek at these line drawings above. Most patterns I buy have options for sleeves and hem lengths but Sew A Little Seam really went the extra mile. Or, in this case, miles. Depending on your fabric and selection of options, your Juniper can be flower girl elegant or playground casual.

In testing, I was internally calling it the Choose Your Own Adventure pattern. Remember those amazing books as kids where you decide whether the character went to space or swam in the ocean? The Juniper is that but on steroids.

Think back to how easy it was to flip throughout those adventure books according to the options you select. The same goes for how Kelly organized the pattern instructions. Each time you finish an option, you continue to the next step or follow the instructions for how to find your next option.

A sewist shall never use outdated measurements.
The Juniper fits 3 months (16.5″ chest) to 12 years (30″ chest). I learned the hard way that a two-year-old can shoot up 5 inches taller and shrink 2 inches around the waist in mere months.

The sewing sin of not measuring is more pronounced with a woven than a knit. Luckily, my initial version (blue bodice) in size 12mo will eventually fit. My second version (pink bodice) was a size 6mo with the length of a 2 and fits like a dream.

While I selected the same options for both versions, there are also multiple sleeve options (cap, flutter, etc.), including encased elastic, bound, or rolled in multiple lengths. You also have the option of a front or back button placket (full or half length), pintucks (full or half length), and pockets.
Pintucks and Gathering: Not Too Intimidating After All

There are some techniques that might challenge a complete sewing newbie but the pattern instructions are terrific and the Sew a Little Seam pattern support group is there to help you over any roadblocks. This was my first time with pintucks and they are a breeze compared to their time suck sister, pleats.

I love the look of gathered skirts and my daughter adores full skirts but I might unknowingly dodge them because they can be more labor intensive. The “proper” way to gather is to run two (some people prefer three) basting stitches, hold the bobbin threads and neatly arrange your gathers. This Threads video shows that method as well as two others (wide zig zag over a cord, cut a piece of elastic the desired final size, stretch, and sew over the elastic). Between us, I’ve also been know to say f*** this, and run just one basting stitch. What method do you use?

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Future Junipers

I recently drove past a local thrift shop and saw they were having a 50% off sale. You guys post gorgeous upcycled garments and I want to try too so I got a men’s button down dress shirt. I love the color and the weight and drape of the shirt. It is meant to be a Juniper dress, not a work shirt.

My idea is to cut a few corners and reuse the placket. The Juniper even has front and back pattern pieces for placket and no placket so I get to dodge the seam allowance hokey pokey. I’m still a newer seamstress so there is probably something I’m not accounting for but I’ll definitely give you an update and obligatory before and after pics once its completed. Half the fun in sewing is the journey, right?

***I received the final pattern in return for my time and contributions during testing, but my opinions are fully my own. This review contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission of any sales. This helps support my growing fabric collection and is much appreciated.

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