Pattern Head to Head: Knit Skater Dress
Previously I have posted reviews of the Mouse House Creations Janie Dress and The Bella Sunshine Designs Sahara dress. They are both knit skater dresses with fitted bodices and circle skirts. I had a hard time deciding between the two since they are so similar and decided to put them head to head with each other in a blog post so others can see how they compare.
Now I know there are a bunch of other knit skater dresses out in the pdf pattern world. But I’m only going to compare these two. ‘Cause I don’t feel the need to have any more patterns in this style. I think I’m covered between the two patterns.
The pattern is evenly graded between sizes. The sleeves are on the fold, but the front and back armscye are also identical. Each skirt length option is its own pattern piece so the pattern is a paper hog. The bodice lining is also a separate pattern piece which is slightly smaller than the bodice piece. As the sizes get bigger, the bodice side seams taper into the waist instead of remaining straight, which reflects the garment measurements well.
The instructions recommend using clear elastic to reinforce the shoulder and waist seams and understitching along the neckline. The result is a beautiful, clean neckline.
The pattern is evenly graded between sizes. The skirt options are nested inside each other and this pattern doesn’t include a lining so its much more paper friendly. Like the Sahara, the bodice side seams taper into the waist as the sides get bigger as the measurement chart indicates it should.
The bodice and sleeves on the Sahara fit very close to the body and is almost an empire waist length. The dress length circle skirt is meant to hit above the knee, which reflects Bella Sunshine Design’s vintage style. In my version I increased the skirt length to hit below the knee.
The bodice on the Janie is longer and looser than the Sahara and doesn’t have a bodice lining. Without any adjustments, the finished dress hits below the knee. The sleeves also fit looser than the Sahara and the shoulders sit a little too narrow on my daughter. My daughter does seem to have wide shoulders like me, but the Sahara shoulders were a bit wider on my daughter than the Janie. Overall, the Janie has a baggier, casual fit.
Options for the Sahara are confined to lengths. The pattern offers 4 sleeve lengths and 3 dress lengths. The only neckline included is a Ballet neckline which is cute, but not everyone wants that much of their daughter’s back exposed. In my version, I used the front neckline for both the front and back so the back isn’t such a large scoop. I also made the sleeves elbow length, which is not a length included in the pattern.
The Janie dress includes lots and lots of options. For the neckline, you not only have ballet scoop and regular back, but you have a cowl and faux Peter Pan Collar. The sleeves have 4 lengths and the dress has 2 lengths.
I feel like the Sahara is a very polished dress. The slim sleeves and lined bodice create a very close fit that is simple and elegant. Personally, I think the proportions of bodice to peplum are adorable, but I haven’t made it myself yet. I used this pattern for my daughter’s Easter dress and absolutely loved it as a Sunday/church dress. With the right fabric choice, I can see it working really well for modern, understated special occasion dresses.
Because of the longer, looser fit, the Janie seems to work really well as an every day play dress. It is really fast to put together since the bodice is finished with a band or a cowl neck instead of a bodice lining and it has just about every option you could want included in the pattern.