Pattern Reviews,  Sewing Tips

Pattern Review: Pickle Toes “Daisy”

Here’s a quick review of an even quicker pattern!

The criss-cross back jumper/apron/pinafore is a classic style that I remember from my childhood.  I lost my vintage paper pattern for it while working on a project making art smocks for my child’s school, and then acquired this McCall’s version somewhere along the way:


..however the fit is way off.  It looks like it’s falling off of the model’s shoulders!  Fixing the fit on this style has been on my endless “to-do” list…along with grading it for a more extensive size range…and then this week Pickle Toes released their “Daisy” pdf pattern, in sizes Preemie through Girls 16:


I’m not familiar with Pickle Toes but I took a chance based on the photos above, and I’m happy to say that Daisy has a much more realistic across-shoulder.  Compare McCall’s on the left to Pickle Toes on the right (both size 6 months):



Measured flat, McCall’s (tan tissue paper) is 6″ from shoulder-button to shoulder button, while Daisy (white pattern paper) is 5″:


That might not sound like much, but considering this is just a size 6 months, look what a difference that makes on the dressform  (McCall’s on the left and Pickle Toes on the right) and it’s easy to see why the McCall’s design was falling off of the model’s shoulders:


The instructions are clear and straightforward, with just enough detailed explanations, and no cutesy fonts or lingo.  I’ve been thinking about why  I prefer no-nonsense instructions: it’s because I work with factories all over the world: every word of sewing directions gets translated for the workers in every country, so the language must be direct (“Stitch shoulders”..not “now we are going to stitch our shoulders”). Many home-sewists prefer more chatty “hand-holding” directions…I totally get that, but I prefer the writing kept simple.

Fun fact: in Asia, every Tech Pac that you send to the apparel factory:


…gets covered in “chops” to explain each step to the workers:


The simpler the instructions, the less chance anything will get “lost in translation”.

Back to Daisy:  I’m pleased with the results. I didn’t take in enough seam allowance, so the straps are still a bit big, but the button placement is where it should be. The embroidery is just the corner of a vintage napkin that I layered on the front bodice before stitching to the lining :


Full disclosure: I did add some sweep to the sides (simple pivot of the pattern paper).  Next time I will try raising the center-front neckline 1/4″.  Totally personal preference, this has nothing to do with the integrity of the pattern.

The pattern itself could not be simpler, it’s a single pattern piece (an optional pocket is included), entirely lined (or reversible)…which makes it:

  • a good beginner pattern
  • perfect for when your overlock is getting a tune-up
  • fast, therefore good for quick gifts or for selling
  • great for machine-embroidery, since the scratchy insides get covered

I’d recommend this classic pattern to anybody who sews for little ones.

Thanks for reading, and happy sewing!

Best, Janet


  • Kellie Davis

    Wow! Thank you so much for this amazing review! I’m so glad you liked it! This was something I remembered my mom making me when I was little and I wanted to make them for my niece, but couldn’t find a pattern that was one piece like the vintage style I loved. It makes me happy to know it’s appreciated.

  • Bunny

    Great review and thanks, Janet. I also prefer very straightforward directions, directions that are direct, clear and not muddled by unnecessary wording.

  • [email protected]

    I imagine it changes as you grow and learn….I’ve heard many sewists say they prefer the chatty directions,and indicate that’s a big reason they prefer pdfs. Maybe I would have preferred that too, as a beginner. The nice ting is, there’s plenty of choice now in pattern-world!

  • Tibeca

    I have a similar pattern from a different designer. Let me just say it left a LOT to be desired. I may have to grab this one to sew up for my niece.

  • JustGail

    Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in a technical field for years, but I really really dislike chatty instructions. Give me a bullet point list and good drawings or photos any day. Chatty instructions devolve in my head to hearing “blah blah blahblah dee blah….” and I lose the instructions in the fluff.

    It’s interesting that a big 4 child’s pattern is also huge in the shoulder area, similar to adult women’s patterns get poor reviews for. I wonder if it extends to other big 4 childrens’ patterns or if this was an odd ball.

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