OAL2017: Mae PDF and a Rabbit Hole


Those are some of the designers/companies whose PDF patterns I’ve used.  Just so you know that I have an idea what PDF’s are like, which is variable.  The Blue Ginger Doll Mae is different.  If you aren’t familiar with Blue Ginger Doll, it opened in 2012 and seems to be out of business now, reason unknown.  There was a brief reopening for a pattern sale last march, but the site is now defunct, again.  Some of the patterns are still available through Craftsy, Girl Charlee and probably elsewhere.  It’s a shame too because BGD has an awesome design aesthetic and features a vintage vibe that rocks that line of vintage styling and modern feel.

Before I get into the specifics of the Mae PDF I’m going to detour briefly.  In looking up more about BGD and the designer I found a thread on Pattern Review about the Winifred and this review .  Having purchased the same kit from Craftsy, I was curious and fell down the rabbit hole.  Having read the various reviews  I’m wondering if this is completely off the wall or did she just make the dress in too small a size?  Nothing against Sue Parrott or her review, I’m just trying to avoid a catastrophe myself, like the dress and have seen others make great versions.  In her review she says it doesn’t fit over their heads (her daughter is modeling) and she took out the back waist darts, it also doesn’t show the front waist darts-all of which lead me to think too small, plus it looks tight across the shoulders and if those things were in the waist and skirt wouldn’t look too big.  Another review (of a successful make) mentioned that the pattern gave the same measurements for body and finished garment.  Clearly that’s an error on the part of the designer that would result in exactly this problem?  If I just go by the finished measurements and size up for ease and FBA as normal, might I expect to have good results?

Okay, back to the pattern at hand.  The Mae is a simple pattern, but I can’t recommend it for beginners because there are some drafting issues.  Nothing that would really slow me down and things that may have been left out in what could be the typical short hand of an experienced garment maker, but the collection together is worth mentioning.  Some of the issues are simply due to when this was designed, which is before copyshop versions of PDF patterns.  This copyshop version is clearly the print at home version which has had the tiling removed.  It doesn’t have a proofing square-problematic for any PDF.  I measured and checked the pattern measurements and will have to leave a little room for luck.  If this doesn’t work out I’ll let you know.


First the good.  Abbey, the designer, did an awesome job selecting and laying out her lines.  They are black and white, which means no faded invisible greys or need to print in color.  The dots and dashes vary and are easily distinguishable.   I hate trying to decide if it is the small dash or the slightly smaller dash, which is necessary when the designer just scales down the dashes, particularly on pieces like the scalloped neckline facing.

IMG_1519 - Copy

Unfortunately, the lines don’t continue to the edge of the pattern for all sizes, but stop at the smallest size.

IMG_1516 - Copy

Some labels don’t fit in the pattern piece at all.


The button holes are not marked for size. There is also a change in spacing for the buttons/button holes. this might be an awesome design feature or it might be uneccessary, seeing as how I want to change it to a side zip, I hope to never know.

IMG_1518 - Copy

Lastly, the crosshairs on the waist darts, particularly the outer ones Could someone tell me what they are there for?  I could see marking the center of the dart is, but they are so clustered you’d be better off just folding the dart.  Maybe it is my eyesight, but there is zero probability of me being able to determine which of those center crosshairs goes to which dart.

I expect this to be a completely workable pattern, but it shows room for improvement.

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4 Responses to OAL2017: Mae PDF and a Rabbit Hole

  1. Thanks for the heads up. Sorry to hear you are having such trouble with the FBA and darts, though I’m expecting the same. I’m a K cup so I’m dreading that a bit. In the PDF version the directions are clearly scanned; are tiny and are sideways. Having looked at the pictures I decided I had an idea how it’d work and that I’d probably change some of the order anyways to give the bottom hem a cleaner finish. This weekend was supposed to be Mae making, but so far bathroom remodeling and childcare haven’t allowed time. Are you pleased with the garment overall?

  2. Just thought I’d report back in. I sewed up a muslin of this today. I confused myself with tryingthe FBA so I decided to see if I could get away with the largest size. I’ll need to add to the sides as it’s current very snug but everything is in the right place although I did have to move the darts in. I’m an E cup and apparently it’s drafted for D. My full bust is 46″ so I’d say it’s true to size (in that it’s about 1″ too small. It fits with basically zero ease which is far too snug) but I can do a cheater grade up and just expand the side seams 3/8″ or so.

    Also the instructions were AWFUL imo. Everything’s in a weird order so you do half a step and then half another unrelated step and hen complete the first step. I got thoroughly confused!

  3. That’s funny, as that is where I am as well. Though I noticed that the finished and body measurements are the same for the waist. I’m planning to add wearing ease when I do the FBA, but have never done an FBA with fish eye darts. I’ve never heard of the 1/2″ from the dart tip thing.

  4. The cross hairs are (I think) where you would mark the dart with an awl. It’s supposed to be 1/2″ from the tip of the dart, so that the hole isn’t visible when sewn. That’s how I mark my darts and I really like it, it’s efficient and easy to do. But despite being pleased to have the position marked – I usually have to mark it myself, obviously – I was surprised there was no explanation. Although I haven’t yet read the instructions so perhaps there is.

    I was a bit shocked about the button thing too. mind you, I had a similar issue with the Asaka Robe by Named, which was NOT cheap but was one of the worst pdfs I’ve ever used – lining up issues, and numerous things unmarked.

    I’ve only sewn the BGD Violet dress. I liked it a lot but knits and wovens are quite different. We’ll see how the Mae goes! I haven’t sewn any of her other patterns, mostly because of too many patterns, not enough time, but thinking about it I admit that the scarcity of makes, and the large variance in how the same pattern looks on different people (in terms of fit issues rather than style if you know what I mean?) has given me pause.

    I have the hard copy pattern of Mae – I bought almost all of them as a bundle when they were on sale one time. It’s a bit odd in that it’s on regular paper like you would get if you printed at a copy shop, not thin paper. I have only traced it so far, I need to do an FBA and I just haven’t had the brain recently due to work being nuts, and having a cold. I’m hoping to get to it this weekend. I’ll report back! 😛

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