My sister-in-law had a birthday this summer, and after totally striking out on ideas for her, I finally just flat-out asked what she wanted. :) She sent me a few links of clothing patterns she was interested in, and from those, I went with the Frog Legs and Ponytails patterns Amelia Shirt for her and Caroline Dress for my niece. She wanted to do some mother-daughter dressing, so with these, I chose to make them identical. (In the future, I may switch the main fabric/trim to make them close but different.) I consulted with my brother while in the fabric store, texting him pictures of different combinations, and we went with the purple and yellow sundrenched dragonflies (JAF).
This is the Amelia Shirt for my sister-in-law, and IIRC, I went with a size M. This was a total guess, as I didn't know her measurements. Fortunately, she let me know that it was a pretty good guess. :)
And the Caroline Dress for my niece. She was about 18 months at the time, so I went with the 12-24 month size. As you can see, the main difference in appearance between the two patterns is the length of the contrast band.
These are both basically pillowcase dresses/shirts, and there are plenty of versions out there, as well as free patterns/tutorials online. However, I appreciated having the full range of sizes available to me, so that I didn't have to do much guessing or reinvent the wheel. If I had been making this for myself or someone who lived in my house, I would probably not have purchased the patterns. But for working long-distance, it was much better to go with patterns. And that said, I thought that the patterns were well-drafted and thoroughly written, without being too detailed. I like the professional pictures, as well. And I appreciated that the designer gave cutting measurements instead of actual patterns for the squares and rectangles, since I prefer to use my rulers and rotary cutter. For those who prefer actual patterns and scissors, this may not be a good pattern for you.
I'm just thrilled that my sister-in-law loved the results, and I have more fabrics to make another set. This time, since we're starting to head into fall, I may go up a size for my niece's dress, so that hopefully she can still wear it next year.