I am so in love with this dress. I knew it would be cute, but when I actually put it on, it’s much cuter than I expected. If you like this dress, get in on the Jamie Dress Sew Along and sew it along with our group…lots of fun and prizes!
The pattern makes sizes XS-3X. I feel like because of the gathered bodice, ruched waist, and full skirt, it would be flattering for all body types. It is very vintage-inspired and beautiful!
Fabric – I used Alexander Henry The Grove in green for my dress. I made the XS dress, and the pattern called for 1-1/2 yards of fabric for a knee-length skirt, 1/2 yard of fabric for the lining, and 5/8 yard for the bodice (straps/waistband included). I recommend that whatever size you have measured for, to cut the pattern pieces for the bodice and waistband one size up (the first time I made this dress, I cut all XS pattern pieces, and I could barely get the zipper in, it was that snug). So for example, the second time cutting out fabric for this dress, I cut the XS skirt measurements and the Small bodice and waistband pieces. Much better to have extra wiggle room instead of not enough. 🙂 For my second dress, I used Amy Butler Garden Maze fabric from the Midwest Modern line.
I’m going to share an embarrassing fact. When I took sewing back up again when I was in college, I didn’t prewash any fabrics. Ever. And I thought that I was too good for pressing seams with my iron (I know, I’m a dope). I liked how the fabric was so nice and neat, straight off the bolt. However, I have made several things in my past that have shrunk after I finished and washed them, and they were pretty much ruined. So if you don’t normally sew clothes, don’t be that girl. And I’m happy to say that I fill my iron with water every couple of weeks, I use it that much. 🙂
Pattern Pieces – There are 5 pattern pieces (two of the pieces, for the bodice front and the bodice back, only need to be taped together to complete the full pattern piece). I really love working with .pdf patterns, I think it’s just about my favorite. There is no pattern piece for the skirt, but the wonderful part about this is that the pattern instructions let you know how wide to cut your fabric for each skirt panel (front and back), and then they show a model’s leg for various women’s heights (5’2″, 5’4″, etc.). You can choose how long to cut your skirt fabric based on where you want it to fall on the leg. I’ve never seen anything like the graphic that they used for the skirt length measurements, and I have to say it’s genius!
Illustrations/Instructions – I have never seen so many photographs to accompany a sewing pattern’s instructions. It’s amazing. Not only that, but these are really clear and appropriate photos. Each step has several photos, in fact! I did read through my pattern several times, but between the instructions and the pictures, the pattern is very straightforward.
I did not make any modifications to the instructions when I made the dress. The only thing is that I would highly recommend that whatever size you have measured for, to cut the pattern pieces for the bodice and waistband one size up. I feel that it’s better to have a little extra fabric in the bodice, which you can trim before you put in the zipper, than to come up a bit short and have a tight-fitting dress. The pattern also gives expanded bodice pattern pieces if you have a fuller bust (which I don’t).
My favorite thing about this pattern that was new to me was installing the zipper with a glue stick! I’ve never used a glue stick for that before, but I’m probably going to use it every time I put in a zipper from now on, it was very easy!!
If you can sew a straight seam, you can make this pattern. The other techniques used are using basting stitches to gather your fabric (around the bust area), using knit elastic fed through a casing (provides the gathering around the back and neckline), and putting in a zipper (which you shouldn’t be afraid of).
The first dress I made, I didn’t keep track of my time spent because I was working on it on and off, but for the second dress, it took me 3-1/2 hours to make (so I suppose I probably spent 5 or 6 hours the first time). This isn’t to set a limit for you or anything, however, I think it’s nice to know in the grand scheme of things, so that going in, I can tell you this isn’t a horribly long project to make. I want to be your sewing cheerleader and tell you that even if you’re a new sewer, you can do this!!
Conclusion – This pattern is wonderful for a confident/patient beginner. And if you have never sewn clothing for yourself before, you really must try this. You will be so happy and excited when you get to put on a dress that you made yourself!! 🙂