This dress almost ended up in the garbage – at least twice. The pattern is the Jessica Dress by Mimi G, and let me tell you, Jessica and I went several rounds in the sewing ring. This was not a quick KO, but I think I eventually came out victorious. I decided not to wear my championship belt for the photo shoot – it didn’t seem to go – ha!
I’m not much for wearing shorts in the summer, so I’m always on the lookout for cute and comfortable sundresses and sundress patterns. I saw a button-front seersucker sundress on some ad on social media and immediately said, “I could make that!” (I just love being able to say that.) Mimi G was offering the Jessica Dress pattern as a freebie, and I was super excited when I realized it is almost exactly the same as the dress on the ad. Double win!
For the fabric, I knew I wanted to stick with seersucker, and I knew I wanted white and green striped. The fabric I decided on is from Mood, and it is the nicest seersucker I could find. It’s crisp and sturdy enough that I didn’t feel exposed without a lining or slip. I’m never disappointed by fabric I find at Mood.
The pattern is a PDF and comes with all sizes, XXS-XXL. I think this is where Jessica and I got off to a rocky start. There are seven size options – slightly less than commercial patterns and many indie brands. Normally, there is two inches or less difference between sizes, when looking at measurements like bust, waist and hips. For XXS-M, this is the case. For L-XXL, however, there is three inches difference between each size. A large for me would have just fit or been a tad small, but the XL was way too big.
I certainly don’t mind altering my projects to get the perfect fit. After all, that’s part of the joys of sewing your own clothes – a wardrobe tailored to your exact body. However, this dress really tested my patience. My first fitting with the bodice proved my initial thoughts, that it would be much too loose. This required me to take in each seam at least ½”. The seam over the bust was taken in almost an inch at the top and tapered into a seam taken in about ½” at the bottom. Now, these are just the final alterations. It took me about two afternoons to finally perfect the fit. Luckily, the princess seams on the bodice make alterations relatively simple, if frustrating. After I had the top fit the way I wanted, I then had to alter the facing band to reflect the difference in size.
The other major alteration I made was the straps. I’m going to break from my regularly scheduled blog post to chat about summer and bra straps for a second. If bra talk isn’t your thing, please, feel free to skip down to the next paragraph…I’ll be with you in just a second. I’m not a gal who enjoys wearing a strapless bra, especially in the summer. It’s hot, so there is already a level of discomfort. Why add to it with a bra that doesn’t carry its own weight? I’m also not a gal who is comfortable going sans brassiere or having my bra straps showing. I don’t see anything wrong with either, but these options just aren’t for me.
Okay, back to the dress. This pattern, like so many other summer dress patterns, has thin, spaghetti straps. I decided to make wider straps, so I can be comfortable and supported (if you’re wondering why, you shouldn’t have skipped that last paragraph…haha). I initially made a thinner strap that did cover my actual bra straps, but my bras kept peeking up around where the strap is attached. So, I decided to make the straps 2 ½” wide to completely cover the bra straps and any peeking bra. It took a while to figure out exact placement, but it was well worth it. I realize these wide straps may not be for everyone, but they make me happy and comfortable. I suppose that’s really all that matters.
So, here are a few unique things about this pattern. The first thing you do is finish the skirt and hem it. Yep, the hem comes first. This was fine for me, but if you don’t want a midi-length dress, you’ll need to figure out the hem before being able to try on the finished dress.
The pattern also doesn’t include markings for the buttons or pockets. At first, I thought this a bit strange, but I quickly came around to the idea. Most versions of this dress that I saw online had four buttons on the bodice, which seems like what a pattern would normally recommend. I often find button-downs gape open a bit (even when they’re oversized!), and I wanted to sneak an extra button in there to lock everything down. The buttons came on cards of six. Since I purchased two cards, my dress got 12 buttons.
I also liked placing my pockets where I wanted them. I was able to position them at the perfect location for my arm length and proportions. I realize I can change the button and pocket placements on most patterns, but it was nice to sew up a pattern than encouraged placement based on what works best for me.
Phew! That was a lot of pattern info. In summary, I suppose the moral of this dress is that sometimes good garments take a lot of patience and alterations…and patience….and did I mention alterations?
Until next time,