Jessica Dress


When I first started sewing garments, I almost exclusively made dresses.  Fitted dresses, flared dresses, woven dresses, knit dresses.  I tried them all and had various levels of success.  There was something thrilling about being able to make dresses as a new sewer and while I'm not somebody who naturally loves wearing dresses, I was definitely able to incorporate them into my everyday wardrobe.  Fast forward a decade, and the truth is that I rarely make dresses anymore.  My garment sewing is much more practical nowadays and filled with lots of basics.  And while I was able to wear dresses intermittently to work in the past, that's not something that I can do in my current role making them much less useful in my everyday life.  Which brings us to the fact that I haven't sewn a dress for me in long, long time (I think this Alder dress was the last dress that I made - hello, 2015).  But in scrolling through Instagram I randomly saw a version of the Jessica Dress by MimiG and my interest was piqued.  And as I did more digging, saw other versions, and found that it was a free pattern, my interest was cemented and it moved to the top of the queue.
I hit up Drygood Designs to look for some fabric and bought the last of this gorgeous blue jacquard.  Originally I was imaging a more drapey fabric for this dress (like a linen/rayon blend) but then I fell in love with this fabric.  When I brought it home, though, I had some definite hesitations about using it for this dress.  It has a more body than I would have liked in a fabric and I worried about how that would look in a gathered skirt.  Plus, I worried that the princess seams in the bodice wouldn't work well with the simplistic pattern on the fabric.  I suppose someone smarter or more patient than me could have done some amazing pattern matching to match things up on the princess seams, but while I have many life skills, pattern matching is not one of them.  In the end, despite my hesitations I decided to move forward with my initial plan.
Now this is where I mention that in making this dress, the person who almost never makes a muslin (me!) actually made a muslin of the bodice.  I ended up cutting out a straight size small but after making up the muslin I took out some width near the top of the bodice and added a wee bit of width around the waist.  I also ended up making the pockets smaller because those pockets are freaking huge!

The actual sewing went together pretty easily.  It relies on some individual customization so there's no suggestions as to how long to make the straps, where to place the buttonholes, and it has no pocket marking for the skirt.  Those things really are best made to your individual body or choices, but I imagine that for a beginner the lack of even a suggestion could be a bit frustrating.  I ended up using 1/2" buttons and placing them every 1.75-2 inches (I can't remember exactly).  I do know that I ended up placing 5 buttons on the bodice alone and 13 buttons all together (I didn't add them all the way down the skirt - this way I have a bit of a "slit" in the front).
Now here's the great and not-so-great thing about making your own garment - since finishing it, I can't help looking down at the bodice and wondering if I should have fit it more around the bust or elongated the straps.  It seems a little baggy around the bop of the bodice, but I also have a bad habit of overfitting things, ultimately making them not the most comfortable garments to wear.  Ben swears that it's not noticeable and it's probably just me being way overly critical in a way that I would never be about a store brought garment.  So today I'll endeavor to remember one of my favorite sayings - don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.


  1. It's so lovely, and in my opinion a summer sundress wants to have a bit of breathing/air circulation room! Enjoy the heck out of it!

  2. It's an adorable dress and I think the print is perfect. Well done!

  3. Bodice doesn't appear baggy to me in any of the photos - a more fitted dress would be less comfortable and cool in the summer, I think it's great!

  4. Anonymous18.7.18

    Your dress looks great and a perfect fit on my monitor! Regards, Susan.


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