I'm a sucker for pretty, feminine dresses, so I made MimiG's Jessica dress this summer. I was digging the fitted bodice and preppy button-down front. Plus, the gathered skirt gave the dress a retro vibe I couldn't resist.
In this sewing pattern review, I'll share my brutally honest opinion about this pattern below.
From a fashion point of view, I love the style, but if I were to make this dress over again, I'd make the facing and straps wider, and line the bodice. I got a random compliment from my waitress the first time I wore this out at a restaurant, so this dress is a keeper!
The Jessica is a sweetheart button-up dress with gathers at the skirt and large pockets. Size ranges from XXS - 2XL. I recommend this dress for intermediate sewers because of the following features: buttons and button holes, placket, princess seams, patch pockets, and gathers at the skirt.
The pattern has ten pattern pieces and 11 buttonholes, so give yourself the weekend to sew the dress. This is not a quick and easy project for beginners.
I cut out size XS for the bust and M from the waist down. I also raised the waist 1" to fit my petite frame. I'm 5' 3" tall, wear a 34A bra, and weigh 118 lbs on a good day or 125 lbs on a bad day.
This dress consumes a lot of fabric thanks to the gathered skirt, which is why I made it out of a duvet I scored at the thrift store for around $5. Fabric requirements range from 3 7/8 yards to 4 1/8 yards depending on the size, which is a lot for a dress. If you want to use apparel fabric for this dress, I recommend waiting for a massive sale at the fabric store.
Illustrated instructions and a PDF pattern tiles guide made the pattern easy to follow. The pdf pattern took 33 pages to print and an evening to tape and cut out the ten pattern pieces. You might want to print the wide format A0 copy shop version at your local print shop to save time.
There were some odd inconsistencies with this pattern. First, the back facing didn't line up with the back bodice, which I've never encountered before in any sewing pattern. Not sure if there was anything wonky with my printer, but I made it work. I also found the entire bodice facing oddly skinny. The front facing wasn't wide enough to accommodate the horizontal buttonholes called out on the instructions, so I had to make them vertical.
Many reviewers at patternreview.com recommended making the straps wider to hide bra straps, which I ignored because I was too impatient to finish the dress. And of course, my bra straps peek out (see the above photo). I know some women like this look, but I'm not one of them.
I wore this dress for lunch at our favorite restaurant the day after making it and found the waist seam so uncomfortable that I couldn't wait to come home and rip the dress off. The waist seam with the gathered skirt was so thick, chunky, and abrasive that it felt like it was sawing me in half. I highly recommend covering that seam in silk like you see in higher-end vintage clothes, or lining the bodice.
When I wore the dress to lunch, the waitress gave me an unsolicited compliment, which made this dress a keeper. Make sure to widen the straps and facing. Line the bodice to make the dress comfortable to wear. Get ready to accept random compliments from strangers graciously.