Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A Stripey Josie Dress

I think I must like buttons. I feel like I’m constantly sewing buttons on everything!

My latest one is the Josie dress from République du Chiffon. It’s the first pattern I’ve used from this French indie pattern company and I was very excited to get stuck into it!

That is until I opened it up and realised that it’s another pattern that doesn’t include seam allowances! Cue sighs and general head drooping… It’s not the end of the world but you can just see the extra prep time stretching out in front of you!

This is the first pattern I’ve made a muslin for in a very, very long time. The instructions are very explicit that a muslin should be made which I thought was a little strange so I figured I’d make one just in case.

And it pretty much fit fine. I took a little length out of the bodice which is a normal adjustment for me but that was it. 

I made the dress out of this awesome blue stripe fabric I got from Walthamstow market. At £1.10/metre it was a bargain! Although, in hindsight, it probably was not the best choice for this pattern. I got a bit too wrapped up in my dream of what I wanted this dress to look like to realise just quite how difficult a fabric it would be to work with! The pattern calls for a firm fabric to be used and while this stripe has reasonable body to it, I don’t believe it met the requirements of the pattern. Plus pattern matching was an absolute nightmare! (I think I did ok but don’t look too closely!)

Overall, it’s a pretty simple pattern to put together. Simpler than I thought it would be actually, so beginners don’t be put off! Design wise, I think the upper front bodice (the cup) is too long and isn’t the best shape/ size for me. It makes me look a lot bulkier up top than it really should. I don’t think the stripes helped it that regard as they emphasised the shape of each pattern piece too well!

I had to change the design of the straps of the dress at the very end. I’d made and placed them according to instructions but it kept causing the back to gape and no matter what I did, it wouldn’t sit right. So I opted to make some simple straps instead and those sat much nicer on me. 

I don’t know if it’s worth persevering with this pattern. I think if I made it in a firmer, plainer fabric, it would look better. Maybe. I’d also like to try it with a longer skirt. I feel that this mini is very mini – bear in mind I’m a petite 5’2 – so if you’re long-legged it might be worth lengthening the skirt beforehand!

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  1. Lol – I pretty much have that reaction to patterns with seam allowance included. Makes combining and/or adjusting more cumbersome. Plus, I like to mark the seam line…
    That said, the dress is rather cute, and while the pattern matching might not be top notch it’s pretty good – and definitely loads better than a lot of rtw.

    1. Thanks!
      It turns out seam allowances are like marmite – you either love them or you hate them! I hadn’t realised! There’s definite benefit to both ways I guess!

  2. I think you’ve done a great job – despite all the issues. I have a tendency to choose the wrong the fabric to make my wearable muslins in too. It can be a good way of really highlighting the issues with a pattern though 😉

  3. Ugh, no to patterns without seam allowances! Why would they do that?!

    While you’re not all that happy with the pattern matching, I do like what you’ve done with the stripes – really helps to see the construction of the dress.

  4. Loving the stripes on you. I think it’s a great shape and not bulky up top at all, and the volume in the skirt is just the right balance 😀

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