Kate’s Take on the Josie Sundress
The first issue of Sew News that was released after I came to work here had the Josie Sundress on the cover. I thought it was so cute, and I thought it might be flattering on me because the high waist would help disguise the lower half of my pear shape. I put it on my list of things to sew; I even bought cherry-print fabric and a zipper. I had other things higher on the list, though, and suddenly it was fall and I didn’t really want to be sewing a sundress in the fall, knowing I wouldn’t be able to wear it for six months. So I set it aside, planning to make it in the spring.
By the time I got around to the Josie dress again, I had another plan for it — a feature for the December 2017/January 2018 issue. But it involves silk dupioni, and I was nervous about making a new pattern in such precious fabric… so this became the perfect excuse to make a test dress with the cherry fabric I already had!
I actually started by making a muslin of just the bodice, and it’s a good thing I did, because the fit was off. I had made the largest size, an 18, and it was way too loose. I probably should have cut a 16 and gone from there, but instead I just fit the 18. I took in the side seams, took up the shoulder seams, and added an extra set of darts to close a spot where the armhole was gaping. I may have gone a little far, because the bodice is intended to be pretty loose and mine is probably tighter than it should be, but it’s not bad.
Once I had fit the bodice and adjusted the skirt pattern for the fabric I took in at the side seams, I cut out the new bodice and followed the directions on the guidesheet. The only change I made was reducing the hem to just a double-turn at 1/4” and 3/8” because I was afraid the dress would be too short. I also learned a lesson about invisible zippers and matching waistlines.
My tip: After sewing on one side of the zipper, zip it up and mark straight across from the waistline to the other side. Then line up that notch with the opposite side waistline to make sure they’re even when the zipper is closed.
I love the final dress, though it still came out a bit short for my tastes — when I made the next one, I added 5” to the lower edge and hemmed it where it felt comfortable. Nevertheless, it’s cute, fun, and drew a lot of compliments when I wore it on my anniversary.
I recommend this dress for someone looking for a cool, intermediate-level summer dress. The directions are clear and easy to follow. I’d recommend pinning together a front and back bodice and double-checking the fit if it’s your first time making it, just to be sure. Also check the hem length to see if it works for you. One of my favorite things about this pattern is that it’s designed to be made with quilting cotton or similar fabric, so the whole world of adorable, quirky, or cool prints are available to you!
For a little bonus fun, click here for a great boomerang that Amanda, Jill and I did on our last day of #MeMadeMay2017, featuring my Josie dress!