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Gemma’s Jessica Dress

Gemma received the red viscose in this month’s Classic Box and made a Mimi G Jessica Dress.

One of the first projects I made when I started writing for the Magazine was a Mimi G Jessica dress in a beautiful purple viscose (depending on how long you’ve been subscribed, do you remember? If not, head over to the website to take a look!) When I received this gorgeous red floral print I knew instantly it was time to revisit that pattern, as the fabric is perfect for creating summer dresses, and would look wonderful! It is so lovely and soft with a large amount of ‘swish factor’ so just the thing for a floaty dress.

The Jessica Dress is a sweetheart neckline, button up dress with a gathered waist – the bodice is panelled and designed to be close fitting, with a long length skirt with plenty of swish. It’s a great shape for all body sizes, and isn’t as complicated a make as you may think. It works really well for lots of different types of woven fabric, but looks exceptional in drapey fabrics like viscose. The only downside (if there is such a thing!) is the amount of buttons – they run all the way up the dress so only take on this pattern if you don’t mind a lot of buttonholes, my dress for example has 17 in total!

I did make one main alteration to the pattern: the initial design has patch pockets on the front skirt, which I did add on my first version of this dress. However due to the nature of the fabric, putting anything in them weighed down the skirt and stretched them a little, so on the ones I have made after (including this one) I have switched to adding in seam pockets, which work so much better! I added these before making the skirt, which is fairly simple. The bodice is also relatively easy to come together, the instructions are really clear, and you can adjust the strap length (another modification I made, as I shortened them) before sewing the facing. As with most slippery fabrics, do take care when cutting out and sewing your pieces, as even I still managed to cut one of the skirt pieces slightly longer than the others!

If you are looking for a really enjoyable, not too complicated make then I can highly recommend this pattern, as I was able to have it sewn up in a day. It is a great pattern for an outfit with maximum impact, I love how well it works with the print on the fabric! I can see it working for so many occasions – a casual day dress, but also perhaps as an occasion outfit. Getting the fit on the bodice is what really makes it work, as that gives it its main shape, and the sweetheart neckline is such a beautiful detail. I don’t mind sewing on buttons as I usually make it an evening activity whilst watching TV, and one of the reasons I love making my own clothes is that I can put the buttons where I need them most – I tend to start at the bust area and space them from there, to avoid gaping. I went for yellow ones to match one of the flowers on the dress which I think blends in really nicely. I absolutely love swishing around in this dress, now I just need some warm weather to wear it!