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Gemma’s Jessica Dress by Mimi G

One of the great things about receiving a sewing subscription box is that it introduces you to fabrics and colours that you might not necessarily have picked for yourself, giving you an opportunity for exploring makes out of your comfort zone.

August’s ‘Summer Meadow’ box contained a fabric that was just that for me – a lovely drapey purple viscose, with colourful yet subtle flower print. Purple is a colour that I have to admit I’ve never considered when picking  fabrics in dressmaking, and not something I might have gone for had I not received it! I did love the shade though, a deep slightly darker purple, perhaps a more grown up feel than a bright-in-your-face kind of purple, and loved the feel of the fabric – its very soft!

I instantly knew what I wanted to make with this fabric, a pattern I have seen popping up on my Instagram feed quite often – the Jessica dress by Mimi G. Maybe a little late to be considering a summer dress make now we are nearing the end of summer, but I’m holding out for more lovely warm weather!

The Jessica dress is a sweetheart button up dress that gathers at the skirt, as well as having large patch pockets (because we all know how much I love a pocket). One of the main reasons I liked the look of this dress is that I had seen it made up on lots of different body shapes and in various fabrics, and loved how versatile and flattering it looked on each person. That’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to Mimi G and her patterns – she champions dressmaking for all body shapes and abilities, and looks pretty good in everything she creates. This dress looks super comfy, perfect for warmer weather and all the BBQ’s you may be attending!

It is a pdf pattern, which is something I usually try to avoid getting as I hate having to stick loads of sheets of paper together (I’m not part of the pdf club, sorry!) but the file does come as a layered pdf so I only printed the size I needed. It was much easier to make than I thought it would be – another great thing about Mimi G is that she creates sew-a-long videos to go with her patterns which you can watch on YouTube, which is a great help if you find written instructions slightly tricky. I prefer seeing how something is done, especially if I haven’t made the pattern before, so this was a big help for me, especially when it came to completing the bodice and attaching my straps – I still ended up sewing them twisted the first time!

One thing about the construction which I liked was that it gets you to create the skirt and hem it first – this is usually something done last when making dresses and the part I always find tedious, so was happy to get it out of the way! I used a bright pink for my topstitching, as I love showing it off as a feature – I think that’s become one of my ‘things’ and a great way of making your garments unique. Another way to make your garment unique is to add your own labels inside – the selvedge of this fabric is one of the best I’ve seen, with a motivational message running along it! I had to use that in some way with my make, and so I cut out a piece to sew in the back of the neckline as a label, there ready to motivate me each time I wear my dress!

The only downside to this pattern was the amount of buttonholes you need – they go all the way down the dress, and depending on what size you use and how many you prefer you may end up doing quite a few! Luckily I don’t mind, and I did add a lot more than the pattern says, and overall I loved sewing this dress. Once you get your head around making the bodice it’s smooth sailing, and relatively simple. It’s a great summer dress pattern, and the fabric is perfect for it – so floaty and swishy! I would recommend cutting out your pieces using a rotary cutter as it does move slightly, but sewing wise it sews like a dream, a really nice quality that feels lovely against the skin The bodice fits really well without being too snug, and the sweetheart neckline is really flattering, especially with a fuller bust. Usually with dress patterns I have to hem quite a bit off the bottom as I’m on the shorter side, but I really like the longer length of this dress – a rarity to come across!

I have totally fallen in love with the purple!. It goes to show that sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be a good thing, and I’m glad I got to try a different colour than I usually go for as I love it – after all isn’t that the reason for creating our own clothes, so that we can try different things?! Here’s hoping we enjoy some more warmer weather so I can get lots of wear from this dress, and maybe sneak in making a couple more!