A while ago I came across #thelittlereddressproject, a project tag which lots of sewing bloggers and vloggers have taken up. The aim was to create a red dress for the festive period and share these on December 21st. Unusually I immediately had an idea of what I wanted to make so signed myself up. I didn't quite get it finished for December 21st, but did manage to wear it on Christmas Day. I have to say though I've been even slower in getting it photographed, which is why this post is appearing so much later after the challenge. However, seeing as Valentine's Day is around the corner thought this was still timely!
My mind leapt to the idea of a jersey fabric. Something a little bit slinky with lots of lovely drape and (important at Christmas I feel) some stretch to it. I was posting my thoughts on Instagram when Lucy from Sew Essential suggested some John Kaldor jersey that they had in stock which sounded like what I wanted. Even better it was in two different reds too! Sew Essential are one of my go to fabric stores as I know that they are reliable and have a good range. I chose the scarlet red in the end, as though the claret is a lovely shade of red, it was for Christmas after all. I ordered 2.5m at just under £8 pm, and have enough left over after making my dress to make a knit sweater.
The fabric itself was easy to cut and sew, but best of all it feels amazing to wear. It isn't see through, but is lightweight enough to have lots of drape - perfect for the dress I wanted to create. It feels silky against the skin and is very comfortable.
One thing I will say though is to be careful with carbon markings. I accidentally marked an element that is meant for the other variation. It isn't a major mistake, and it's marked on the wrong side, but if you look carefully you can see this from the right side of the fabric. It wouldn't rub/wipe off like it does on cotton lawn.
Pattern and Instructions
It definitely took me a lot longer to pick a pattern than it did to decide on fabric. I even created a Pinterest board just for this one project to get my ideas together.
I was still debating whether to make a wrap dress as I ordered the fabric, so did order a little more than the dress pattern said to, just in case. The design I ended up ordering and making was this Kwik Sew K4111.
It was the first time I had used a Kwik Sew pattern. I used the online guide to determine the size I needed and had to really go from this only. There are some finished measurements included but this only tells you how long it will be. I find that a lot of garments end up too big so having some finished bust or waist measurements would have helped.
The instructions were straightforward and clear enough. They are across two large sheets of paper and have diagrams too. This isn't a very complicated pattern at all. The most difficult part was constructing the capped sleeves, but this itself isn't very hard, and is definitely worth the effort. I really like how they look.
This pattern comes up BIG. Way too big. I removed 1.5 cm at the back seam, and at each side seam and I still have to wear a belt to keep it on properly.
I also left out the zip because that kind of defeats the point of a jersey dress for me. I'm glad I did as I clearly didn't have issues getting it on or off, and it would have added a stiffness that goes against the flowing look.
Would I make this pattern again? Yes
Would I make it a size smaller? mmm yes, and the rest.
What I like about this pattern - I think there are some really pretty features in this dress. The pleats and gathers look really nice and there is a soft, feminine drape to the whole piece. It is very comfortable and the fabric has a sheen to it that makes it look formal.
What I don't like about this pattern - I think the sizing is a definite issue. It was hard to find information to guide choices, and just came up too big. Some of the details are lost in having to wear a belt to make the dress sit and fit properly. In the photo above I've moved the belt bow around to the back, which isn't great but otherwise the bulky knot obscures these lovely pleats.