Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Jamie Dress: A Review

I saw the Jamie Dress featured on Sew Sweetness blog--she did a sewalong with it about a year ago. After browsing through the Flickr group of participants' dresses, I was sold on it. I purchased my pattern at Sew, Mama, Sew! and printed it. Love the instant gratification of PDF patterns! Here's what I thought of the experience.

Front of Jamie Dress--this is the 26" length
Wish I had better pictures, but since Will can't hold the camera yet, this was the best the grill, the timer, and I could do!

Pattern Pieces: It goes from XS to 3XL, and it seemed like it stacked up pretty similarly to RTW sizes. I was at the lower end of the size I picked on the waist and the high end on the bust in measurement. I used the "extra bust" accommodation line that each size has. Overall, I ended up with a pretty good fit. I did NOT size up as Sara at Sew Sweetness suggested as the others in the sewalong didn't seem to find this necessary. The PDF pieces went together really easily. It wasn't a chore at all to cut out. I really appreciated that each size's pieces were given on their own set of pages, so I could just pop over and print the 5 pages I needed instead of 20 or more of all the sizes, and no crazy lines to try and follow.

Jamie Dress

Pattern Directions: I found the pattern directions to be very clear, and the pictures very detailed and helpful. I don't think there was any step where I found myself confused. The only part I didn't like was the zipper. I put it in using the gluestick method, and I think I would have been better off using the regular way. I loved the graphic the instructions provide for selecting the length you want using your height so that I didn't have to do any measuring.

Back of Jamie Dress

Fit: I really like the fit. This style usually looks good on me, which is why I went for it in the first place, and it didn't disappoint. My bodice might could be a tad more fitted, but I can play around with cutting it down a bit next time. One of the best parts about this pattern is the fat strap that lets you hide (even your giant nursing) bra straps.

Time: I cut most of this out on Monday night and then sewed it together Tuesday, mostly Tuesday evening. I'd guess if I'd had uninterrupted time, it would have taken about 3-3.5 hours. 

Alterations: Based on the sewalong participants' reviews, I elected to preemptively cut some of the fullness from the skirt. I cut mine about 6" smaller on each panel than called for and had plenty of fullness. I also didn't have 3/4" elastic, so I had to use 3/8" that I had on hand. I don't think this did any favors to my straps, and I will definitely purchase the correct size next time.

Jamie Dress--wish I had contrast all the way around
Wish that contrast went all the way 'round!

Screw-ups: I also didn't have a 14" zipper on hand as called for, but I remembered that you can use a longer length and cut it off. I had a perfect vintage orange zipper that was 22." I ended up cutting it too short. Then I also had trouble getting it sewn in using the gluestick method, and it ended up looking pretty awful. So lazy am I that I'm quite sure it will never come out and be redone. Unless someone's closely inspecting my armpit, they won't be able to tell. I also cut out two big rectangles of my lining fabric thinking I was supposed to line the skirt too. I should really learn to read ALL the directions.

Uh-oh, zipper trouble!

Overall: I would definitely recommend this pattern, and I hope to make several more from it myself. It was very easy and quick. The only drawback to this pattern in my opinion, is that it doesn't give the option for an all-around contrast band. Considering that's the first thing everyone wants to do to this dress (me included), it would have been nice if the author had included it (or made it available online!).

Fabric: I used a great Alexander Henry print I've had in my stash since I lived in Houston. I  noticed it in one of my fabric bins recently and dragged it out thinking it'd make a cute skirt, but when I saw this dress, I knew it would be perfect for it. The teal is some weird mixed fabric from my stash as well. With hoarded fabric, thrifted vintage zipper, and on-hand elastic, that means the total cost of this dress was $9.95--the pattern price. Stash-busting and money saving--woot!

Love this fabric--from stash
Closeup of the fabulous fabric by Henry Alexander

Alterations for the future: Figure out how to do the contrast band. I actually cut out pieces to do it, but was a little bit confused, and with kids yelling at me, I completely forgot that I was going to try to figure it out. 


  1. I love your dress!!! Sorry, I couldn't e-mail you back, you're on no-reply. I just wanted to tell you I'm glad you purchased this pattern, and it looks amazing on you! I've never seen that AH print before, it's really awesome!!

    1. Thanks! I think I bought that print probably around 2004-5! Yes, I am a fabric hoarder, it's awful!