This is a rayon spandex fabric with a little less vertical stretch than you might expect, so Amelia Lane Designs has decided to err on the side of caution and integrity and call it a jersey.
When the fabric arrived, it was just much more…. extra than I expected. It felt dramatic. It made me feel like a romantic Morticia Addams. It made me feel thoughtful. A little country and a little Victorian all at the same time.
I was driving home from work thinking about being a day behind on sewing it up – sometimes I get sewist’s block and none of my ideas are good enough for the fabric – and it came to me. A basic dress but add a handkerchief hem!
So I went through my mental catalog of patterns during the rest of my drive home and landed on the Jessie dress. I just made a muslin and the fit was spectacular and the fabric was similar stretch so I knew it would work.
To add the handkerchief hem – here’s what I did
-Wash and Dry fabric as usual
-Fold fabric in half, selvege to selvage (should be about 30″ wide since knit fabrics are all around 60″ wide)
-Lay front pattern piece on the fold
-Cut a straight line from the waist to the selvages-
Cut the rest of the pattern piece (above the waist) as normal-
Repeat with back pattern piece-
Cut sleeves and neckband of choice (lots of back options)
-Assemble as normal-
Hem as normal, it will just take a lot longer. You’ll have two 90 degree turns to make
Here’s a photo of how I found the waist. You can see I did a FBA and below that I added some length just above my waist. My waist is the smallest part of the pattern piece (and I had previously confirmed it lined up with the waist on my body, the narrowest part of my torso).
The length can be a bit tricky. Some things to consider:
I laid my pattern piece with the selvages together, pattern piece on fold and bottom of the pattern piece at the long dress cut line against the cut edges of my fabric.
I cut all the way to the selvage and my tails ALMOST touch the ground. If you’re shorter than me (5’6″) or have hips that aren’t as wide (51″) you might want to consider not going all the way to the selvage because your corners might drag the floor
You could do a little research by finding a pattern that has a handkerchief hem and laying that pattern piece on top of your dress pattern piece on the fold. One that comes to mind is the Mix It Up by George and Ginger
After I cut the front, I shifted the fabric and laid the back pattern piece out the same way, with the bottom against the cut edge, so the bodice tops/shoulders of the two pattern pieces were meeting in the middle of my 3 yard cut of fabric. That way when I needed to cut sleeves, I could just put them next to the bodices since there was width left there.The selvage of my fabric had a little bit of rolling. I didn’t cut this off, I just left it on and folded it under as part of the hem.
My cut edge wasn’t perfectly even when I folded my fabric in half – the fabric shrinks a little differently against the selvage versus in the middle – I just left it. No one will notice because it’s not an even skirt anyway.
Here’s what my front bodice looks like cut out
Amelia Lane released new black ponte fabric at the same time, so I took advantage and made a little Nora Bolero to wear with my dress. I was super lazy and just lengthened the whole thing by 1″ and hemmed rather than adding bands.
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