Holly’s dreams pastel Joy dress.
Comfy jersey dresses are what I most like to wear come Spring time, paired with either leggings or some simple trainers if it’s warm enough; they are a definite wardrobe staple for me at this time of year.
When choosing a fabric for my next blog post this lightweight french terry called ‘pastel stripes’ really caught my eye, I loved the varying stripe size and the pretty pastel colours in it. I could see it made up into a jersey dress but something that was a bit different and had a bit more of a sporty vibe. After a quick search online I found the Joy Dress by Fibre Mood and thought this would be perfect. It has short, raglan sleeves, an elasticated waist using cord and drawstring toggles, it was midi length and finished with a neckband. There is also an option to add a small triangle of fabric at the front neckband to add to the sporty feel.
After checking the size chart my measurements fell bang on the size small so I went for this size. I decided to shorten the bodice by about 4cm because from the photos the top part looked quite blousy, and as I have a short torso anyway I thought I could take away a little excess here. There were no shorten and lengthen lines so I added some a couple of inches up from the waistline and then redrew the side seam curve. I didn’t make any further adjustments to the pattern pieces.
After pre-washing the fabric I did my best to lay out the fabric so that I could match up the stripes along the side seams. I didn’t spend ages on this though as I wasn’t too worried if they weren’t exactly right! The instructions recommend the neckband is cut from a rib knit fabric so I used some scraps of white I had left over from another project for this.
This fabric is lovely to sew with, it has around 25% widthways stretch and is a fairly stable knit making it easy to go through my sewing machine. I used a walking foot and a lighter presser foot pressure, but you don’t need these features and would sew easily enough with a standard foot as it’s quite a lightweight french terry. I used a narrow zig zag stitch for the seams and then finished the seams with my overlocker. It’s probably worth mentioning that you can’t sew this dress entirely with an overlocker, it says you can in the introduction for the instructions, but for the waistband particularly you need a standard machine to sew the seams and then do some topstitching, but that’s it though. I decided to add the little triangle of fabric to the front for more of a sporty style. I bought some white narrow elastic cord and white drawstring toggles from ebay to match – I love the look of these on the dress and it gives it a real ready-to-wear vibe!
I found the instructions good, they don’t go into heaps of detail so bear this in mind if you’re new to Fibre Mood patterns. The illustrations are clear though and I found it easy to see how to sew the garment together. It was a little tricky to stitch the lower waistband casing on the dress, this was simply due to the amount of fabric underneath my machine at the time and required lots of fabric to be maneuvered! I used a 3mm straight stitch to topstitch the waistband down, not only did I think this would look neater but as this section is going to be gathered and the elastic is going to be doing the stretching you don’t need a stretch stitch here.
Once the bulk of the dress was sewn up I tried it on with the elastic roughly in position. It was a little tricky to thread the elastic through such a narrow channel but I used a flexible drawstring threader to do this which worked wonders! I also used a longer length of elastic than it suggested so that I could be sure it was comfortable. I played around a little with the length until I was absolutely happy and then cut and stitched the ends together. The dress came up a little long on me and the sleeves were also slightly too long for my liking. I shortened the hem length by 12cm, and the sleeve by 6.5cm. I then used a 3cm hem on the skirt and turned up the sleeves 3 times at 3cm each time to get a nice chunky cuff which as the underside of the fabric is white goes really well with the neckband and front fastenings I think!
Overall I’m really happy with how this dress has turned out, it’s very comfortable and I love that the waist can be adjusted should I need to do this. The jersey neckband makes getting it off and on a breeze and I don’t need to let the elastic out at the waist every time I put it on and off too which is a bonus! I also think this fabric would look great sewn up as a loose sweatshirt or hoodie, or even some jazzy sweat pants!
I’m looking forward to wearing this when it’s a bit warmer outside (where is the March sunshine?!), I think this is going to be a wardrobe staple this season and I can see a few more versions in plain colours coming up too!
Love Holly x