Jalie Bella Dress!

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I finally made something I can blog! After sewing a bunch of kids clothes, bras, pattern testing and getting ready for the #betterpicturesproject, it was starting to feel like I hadn’t done a good finished garment post in a  while. So buckle up and get ready for lots of pictures – I made a dress!

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The pattern is one of Jalie’s newest releases, which is designed to be a ballroom dance dress or an every day dress. It’s a basic princess seam knit dress – until the skirt, where it flares out at the hips and becomes a full circle skirt. The skirt is the real star of the dress, so I did a lettuce edge with the serger to emphasize the fullness. 

hem Collage

I’m a Jalie fangirl, so I really *wanted* to love this pattern… but there are a few odd things about it! For one, it calls for 60% stretch in the width, and 40% lengthwise, which is a LOT of stretch! I went with a rayon lycra jersey, because I couldn’t think what else would stretch enough. The rayon is so heavy that it stretches out the shaping in the princess seams and makes the bodice rather shapeless – I ended up reinforcing the bust seams with clear elastic to help support the skirt. I can’t quite figure out what the perfect fabric would be. I think ITY would make it feel dated… cotton lycra would give a LOT of body to the skirt… honestly, I think it makes more sense to size up and use a fabric with less stretch. It could make a beautiful party dress for winter in ponte!

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Next, it’s designed to have a higher neckline in the front and lower scoop in the back… but even on the cover they suggest wearing it backwards, like I have here. But here’s the thing – why should princess seams drafted for my back fit my front, and vice versa??? There is only a slight different in the front and back, so I just cut two fronts instead!

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Which brings me to the last issue with the pattern – I sewed the largest size! In fact, my measurements put me just a bit beyond it. Usually Jalie has a huge range from kids to plus sizes, but because the skirt design takes so much room on the page, they decided to do a smaller size range with this one. Looking at the pattern, I feel like there was space to squeeze a few more sizes on, though probably not the full range. It’s a shame, because I think the design would be lovely on larger figures!

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All of which is to say – I didn’t like the dress when it was done. I sulked. I tried it with a million belts. I tossed it in a corner. And yet, I think I’ve come around to it! The skirt is super fun to wear, and I can see it as both a winter and a summer dress. (Above is me pretending I’m styling it for winter!πŸ˜‰

Who could say no to this??

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(Now, Jalie says this dress is designed for spins on the dance floor without flashing anything, but, um… nope. Some of my pics were NSFW!)  

This fabric didn’t even last 24 hours in my stash – and it feels good! Whipping up a quick knit project is definitely my sweet spot. Plus it’s been bothering me that I hadn’t sewn this pattern up in the month since I bought it. If new patterns sit around too long, I feel like I shouldn’t have bought them! What next in your sewing queue?

Oh, ps. Flickr is making annoying updates and I keep ending up with bits of code showing in the post that I don’t see when I’m drafting it… but I’m too lazy to fix it! Can we all just pretend that code isn’t there? Thanks!!!πŸ˜‰


66 thoughts on “Jalie Bella Dress!

  1. Fantastic! This is just lovely. The swirl of the dress is terrific. The fabric is excellent. It’s chic. It goes with your haircut. I can’t think of one mediocre element!

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    1. This bolt just appeared at Fabricland in the ends – I showed up on the first morning of the sale to make sure I got some before it was gone! I’m really loving the leopard!

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  2. PS: I have no idea how wearing the dress backwards or forwards (with princess seam) can work. But I guess that’s a mark of the degree of curvature in bust seams I sew.πŸ™‚

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    1. Right? When I think of most princess seams I’ve sewn, there is no way that backwards would work even for me. That it works at here is basically down to the crazy amount of stretch in the fabric, the weight of the skirt pulling the princess seams straight, and the fact that the princess seams aren’t very fitted to start with. They also sit an inch too wide on me, which I’ll fix next time. In something like ponte I’d really have to rethink the shaping!

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    1. Thank you! I really wasn’t convinced about this pattern at first, but seeing the skirt catching the wind around in all these pics makes me like it more!

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  3. It’s gorgeous! I love every bit of it!

    I suspect they were testing on those heavy-duty, super-stretchy dance wear lycras.πŸ˜‰ not “normal” apparel fabric.

    Damn, now I want to make this one, too… Hmmm…

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    1. Hon, this dress is SO YOU! Especially since you would wear it snugger, and it would be amazing on you. DO you own it? Go make it! (And a maxi version for belly dancing, perhaps?)

      You are probably right about the fabric… and dance fabric would hold it’s own shape much better, and not do the sagging the rayon did. (Is there a term for how easily a fabric stretches? I mean, this rayon stretches just with gravity, where a dance fabric would only stretch when pulled. What’s that called?)

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      1. I do own it, because I’m a compulsive pattern collector!πŸ˜‰ So yeah, I totally have no excuse.

        I think the closest term might be recovery, which is how well a fabric pulls back to its original shape when unstretched, but maybe “firm recovery” or something, would get at how hard you have to pull to get it to stretch… hmm… LMAOπŸ˜€

        Now I am trying to brainstorm what I have in stash that would work (other than red stretch velvet and silver dance lycra… >_<

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        1. Um, I’m sorry – why are you rejecting red stretch velvet? That sounds amazing! It is a fabric hog – 3m for the version I did. I did manage to test it out of 2m though, by having a seam between the bodice and skirt on the side pieces, front and back. Worked ok that way!

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          1. Well, I already have a red stretch velvet maxi-dress, so I’m thinking I should perhaps branch out…πŸ˜‰ Although I have no idea what else I would end up making with it. But when a bolt that you’ve been petting for months goes in the bargain centre because “the pile is a bit crushed”, well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do…πŸ˜‰

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            1. Go for velvet then! Knee length, long sleeves? And go cut it out right now!!!!! (It is a really fast sew – I have to admit I didn’t mark any notches or pin the seams that carefully, just woosh with the serger!) Be warned that if you do the back scoop in the front, it comes out quite low – as in, my muslin showed at least half my bra. That might be the rayon though… for this version I raised it, knowing it would stretch out!

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              1. OK, you might be making sense!πŸ˜‰ And I have been yearning for a swishy 90s stretch velour dress LMFAO (I had the perfect one when I was in high school except the sleeves were too short. Story of my life.πŸ˜‰ )

                Thanks for the neckline tip—it definitely needs to be low in the front!πŸ˜‰

                Next question… can I stand changing the colour of thread on my serger…πŸ˜€

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    1. Thank you!! I’m going to have to wear it with leggings at school, I think, lest I flash everyone, but it is seriously fun to wear!

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    1. Let me know if you’d like to borrow the paper pattern ever – you and your daughter could be pretty ballerinas too! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Mom! This is all me though – Jamie was buying groceries and making pizza! I took most of the pics up at the big church on the hill, while the organist was practicing inside – tell dad he played the Fugue in D minor! But then someone came out of the parsonage and I started feeling rather silly!πŸ˜‰

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    1. YOU ARE TOO SWEET! Thank you. I had to pep talking myself into wearing anything close to red lipstick, but it seems like the dress called for a little drama!

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    1. IfI ever wear this to work (and I will) I have to remember to wear a long coat outside if I have yard duty at recess – because this skirt does catch the wind SO easily! Woosh! Here are your teacher’s underwear!

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    1. Thank you! I’d only seen the pattern on slim, straight figures before, so I was a little worried – I’m glad it worked out ok!πŸ™‚

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  4. I love this dress on you! I’m a bit bewildered by all the pattern oddities that you mentioned – how weird that the back would fit the front! – but I think you made it work in the end. The lettuce edge was a great idea to show off the hem.

    As for the Better Pictures Project, these pictures are already amazing! I’m always in awe of how crisp your photos are and how you manage to find just the right lighting. I’m looking forward to hearing your tips as part of the project. πŸ™‚

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    1. Ooh, I’m glad you think these pics are good – because I’ve already made some changes thanks to various people’s advice on the Better Pictures Project! (That’s the benefit of having done all the interviews already – I get a head start!) I even managed my first ever in-focus spinning photo! Yippee!

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  5. You look gorgeous in this outfit! And your pics are perfect. Thanks for your honest review on this pattern..those are certainly some strange quirks to this one but you seemed to have worked it out. I also really like how you styled it for winter!

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    1. The backlit picture where I’m standing in the garden is my tribute to you – I always think of you when I’m doing a pose with the sun behind me!πŸ˜‰
      The drafting is strange, especially since I think Jalie are usually quite thoughtful in their drafting. I’m going to have to take another look at the pattern pieces to see if I lost some of the shaping when I graded out to a larger size for the bottom half? I’m wondering if that’s part of why the princess seams are so un-fitted!

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  6. The dress looks great, and your pictures too! I’m looking forward to reading more posts in your series on better photos – it looks like you’re putting some tips to use already! How odd to suggest wearing front to back when it’s drafted with princess lines for the bust… At any rate, you have a fab looking leopard print dress there!

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    1. Thank you! I was really happy these pics turned out well! I am indeed putting some tips to use from the Better Pictures Project… though this time, for some odd reason, my camera wasn’t auto-focusing on me! There are a whole lot of blurry pics I had to weed. out. STrange!

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    1. Jalie is so underappreciated in the bog world! They’ve got some great patterns. I was sorry that so few of the new ones this year are for normal clothing though!

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    1. Thank you! I was so excited when I saw this fabric on the bolt at my local fabric store… it was just 10m or so on the end of a bolt, brought in from elsewhere, and I was worried it would get all snapped up before the big sale started the next day! But nope – I was there bright and early and I got the precious leopard! πŸ˜‰

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    1. Thank you! I took these at a big church (closest thing we have to a cathedral) that over looks the whole city form a hill… but it turned out to be way more busy than I expected on a Friday afternoon! I felt a little sacriligious posing… but then again, no one stopped me or even talked to me, so it must have been all right!πŸ˜›

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  7. You are utterly knocking your pictures out of the park in this post. I was so busy ogling how cool they were that the sewing *almost* came second place. I did say almost as the dress is great and you look fabulous in all your pics. You are definitely on a roll now.πŸ™‚ Xx

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    1. Thank you!!! Truly, these picture convinced me to like the dress. That’s part of why I want to aim for good pics more consistently – it can make such a difference to how I feel about a garment! This dress looked so sad in the mirror at night when I finished it, but a bit of wind cheered everything up!πŸ˜‰

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    1. It’s fun to try new shapes, isn’t it?! I don’t think I’ve ever had a skirt this shape, but it is lots of fun. I wonder if I can ever find an excuse to make the maxi version of it?

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    1. If I made it in ponte I’d really have to think about the bust shaping.. but I wonder if I could just use another princess seam pattern to sort the bodice out? It would be awfully fun to wear with a skirt that has more natural volume!

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  8. I also love this dress on you and absolutely love your photos. You look just gorgeous and the pictures are just so well composed and beautifully done.

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    1. Thank you! I was really getting a head start on some of the advice I’d gathered for the Better Pictures Project, about camera settings and posing… my favourite thing about good pics straight from the camera is they don’t need editing! So much faster in the end!πŸ˜‰

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  9. First up – great photos. That one of you on the stairs is a show stopper! The dress looks fantastic on you – don’t doubt it – but agree the whole wearing it backwards but with princess seams is a bit odd. Oh well, you look great and that’s all that matters!

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    1. Hehehe – don’t look too closely at the staircase picture, because then all you’ll be able to see if that my eyes are half-closed! (Ask me how I know!)

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      1. Haha! I never would’ve noticed but of course I had to scroll back up. Still, it IS a showstopper photo. As are all of them in this post. I’m very impressed, and can’t wait to read and put into practice what you’ve been learning. No rush since I’m still not ready to sew anytime soon. My sewing room/area/haven’t-decided-yet is still a major disaster zone, and I need new clothes! Wahhhh.

        Lovely dress! Looks so fun to wear. I love Jalie patterns too.

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        1. Bahaha – now you can’t unsee it!πŸ˜‰ I hope everything settles down for you soon and you can crank out some TNT dress-and-cardigan combos for yourself!!!

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  10. I hope you can come around to this, because I really like it! So I’d take it off your hands if you just can’t make yourself love it.πŸ˜› I’m just not sure that even with my medium chest if the whole wearing it backwards thing would work though…that just seems odd.

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    1. I agree – the backwards princess bodice is so odd… but even odder that it works! I mean, i wear a 36FF, and thanks to the rayon, the fabric just stretches into shape. In a more stable fabric it would be bad though!

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  11. First off, your pictures are so fun! The dress looks great in them, and you look like you’re having a great time! It’s a really cute dress. I passed on this pattern because the skirt looked so full. If the right knit could be found with the crazy apparently amount of stretch without bulk, I could see all of the excess fabric draping perfectly. Rayon jersey seems the right solution. Although I passed on this dress, I definitely picked up the Cora leggings in this collection to address my woeful lack of decent workout gear. What a strange suggestion to wear in backwards, but then again, Jalie’s models aren’t super busty…nope, that still makes no sense to me. I suppose if you liked the back neckline, you could just copy it to the front.

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    1. The Cora leggings look really cool – I just wish that Jalie would release MORE patterns! I don’t want to wait another year for more new ones!!!πŸ˜‰

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  12. I don’t see any code. When I see these photos, I think, why on earth does Gillian think she needs to work on her photography? These are gorgeous!
    I think this dress looks great on you and the fabric is awesome. Bummer about the pattern disappointing you though.

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    1. Excellent! I think i need to remove that ps., because I think I’ve got all the code out. It’s showing up in all my new posts as I’m drafting though – what are you doing to me, Flickr???
      I”m glad you like the photos! I’m pretty pleased with them too. I tried a couple new things based on the interviews I did with bloggers for the Better Pictures Project, but also it was just one of those days when things worked out. My goal is to make things work out more often, even when I’m shooting indoors in winter or don’t have time to find a cool location like I do in summer.πŸ™‚

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  13. The Papercut Sway Dress is also supposed to be able to be worn front or back, but that didn’t work for me either since I had to FBA it! I like how you made this one, with the lower scoop in the front. And I think this dress looks great on you, very chic!

    And I feel the same way you do about having patterns sitting in my stash too long. It makes me feel guilty because I’m worried my style will change before I get around to sewing them, and then it seems like there was no point in buying them. So now I’m trying to only purchase what I actually want to sew right now. It’s also helped that I’ve just recently started trying to work in ‘batches’, tracing & altering several patterns at a time (my least favorite part of sewing) so that I always have a project ready to go. If I have everything traced and altered, I’m more likely to make the pattern since I’ve already done all the work, even if it’s been sitting around for a few months! My latest batch is a Watson (finished), two Alders (working on my first now, didn’t want to do both at the same time in case it needs fitting changes), and Lakeside Pajamas (need to buy bias tape still). Not sure what’s in my next batch yet other than a Zeena.

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