the Joni dress

Despite the below 60 degree temperatures in California, I am happily bouncing about in my new Joni dress from Tilly’s book Stretch.

Finishing this piece felt like a herculean effort, mostly because the pattern calls for 2.5 yards of fabric, and yet I was determined to squeak it out with 1.5 yards. Did I accomplish it? Yes. Was it ill-advised? Also yes.

I spent 3-4 hours playing fabric tetris with the pattern pieces trying to figure out ANY possible way it would work. This sounds insane, but also there’s a threshold where you’ve already spent so much time on something . . . there is no going back!

This ultimately involved cutting the fabric on one layer (usually the first step when you are trying to save yardage), shaving an inch off the skirt, and sacrificing a few seamlines. Small confession: it wasn’t until after I’d finally cut the pieces that I realized I could have double-traced the “on the fold” pattern pieces, and saved myself an hour or two of trying to figure out the pattern placement. It was especially silly considering that I traced the pieces to begin with, but oh well!

Anyway! The nice part about using so little yardage? An satisfyingly-tiny scrap pile:

The construction was – okay. I’m slightly disgrunted with how the twisty-front came together but I will also admit that it’s probably a personal problem. Having only heard rave reviews about the simplicity of this design feature – I think I came into it a little over confident. The seam allowance is trimmed down in the center and sewn flat to itself on the wrong side. After many twist attempts – it seemed like no matter what I did either the wrong side of my fabric was showing, OR the contrasting zigzag stitches were showing. I eventually gave up and just unpicked those stitches in the front. I’m guessing that’s not the best fix and so let’s just hope the twist survives the wash.

Since this is a knit pattern, and I’ve had good luck with Tilly’s pattern block before – I didn’t bother to make a muslin. Although considering the lengths I went to in order to use this particular fabric, it miiiight have been a good idea. But fate was on my side and I’m pretty happy with the fit. I made a size 2 and my adjustments were pretty minimal: 1″ hollow chest adjustment, and 1″ added to the sleeve length. On this and other Tilly patterns, I think I will add an inch or two to the bodice length going forward as they are pretty short-waisted.

As for the fabric – I have no idea what it is. My husband bought me a serger for Christmas, and I immediately raced to Joann to purchase something inexpensive I could “play” with. That idea was immediately forgotten until this last weekend, when I decided it was a good idea to make a dress with only a yard and a half (I jest but in all seriousness – do. not. recommend.).

I know it’s a knit, I THINK it’s a polyester. The selvage has a Joann logo but I can’t find it online, nor have I seen it in any stores since. Typically I try to take a picture of the end of the bolt when I buy something, but in my haste to get back home I completely forgot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The drape is nice and silky, but it’s not nearly as slippery as you might expect. All in all great to sew with, and if I can ever figure out what it is I would purchase it again. So if anybody has ideas or recognizes it, please help ya girl out.

Finally! Given the fabric constraints, pattern matching was not an option here (lol @ me pretending to know how to do that anyway). This combined with twist disgruntlement = miranda parked firmly in the “disillusionment” state of creativity for most of this project. Even after I’d finished it and tried it on, I thought to myself “wow this dress is coo coo for cocopuffs.” But as they say, everything looks better in the morning and with a good night’s sleep and I’m actually quite happy with it.