Friday, June 7, 2013

Gingham Billie Jean dress

Do you remember my interview with Abby of Bluegingerdoll? At the time, she asked me if I wanted to try her new pattern.
Let's see... feminine dress, gorgeous neckline, vintage silhouette... my answer was HELL YES!
Anyway, it took me a while to make it and photograph it, so here it is, finally.
Let's see the details:

size 8 with alterations

Since the dress was a bit too snug at the waist, I added 1 cm to the side panels of the bodice just at the side seams. It's not the standard way to alter a pattern, but it worked for me.
I also lengthened the bodice by 1 cm, which, I guess, compensates for not doing a FBA.
I stitched the neckline using a seam allowance of 1cm instead of 1,5cm because I wanted it a bit higher and I wanted the straps to be a bit wider.
I made version 2 of the pattern, with the gathered skirt, but used a much smaller panel than the one that comes with the pattern. I wanted to avoid adding too much bulk at the waist.
I also added a tiny bow at the center back for extra cuteness. I'm so happy I did, it's such an adorable detail.

General impressions: 
I am VERY happy with this dress. It totally fits my style, it's girly and cute with a vintage flair. Also, very important to me: it's bra friendly! I just added bra strap carriers (I use the same technique that Dixie brilliantly explained here) and I don't need to wear a strapless bra, which is something I tend to avoid.

A few words about the pattern: Abby sent me the pdf version of Billie Jean and I must admit that assembling it wasn't the most pleasant experience. First of all, there are a lot of pages for such a simple design, because the skirt panels for version 2 are huge! I strongly recommend you skip printing them, save on paper and just cut a rectangle of fabric for your skirt panels. Also, there's a general lack of markings on the pattern sheets and you have to overlap them over the margins, which means there is quite a bit of guess work and patience involved.
In conclusion, if you like this pattern, I do recommend the paper version over the pdf.
Other than that, everything went smoothly! The instructions are clear but very basic, so if you're a complete beginner, you might want to research more detailed tutorials at least on how to sew a princess seam, how to line a bodice and how to install an overlapped zipper. I guess this is also the reason why the pattern is marked at an intermediate level.

I can't wait to see what Abby releases next. The girl definitely has talent, and with some minor improvements here and there, she's definitely one to watch!


  1. This is really pretty and it fits you so well on the shoulders! Another pattern added to my 'to do' list I think...

  2. I love your version - so pretty! The fabric is adorable and looks pink from afar.

  3. Love this dress - that bow especially is just too cute!

  4. Oh that's so lovely !!! The print is just adorable.

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  6. Very cute! I will definetely add your bow to my mental-ideas-when-sewing list!

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  8. The dress is really pretty and the bow is a detail I have to remember for a future project! Abby seems like a cool girl and a good designer, but I have to admit that your version of the dress does confirm what I thought when I saw the pattern. To be very honest, this pattern doesn't seem like a revolution to me. You could easily sew up a dress like this by using patterns that have been around for a while and making small adjustements. E.g. the famous Burda 101 from 02/2011 or the gathered sundress by Pattern Runway. Don't get me wrong, the dress is great, but it would require something more special for me to spend 22 Dollars plus shipping from Australia.

    However, I'm curious to see what she will come up with in the future!

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  15. A Stitching OdysseyJune 7, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    This is so pretty Anna, I love it! Thanks for alerting me to a new indie pattern line too!

  16. you did such a great job fitting this! gorgeous dress!

  17. So beautiful! I love the little bow.

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