achievement unlocked: indelible jersey dress


i made a couple of new dresses last week while david & alana were here, pitching in with ramona. this is the one i’ve actually been wearing because it’s more weather-appropriate. i’m going to have to wait to blog about the other one when the weather cools off a bit.

the fabric is a jersey knit from the indelible collection. this isn’t my favorite print from the line, but only two prints were made into knits & this was the one i preferred. i wasn’t going to buy it because it was really expensive & i already have a short-sleeved jersey knit dress with a circle skirt. do i really need another? but i kept going back to the fabric shop & visiting the fabric because it felt so nice & soft & cool. so i bought some.

the pattern is a sewaholic renfrew for the top, married to the skirt from mccall’s 6754. the renfrew is a pretty long shirt & i knew i wouldn’t need all that length, so i measured a jersey top i have that fits well & transferred those measurements on to the renfrew pattern pieces. i cut everything out & started sewing, &…the top was way too short. no clue how that happened. so i went ahead & cut the rest of the original length for the renfrew, sewed it on to the bottom of my too-short bodice, drew a chalk line where my waist hit & cut the bodice off 5/8″ below that line to attach the skirt.

yeah. remember the last garment i posted about, & how i said i wanted my next sewing project to be really precise? none of this slapdash good-enough cobbled-together bullshit? *sigh*

in my defense, i’d never made the renfrew before & didn’t know what to expect from the drape & stretch of the jersey. i guess now i know for next time? i’m kind of frustrated with myself because the waistline is actually slightly off-center. i’ve mentioned before that i always have to make a bunch of adjustments to everything i sew because my waist is uneven front to back because of my deformed spine. i always have to make things longer in the front & shorter in the back, so i have to curve things to meet evenly at the side seams. in this case, the lowest front dip is slightly off to the side, & i also over-compensated & made the front just a hair too long, like maybe a quarter of an inch, so that’s why there are those ripples at the waist. better luck next time, i guess. i also probably should have sewn the extra panel with a straight stitch & finished the seam by pinking to make it lay a bit flatter. things you don’t think about until it’s too late.

& not to just harp on all my failures, but something also went awry with my pockets. i was attaching them two & a half inches from the waist seam, but one got sewn on four inches from the waist seam. ??? i have no idea how that happened because i was being pretty careful. but i was also chatting with david while i sewed, so i guess i just screwed up somehow. i tried to trim away the excess fabric where the pockets weren’t the same size, but now that pocket tends to gape & it’s kind of annoying. luckily, i used the same fabric as i did for the dress (which is a miracle–i usually prefer to use contrasting fabric), so it’s not super-obvious. from afar, anyway.

the renfrew part of this was so easy & fun to sew up. i was nervous because sewaholic patterns are not drafted for ladies of my bust size, but i cut the largest size & the stretch of the jersey helped give me a really nice fit. i think the neck & sleeve finishes look fantastic & they were much easier to accomplish than i expected. i only regret sewing them on with a straight stitch. it caused a little bit of puckering that i probably could have avoided with a zig zag stitch, & pulling stitches out of jersey is a fool’s errand. i think my neckband also stretched out a little bit while i sewed. i didn’t mark the binding notches on the bodice because i had been planning to just turn under & sew, so i think i pinned unevenly & then had to stretch to fit in a few places. i will mark the notches, pin more carefully, & use a zig zag stitch next time.

& there will definitely be a next time! even though i am focusing a lot on the mistakes i made in this post, i do really like how this came out & i’m really looking forward to applying what i learned to more similar dresses & shirts. this dress is super-comfortable–total secret pajama territory. but it looks like a real, put-together outfit. i’ve already gotten several compliments on it from strangers. it’s great for chasing after ramona & the print helps hide the inevitable stains she gevs all over me when she eats peaches & then buries her face in my skirt.

photo 1

me, ramona, & the dress at the library. where, yes, there is an enormous teddy bear.

i plan to make this up in dress form at least a few more times. i’m still waffling on whether to do more circle skirts or try a skirt with a little less flare. i got some stretchy plaid poly today for like $1.50 a yard. it has a very similar weight & drape as this jersey–maybe just a touch heavier. i’m thinking about making this dress again with that, but with three-quarter-length sleeves & a cowl-neck. i also have some very snuggly gray floral sweatshirt material i got at grey’s fabrics while i was in boston. i want to make another dress with that, with black full-length sleeves. & another cowl? we’ll see what i think of the plaid one. i also got some blue & black striped ponte on sale for like $3 a yard. maybe a shirt? i plan to buy a ton of thermal knits & make an army of thermal renfrews. all my store-bought thermals are stretched out (because i wore them while i was preggo), full of holes, just in really bad shape. i’ve been meaning to replace them, & now i can just sew my own!

i’m also planning to dip my toe into sewing my own bras. something terrible happened to my favorite bra & i don’t think it can be worn anymore. i replaced it with one i am not so thrilled about. i was really annoyed at the store because it’s nearly impossible to find an unpadded bra, & listen. i do not need any help in that area. all the unpadded bras were really ugly, just all beige & grandma-esque. i bought a bra pattern that checks all my boxes are far as customization options & support go, & if all goes well, maybe i can figure out how to dye the materials i need to make actual cool-looking bras. i told jared that maybe i’ll be making bras for ramona in like ten years, & she’ll be like, “mom! this is so embarrassing!” & she heard me & said, “mom! mom! mom!” it was funny because usually she calls me “mama” & says it in a sweet baby way. but she was totally mimicking my grumpy teenager voice.

a few more dress photos:



Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

3 thoughts on “achievement unlocked: indelible jersey dress

    1. thanks! the bear is kind of scary. it’s so big. & i worry that it is a disease vector because i’m sure it’s cuddled by like a hundred kids a day, minimum.

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