New dress: Seamwork Kimmy

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was into dresses right now. I have this one, another two in progress and ANOTHER two prepped and just waiting to be cut out (which as you know, is my favourite thing to do (yes, I’m a weirdo, but I just adore the cutting part). This is the Seamwork Kimmy, which came out last year at some point. I really liked the version on the model and filed it under “potential future projects” in my brain, and then I saw some versions on Instagram that prompted me to order the copyshop version while I was getting some other stuff printed. It’s a fun little sundress , which is mostly a success, but I don’t think it will go down as a favourite of all time. Let me tell you why…

The Pattern

The Kimmy is described as: “a versatile dress that marries effortless style with ease and comfort. Dolman sleeves with adjustable gathers and an elastic waistline offer this frock its figure-flattering shape.” The pattern comes in Seamwork’s two sizing ranges: 0-16 in the misses range with a C cup block, and 18-26 in the curvy range with a DD block. There is an overlap between the two ranges now, but this is an older pattern, so the break happens at the size 16. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’8″. I’m 5’6″ and didn’t make any changes to the length and, as you can see, it’s still fairly short – above knee length. You’ll probably want to check that if you have long legs.

Sizing and Fabric

I made the misses size 14, which corresponds to my high bust measurement and is usually a pretty good length for my shoulders. Unusually I did not, however, grade out at the waist and hips. This was because there’s quite a bit of ease in the pattern and I figured I could adapt the length of elastic for a comfy fit. I use this approach occasionally with certain types of patterns and it often works well, but this time it wasn’t so successful. The final dress is okay in terms of circumference, but it turns out I don’t have enough length in centre front.

You can see the waistline creeeeppping up here

It looks great first thing in the morning, but I’m a person who tends to puff up over the course of a day, so by the evening that elasticated waistband has slipped higher up my body and this throws off the top half of the garment. Bummer! I should have made the full bust adjustment as that would have given me the extra length.

One of the notable details of the dress is the cute little drawstring shoulders and I prefer to wear them quite cinched up. Lots of people leave the dolman sleeve further out, but I think it makes me look a bit cuboid, so I like them better like this. The only disadvantage is that it creates a couple of little folds in the bodice when it’s tied so tight, but I can live with that.

Another aspect of the project that I wasn’t over the moon about was my pattern placement. I spent quite a bit of time working on this as I had limited fabric, but I didn’t do a great job. It’s one of the rayons that Ruby Star Society brought out last year or 2019 and is called “Daydream Meadow”. I think it matches the vibe of the dress quite well and is lovely and flowing, making it very nice to wear against the skin.

I’m actually technically wearing the dress backwards in these pics. One positive aspect of not doing the FBA is that the front and back are very similar, so it doesn’t really matter and I can’t help but feel that the two swirls on my back (originally the front) look like boobs that have slipped to my waist (see above). It probably doesn’t seem that way to anyone else, but once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it. Haha, oh dear.

Construction

The dress itself is a very pleasant and fast sew. You might be wondering why I didn’t eliminate the centre front and back seams and avoid making the pattern placement even more tricky than necessary. Well, the answer is that you finish all the edges with bias tape before you stitch the bodice piece together, and this is much easier to do on a straight edge, rather than the V you would get if you cut the pieces on the fold. I haven’t come across this finishing method too much, but it works well and is very satisfyingly neat, as well as being much less fiddly this way.

Here are a couple of other notes I made:

  • Staystitch at a scant 1/4″ or even 1/8″ to avoid it being seen on the right side after applying the bias tape
  • Understitch the bias to help it lay flatter. I remembered this tip from a class a while back and it worked great.
  • I didn’t like the waist elastic application instructions. I found it difficult to get even gathers, so I unpicked my first attempt and made the channel first, before inserting the elastic with a bodkin. It also wasn’t super easy, but I got a better result.
  • I didn’t have enough fabric left to make the drawstring (it was a really tight fit!), so I used what was left of my bias tape, folded over and sewn down. It works very well and is quite sturdy, so holds your desired level of cinch beautifully.

Conclusion

Overall, this is a fun little summer dress with a slightly different silhouette. Next time, as well as make the aforementioned sizing tweaks, I think I would make the V neck a little deeper for my own personal preferences. And that’s about it for this post! Look out soon for my version of one of July’s Seamwork patterns, which I absolutely adore. I can’t wait to show you!

Note: I’m a member of the Seamwork ambassador team, which gives me a chance to have some input into the behind-the-scenes workings over at Seamwork HQ, giving feedback on patterns, magazine articles, etc. In return, I am subscribed to the service for free for a year. Nevertheless, I’m not under any obligation to write subjective reviews of Seamwork patterns and all opinions remain my own.

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