Fated to Be
TCS’s in-house seamstress, Bonnie, has been itching to make the Christine Jonson Princess Dress ever since we got the pattern in last June, and, when a Designer Lycra/Poly Knit in Mint and Melon arrived in the shop not long afterwards, it felt like a sign straight from the sewing gods. This pattern and fabric were destined to find one another!
Simple and flattering, the Princess Dress is, in many respects, a typical A-line dress with princess seams. Easy to sew, and easy to wear, this dress’s shape is tried and true. However, in a unique twist, Christine Jonson added an asymmetrical neckline. As you can see, this allows for a saucy showing of collarbone and decolletage, without an abundance of cleavage. Moreover, the retro geometric design on this eye-catching polyester/lycra knit, PERFECTLY compliments the asymmetric design! See what we mean? DESTINY!
In general, Bonnie is fond of Christine Jonson’s patterns. When recounting her experience with the Princess Dress, she mentioned that these patterns, while quick and easy, still possess an “elegant flair” – a balance not always easily achieved when designing for knits. Like any pattern, however, the Princess has a few eccentricities. The most glaring is a lack of information regarding the finished measurements.
There’s an assumption that a general sizing chart (detailing an individual’s approximate measurements and the corresponding numbered size) is sufficiently informative. But, when sewing with knits, the fabric’s crosswise and/or lengthwise stretch is often taken into account by the pattern drafter, and, as such, the resulting garment is sometimes smaller than the maker anticipated. While it may technically ‘fit’ due to the fabric’s stretch, it is not necessarily comfortable.
So, as a means to circumvent this, possibly, constrictive outcome, Bonnie cut, sewed, and fit the lining pieces first. This allowed her to preemptively gauge if her initial sizing was correct, and to make necessary adjustments on the main pattern pieces. As it turned out, a size 12 was just perfect. What’s more, the 5/8 inch seam allowance, handily included in the pattern, also provided plenty of room for alteration.
Another lesser, but interesting, peculiarity Bonnie found during her process was that the #10 pattern piece lacked a grainline marking. This may have a glitch specific to her particular pattern, but it does bring up a good point. Patterns sometimes have mistakes in them. So, by taking time to carefully look over a pattern before cutting into any fabric, you may well save yourself some heartache in the long run!
Points of View
This pattern includes options for long, cap, and no sleeves. Bonnie chose – perhaps in response to the BRUTAL Montana cold snap we’re experiencing – to go with the long-sleeve option. However, given how complimentary it is, and how quickly it comes together, this may well be a pattern worth repeating in varying sleeve lengths. Additionally, pattern pieces for a simple, one-seam, wrap top (that could stand alone or pair nicely with the no-sleeve dress option) are also included!
This is How We Do Knit
If there’s one thing we learned from our Trunk Show last summer, it’s that Christine Jonson loves a good knit! Though knits can be a bit tricky for a beginner, the easy-to-follow directions included in this pattern, as well as the wiggle room provided by the seam allowance, makes it a great option for all the ‘knit-sewing newbies’ out there. At the same time, experienced sewers will be delighted by how quickly this dress comes together, and by how easy it is to make casual or formal depending on the knit used.
For a relaxed, everyday look try this pattern in one of our Avalana or Organic Soy Knits, or add a touch of elegance by using one of our wonderfully drape-y Desiger ITY Knits. You can also take a leaf out of Bonnie’s book and go for something a little more whimsical like the Designer Floral Knit in Dark Teal.
Feel like the royalty you are, no matter the weather, with the simple and elegant Christine Jonson Princess Dress. Happy Sewing!
3 thoughts on “Christine Jonson Princess Dress”
This dress looks great but I’m a little confused: are you saying that despite the garment’s finished measurements being shown that they are inaccurate depending on the stretch of the chosen fabric? I also don’t see any mention of lining; is it necessary?
Thanks for your question. This confused me as well when Bonnie explained it to me and I guess I didn’t do a great job relaying her explanation. Let me attempt to clarify (with the help of Lion Brand Yarn’s Essay entitled Cracking the Pattern Code Part 2: Sizes and Finished Measurements).
So, most patterns include Size and/or Finished Measurement sections to indicate the expected dimensions of the finished piece.
Sizes are specified in very general terms, such as S (small), Size 14 or 0-6 months. Finished measurements are more specific and should be carefully considered. A garment could have an oversized, relaxed, standard, tight, or very tight fit, and if you are not sure what the garment’s finished measurements are going to be, you may end up with a tighter garment than you are preferential to.
I state the obvious when I say, some women prefer a tight-fitting knit dress while others prefer a looser fit. Finished measurements let you know that when you make a size 14, the ending bust result will indeed be a relaxed 40”, not 38” that stretch to 40” because the knit you used has a 50% lengthwise stretch. Does this make sense? Because a pattern sizing system is rather arbitrary, finished measurements can be really important depending on your specific tastes. The Sew Liberated Stasia Dress, for example, is drafted with a ‘very tight fit’ and, as such, the finished chest measurements, in this pattern, end up being a bit less than the wearer’s actual chest measurement.
So – to answer your question – the sizing chart of the Princess Dress isn’t inaccurate it just leaves you wondering weather the finished fit will be too tight or not. Bonnie altered very little on this pattern and her size 12 choice worked great. The overall fit of the garment, as you can see in the pictures, was not too tight. I take this to ultimately mean that you can trust the sizing chart and not worry that the finished measurements will be unflattering.
As far as the lining goes, this pattern is self-lined just in the bodice. Christine Jonson often does this with her patterns. It hides all the seams and keeps the inside looking tidy while making the whole construction a little sturdier. You don’t have to line it if you don’t want to, but the lining also keeps a dark or lacy bra from showing through.
I hope this answers your question, and thanks for your feedback!
I’ve also added a picture of the lining, made out of our Designer ITY Knit in Camel, to this blog post.