The Jalie Michelle Dress
Jalie really nailed it with the Michelle – a beautiful tank and dress pattern perfect for summertime! Kate chose version C – the fully lined dress featuring a rounded V-neck and straps wide enough to cover bra straps. Oh, did I forget to mention the crowning glory of this dress? Pockets!
I love a good pocket. And these are very roomy so you can store your keys, an oversized phone, or a pocket-sized book of Maya Angelou quotes to get some mid-day encouragement! Maybe that last one’s just me…?
Kate’s choice of fabric – the 108″ Honorable Mention QC in Turquoise – worked beautifully for this pattern. Designed by the marvelous Anna Marie Horner, this fabric delivers great structure, and a heckin’ fun amount of color! As you may have guessed from the name, this fabric is actually a 108″ wide quilting cotton backing fabric.
Sewists sometimes refrain from making garments out of quilting cotton because it tends to wrinkle more easily than a cotton lawn or voile, but life’s too short not to make clothing out of a print you love, and Kate LOVED this print! Plus, the added structure of this fabric made the gathering detail at the waist really stand out.
Going, going, gone!
Apparently Kate wasn’t the only one who loved this fabric, because – incredibly – we’ve already sold out!
But don’t worry! We have more on order, and in the meantime you can take a look at the equally gorgeous AMH 108″ Optimistic QC in Cream. Or – if you’re a little more traditional – you could whip up this dress using the RK Crinkled Rayon in Mauve, the Lyocell Twill II in Teal, the Stardust Double-Gauze in Amarante or the Burgeon Autumnal Rayon in Rust!
The rayon and lyocell are all on the drapey-er side while this Amarante Double Gauze is more structured. All four are perfect for a late summer Michelle dress!
Pros and Cons
The thing I like best about Jalie is how many ways one pattern can be used. For example, this Michelle Pattern contains three views: a fully lined tank, a tank with a facing (or ‘partial’ lining), and – Kate’s pick – a dress with a fully lined bodice and gathered skirt. What’s more, this pattern includes sizing for a child’s 2 through an adult’s size 24. (See what I mean about pattern versatility?)
On the other hand, the thing I like least is how the instructions are laid out. Rather than coming in a booklet, the Michelle’s instructions and corresponding diagrams are spread out around the pattern pieces themselves on one big sheet of paper. While this is certainly economical, I found it to be a bit overwhelming.
This interesting pattern/instruction layout sometimes made it difficult for me to keep track of my steps. For each written instruction, the pattern gives a diagram number in parenthesis to reference their intention more visually. These diagrams are very detailed, but because they’re not in numerical order, they can be difficult to locate on the page. So, because I need organization to function, I read through the instructions several times before beginning. Then I circled the diagrams I needed to follow, and used a highlighter to keep my attention limited to Version C.
Of course, it wasn’t until after I’d finished that I learned Jalie provides links to the printable version of all their pattern instructions on their website!! All you have to do is look up the pattern you’re intending to make and, under the ‘Details, sizing & instructions’ tab you’ll find a link to the instructions. Yeesh! Well, at least I can say that I’m always learning new things in this job.
Oh, my new love – the gather stitch. Despite several years of alteration experience, I had never used this technique because our machines were very finnicky. Thus, anything that needed gathering I did by hand.
Save yourself the trouble with the machine gather stitch – such a gem of an approach! Use a gathering foot or just a plain old basting stitch along the top of your skirt, then pull on the bobbin thread to gather the garment tighter. Kate mentioned that she didn’t want an extreme amount of gathering. So, I pinned the side seams for the skirt to the bodice, then gathered the waist until they fit together. When flipped right side out, it gave the skirt a flattering poof at the waist!
Full Bust Adjustment
Kate is a buxom individual, so we needed to do a full bust adjustment. This lengthened and widened the front bodice pattern piece which created a dart from the side seam to her apex. Not only did this strategy help make room for Kate’s chest, but also eliminated strap buckling.
As I watched her try on the original piece, sans a full bust adjustment, I thought of how I’d alter the garment to close her neckline. My mind is still learning how to imagine this garment pieced together and complete, so I tend to finish the garment then alter. But I can confirm that adjusting the pattern piece beforehand saved me time and a headache.
If you’re interested in learning how to fit patterns to your shape, check out The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting. And, for more information on a full bust adjustment, watch Kate demonstrate it on our YouTube Channel here!
When I landed an interview with The Confident Stitch, Kate and Maisie expressed the goal of their business: to empower individuals. The poet in me with my love for words, became stuck on the word empower. I kept thinking “How the heck does a small business selling sewing supplies reach people’s hearts?”
While Kate demonstrated a full bust adjustment, where we cut, taped and reshaped the pattern piece for the front panels, she expressed how powerful it makes her feel to control the fit of her garments. “For years,” she explained, “I found myself in fitting rooms upset because my body is too this or too that. Fabric should not be that harmful to anyone’s self image.”
I’m learning that this business is about more than pretty fabric. It’s about giving our customers tools they need to feel capable of self-expression, and embracing the freedom that sewing brings!