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Accentuating the Style Lines of the Joni Dress

Hi Makers, this month I’ve made a Joni Dress from Tilly and The Buttons’ Stretch Book. I know I’m a bit late to the party as the book was published in March of 2018. I only recently got my hands on a copy of the book and I knew straight away that I wanted to make a striped Joni dress, pictured on the front, modelled by none other than Tilly herself. 

When I saw this monochrome stripe Scuba Crepe Fabric knew it was the right match for the project. It was my first time using scuba, as the name suggests, it is the fashion version of neoprene, yes, the same fabric used by scuba divers. Scuba is generally used for dancewear, leggings or party dresses. It is usually made of polyester mixed with either lycra or spandex, because of its composition it’s not breathable fabric and so it is not great for summer dresses.

Scuba is a double knit, so like Ponte it is stable and a great choice for beginners. Scuba is known for it’s stretch, but also its recovery. If you’re like me and tend to overstretch your fabric when putting in neckbands, it means your fabric will return to its original shape. Phew! When sewing with scuba it is recommended to use a Ballpoint Needle, to prevent the needle from piercing the fabric. It has a crepe finish (high twisted fibre finish) on the right side of the fabric, and it has a spongey feel. The fabric has a good amount of drape, but the double knit meant it was structured enough to hold the shape of the skirt.

Stripe matching for this project was key, I think a Joni made up in stripes accentuates the style lines of the dress, especially the twist in the bodice. Perfectly matching stripes starts with the cutting process, it takes a bit of pattern piece Tetris to make sure all your pieces line up with the same point of the stripe. This fabric had the extra challenge of having both thin and thick stripes, but I used the widest stripe as my marker and cut all the pieces according to this. To prevent the fabric from slipping when I cut it, I used plenty of pins on every other stripe to hold it in place. It takes a bit longer, but it’s worth the extra time in preparation. 

The instructions for this pattern suggests using Clear Elastic to stabilise the seams, so the dress doesn’t stretch out over time, which I would recommend as the slim fitting bodice needs to stretch a lot to get over your shoulders to take it on and off. The construction of the twist is a bit tricky, but doable. Read the instructions twice and then another time just to be sure, and don’t forget to add a centre front and back notch to your bodice to help you attach the neckline. If like me you’re using stripes, add extra pins as you sew along to keep the fabric from slipping. 

One great advantage of scuba is that if you’re in a rush, there is no need to hem to it as it doesn’t fray. I’m pleased as punch with this dress, especially because I never thought I’d be able to tackle the twist with such a neat finish. The A-line shape makes it very flattering for any figure, it’s very comfortable, making it feel like you’re wearing pyjamas. Happy Making

Claire XO

Makers Got To Make / @makersgottomake

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