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Slinky Jersey Joni Dress

Hello! Today I'll be reviewing this Slinky Jersey Knit Fabric in the color black.
This slinky jersey is indeed very slinky. It feels nice and has a good weight. When held up to the light you can see through it, but when wearing it as a garment it's opaque. I'm not sure how that works, but thank goodness it does otherwise I'd be too embarrassed to wear it out in public!
I chose to make a Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons book, Stretch. I thought the slinkiness of the fabric would complement the pattern, and I wasn't wrong. Although I did have quite a bit of trouble getting the fabric to behave!
Some of the techniques used on the Joni dress were a bit tricky to pull off with such a drapey fabric, but I managed to make it look decent.
Here are some tips to help you make your own sassy, slinky Joni dress.
1. You might want to consider raising the neckline an inch or so, as the slinkiness of the fabric causes it to drape a little lower than intended. Another fix, which is what I have done, is to sew the neckline together above the twist.
2. This fabric is slippery, so be extra careful when cutting your pieces out. I cut everything out the way I usually do, on the carpet with pins holding the pattern to the fabric, but that was super frustrating. It worked, but it was challenging to get the fabric to stay where it needed to be. Perhaps try cutting out on a flat surface, using pattern weights to hold everything still. You might even mirror your pattern pieces so that you don't have to deal with two layers of fabric, just one big piece. A rotary cutter would be very helpful, too!
3. Slow and steady wins the race. This fabric stretches with the smallest of movements, so be extra careful and slow while sewing it. Trust me, it'll be worth the extra time and effort.
4. That being said, it will stretch a little bit while sewing and turn out a bit wobbly. Don't panic! Grab your trusty iron and press those wobbles away. The heat will shrink everything back to where it needs to be.
Make sure to test out your iron on a scrap of fabric first, of course! I found the medium heat setting worked wonders, but no two irons are the same.
5. Oh, the neckband! I had so much trouble with it. The slinky fabric is just not stable enough to be in charge of holding the neckline in place. I suggest either stabilizing the neckband piece with a knit interfacing or using a sturdier knit to get the job done. If you decide to use a different fabric, make sure it matches your main fabric.
As you can see in the picture below, my neckline ended up stretching alot. The back is not supposed to be draping like that!
6. When hemming the circle skirt, don't bother trying to mark the fabric with chalk. It's so frustrating to try and get an accurate marking because the fabric just stretches everywhere and it becomes a big mess of random markings that probably won't result in a nice, even hem. Instead, mark with thread! Sew a line 3/4" from the raw edge of your skirt, being careful of course not to stretch the fabric. Tada! Now just fold your fabric along the thread line and pin, pin, pin. Topstitch as stated in Tilly's instructions.
If the hem comes out wobbly (mine did) remember tip number three and iron away!
7. My last tip has to do with the maternity hack, which I attempted to do. I forgot that the front of the skirt was longer than the back and ended up sewing the front of the skirt to the back of the bodice, resulting in an unintentional high-low hem. Which, to be honest, I don't entirely mind. I'm certainly not going to try and unpick the tiny, zigzagged stitching that blends into the fabric just to flip things around. So, don't be spacey like me and remember to sew the skirt on correctly. Unless you want a high-low hem, because that's pretty cute too.
Overall, just take it slow. This fabric is a wriggly one and needs extra attention and patience. Take breaks if you need to, don't sew when you are frustrated! Come back after you have cooled down a bit.
I certainly learned alot from this dress, which I wasn't expecting at all! The pattern itself looked easy enough to me, but the fabric gave me it's own little challenges. I really want to make another, so I can put what I learned into practice.
Until next time,
The Aspiring Seamstress

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