I didn’t think it was possible, but this Victory Patterns Jackie is the first dress I’ve ever blogged about. It’s a fact; I checked my archive.
I’m OK with that — more than OK, actually, because the Victory Patterns Jackie dress is a bonafide B-A-B-E. I’m talking stone-cold fox.
I had the great pleasure of testing the Jackie pattern for Victory Patterns, and I’m so glad I jumped on the opportunity. I feel like this pattern is on its way to stardom in the sewing community, and I, in a small way, helped shaped that!
Keep reading for:
• My construction details — including insight on my closure modification (if buttons ain’t your thang)
• My take on why this gorgeous pattern is a winner
• My top tips for sewing your own hot-cha-cha Victory Patterns Jackie
Let’s say hey to Jackie!
My Victory Patterns Jackie dress construction details
This outrageous fabric is a scuba knit I found at Jo-Ann. It’s part of the Nicole Miller collection, which is colorfiul and rich in wack-a-doo patterns. The scuba is opaque and had some heft to it.
I wore the dress for my son’s second birthday party, and it stretched with me through all my hosting duties. We’ll see whether scuba sinks or swims (HAR HAR HAR) in warm weather. It is a poly-spandex mix, after all.
There’s interfacing in the neck and back center opening, and I used Pellon EK130 Easy-Knit (affiliate link) — the same interfacing I used in my Named Saunio cardigan. It ironed on nicely.
I sewed a size 0 for the bodice top and graded to a 6 skirt bottom. I measured 32-27-37. The size 0 bust is 32 inches, and the size 6 hips are 37.5 inches.
The pattern has two variations — a sleeveless version with a midi (27 inch) skirt and a full-sleeve version with a full (33.5 inch) skirt.
Because I wanted a warm-weather dress, I opted for no sleeves and a shorter skirt. I wanted the skirt to hit just above the knee — 22 inches from my natural waist. To achieve this, I removed 5 inches from the skirt length.
Along with the size and length mods, I used an exposed zipper instead of buttons and loops for the center-back closure (more on that later!).
What I love about Victory Patterns Jackie
The bra factor
Hold onto your potatoes, Dr. Jones. Jackie is a sleeveless pattern that doesn’t require a racerback bra!
It’s almost worth sewing on that factoid alone!
The skirt is fullish, ladylike, and swishy. Living room dance party, aww yeaaaah.
The princess seams
The princess seams add visual speed and leanness to the design of the dress. Plus, they offer cool color-blocking opportunities!
Jackie gives me a ’70s/’80s vibe. It’s something that Joyce Byers (from Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” set in 1983) would wear. You know, when she wasn’t majorly stressing over her missing son. (Don’t worry; these aren’t spoilers if you’ve never seen it!)
The dress is elegant, but I’m confident I could make it part of a casual look with the right accessories — jean jacket and cute trainers shoot to the top of my stylist brain.
The personal growth
When Victory Patterns put out a call for pattern testers in mid-February, I got pumped. Eventually I’d like to design my own sewing patterns, and being a tester would be a fab experience.
But then I got hesitant. Would I have time to sew the dress AND give thoughtful feedback?
I kicked the idea to my husband, Mark, and he encouraged me to go for it. “There’s no growth without challenge,” he said.
He’s so wise.
I’m glad I made this dress under a tight deadline. Every time I wear it, I’ll recall how I pushed my sewing skills AND came out the other side with something beautiful.
Tips for sewing your own Victory Patterns Jackie dress
Don’t skip a muslin
I opted for an exposed zipper because the dress was too tight across the back. The zipper you’re looking at is a 7-inch jeans zipper (affiliate link). I liked the shiny brass.
I first made Jackie with the button-and-loop closure as directed. But the loops slid off the buttons, and the back center facing rolled out.
I could keep the facing from rolling out when I stood up stick straight and rolled my shoulders down my back (think tall and proud Mountain pose in yoga). However, that’s not how I stand most of the time.
Making the Victory Pattern Jackie dress showed me that my shoulders roll forward, probably from years of computer work. This stretches clothes across the center back. (I know this sounds like I’m hunched over like Mr. Burns, but I swear it’s not obvious!)
Another reason I think the back bodice was too tight is because I’m a 32C and the pattern is designed for a B cup.
I would have discovered this fitting issues BEFORE sewing the scuba knit IF I had sewn a muslin. Consider this a cautionary tale! (I only skipped a muslin because of the tight deadline.)
It was hard to abandon the buttons and loops; the back opening is so sexy with them! But the exposed zipper has been a solid fix. It keeps the facing from rolling out, and it gave me an extra 1/4-1/2 inch in the bodice circumference, which improves the bodice fit.
When it comes to fit, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Stitch in the ditch to tack down neck facings
The instructions call for hand stitching the neck facing to the shoulder seam allowance. I stitched in the ditch on the shoulder seam from the front to keep the facing in place.
It’s your call, obviously, but ditch stitching was faster for me. And because the fabric pattern is so busy, I knew it’d be invisible.
Think outside the box for a shoulder stabilizer
The instructions call for 1/4-inch clear elastic for stabilizing the shoulders. I only had 3/8-inch clear elastic, so I had to improvise.
That’s when I rediscovered my all-time favorite stabilizer: 1/4-inch twill tape (affiliate link), made of polyester and stable as dry concrete. I first used twill tape in shoulders when I made the Sewaholic Renfrew. The tape is easy to sew and feels good against your skin. I should buy it in bulk from Amazon.
Consider one layer of fabric for the armhole facing
The scuba knit was not lightweight; I really felt its beefiness sewing through multiple layers.
The armhole facing is a long, narrow pattern piece that you fold in half and stitch to the arm opening. This means as you sew the facing, you sew through three layers of fabric — and five layers of fabric when you sew through the facing seam allowances.
All these layers made my machine crabby. To make things less crabby, I lengthened the stitch length near the seam allowances and slowly turned my flywheel by hand.
If your Victory Patterns Jackie dress fabric also is midweight, consider making the armhole facing a single layer instead of folding it in half. This is an especially good idea if your fabric doesn’t unravel.
Take care with notches, because the seam allowances are only 1/4 inch
The instructions call out this nugget of wisdom, but it bears repeating: DO NOT get aggressive with your notches. The last thing you want is to snip past the seam line and fill your heart with red-hot rage and disappointment.
It (almost) goes without saying that because the seam allowances are not generous, you’ll need to be extra heads up with aligning all your edges. If you’re not yet a confident sewist, I don’t think adding a little extra to the seam allowances when you’re cutting fabric would be the worst thing. It’s called wiggle room for a reason.
Trim and grade seam allowances, especially for facings
Reducing the mass of seam allowances keeps the right side of your Victory Patterns Jackie from looking lumpy. Carefully snip down those seam allowances.
I sometimes forget or hesitate to trim. Part of me thinks, “What happens if I need to unpick that seam and the allowance is so small that I can’t get it back together?”
That is a possibility. But honestly, I can’t think of a time where I needed to go back and unpick after I’ve trimmed.
If you read the instructions first and take your time with each sewing step, you’re going to be fine. And if you have to unpick, oh well. It’s only fabric.
Take your time with facings and understitching
You want professional results, right? Don’t rush! The more time you take with facings — especially with pressing — the sharper those edges will be. Stay sharp, sewists!
Over to you, sewcialists: Have you sewn with scuba knit before? If not, what’s kept you from (PUN INTENDED) diving in? How would you style a Victory Patterns Jackie dress? Please sound off in comments! I read ’em all and LOVE to hear from you!
P.S. Does this sleeveless dress have you thinking about summer? Yeah, me too. Here are some posts about shorts:
Shorts pattern review: High-waisted Seamwork Weston
Seamwork shorts sewing pattern: These ain’t Nantucket Reds
Prefontaine shorts: A shorts story made long
P.P.S. Did you know there’s a Victory Patterns book called “Boundless Style” (affiliate link)? I own it (bought it with my own cash money), and it’s gorgeous. It’s mix-and-match bodice, sleeve, and skirt patterns. As a matter of fact, one of my 2017 sewing goals is to make something from the book. Anyhoo, if you dig on Jackie, you might dig on this book, too.
P.P.P.S. In the interest of transparency, I received a free copy of the Jackie pattern in exchange for my labor as a pattern tester. And Victory’s boss lady, Kristiann Boos, also gave testers credit for Victory Patterns in her store. I paid for my fabric and notions. My opinions of the Jackie pattern are my own; Kristiann did not ask testers to blog about Jackie or share their makes on social media. Transparency is important to me, and I think you guys have a right to know about stuff like this. Plus, I think it’s interesting. I think every sewist should test a pattern!
P.P.P.P.S. Holy postscript, Batman! Should you be interested, here’s a post about working with scuba: How to press scuba knit and more: Tips for working with scuba fabric.
Bravo Erin! Pattern testing is a pretty fun experience, glad you were able to experience it! That dress looks so fun!!! It begs you to twirl 🙂 I’ve never sewn with scuba. Is it squishy? I imagine it would be like sewing into a marshmallow.
Also, do you know about Wawak? You might want to check it out re: ordering twill tape in bulk. 144 yds for less than $10
Scuba is kinda like if swim fabric and ponte di roma had a baby. It’s kinda squishy but not at all hard to handle. I really liked sewing with it. I was worried that it would press for crap because it’s polyester, but it took the iron like a champ.
Thanks for the twill tape tip! I’ve heard Heather Lou of CCP talk about Wawak, but I’ve never bought from them. Will explore (possible with my credit card, ha ha).
Thanks for reading!