Tilly and the Buttons – Joni Dress

I love this fabric – the dress turned out pretty great too!

This is the Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons’ book ‘Stretch‘ in a cotton jersey. Stretch is a really lovely little book my husband gave me for my birthday a few years back. I’m not very into loungewear, so I haven’t made a lot from it, though I have made the Freya top (a turtleneck) in a petrol-coloured stretch velvet. People either love or hate my Freya but haters gonna hate and I love it. I also have a second Joni cut out with a sequin skirt!

But back to talking about this dress! This is a surprisingly simple pattern and an effective party dress if you’re looking for an interesting design and comfortable outfit. I made it on a mix of overlocker and sewing machine in around 2 hours.

I made a few adjustments to it. As I cut it out around Christmas time after eating an entire gingerbread house (not kidding), I cut the bodice between at a size 3 (adding 2cm) at the bust and a size 4 everywhere else to leave room for cake. Tilly’s patterns tend to have rather broad shoulders for me, so I did a narrow shoulder adjustment and I shortened the bodice and skirt to make up for the height difference. Unfortunately, my narrow shoulder adjustment was a little too zealous, so I have added back a centimetre to my second dress.

I found the instructions OK. I wasn’t as successful at adding the binding with the twist in the bodice as the book suggested I ought to be, so I was glad there are YouTube sew-a-longs for this pattern. The patterns in this book are aimed at knit beginners, so there are plenty of pictures and hand holding.

Altogether, I am happy with my Joni dress. The colour is great and I love leopard print. Unfortunately, what I thought was a jersey needle was not and due to the seam ripping I needed to do to get the binding right, the neckline now has tiny little holes in it. I have hand-stitched them closed but it was a lesson learnt the hard way – always check you are using the right needle!

I would definitely make this pattern again (especially given I already have a second cut out), but given the focus on loungewear, I’m not sure how much more use I’ll get out of the Stretch Book. Maybe it’s time for another velvet turtleneck…

Pattern: Joni Dress

Designer: Tilly and the Buttons

Designed for: Knit fabrics

Fabric choice: Cotton jersey

Size: 3.5 (My measurements are – Height: 159cm/5’2, Bust: 88cm, Waist 73cm, Hips 96cm)

Modifications: Cut between sizes 3 and 4, narrow shoulder adjustment, shortened pattern pieces to suit my height

Difficulties or future changes: Binding after already twisting the front bodice was not the neatest; double-check I’m using the right needle!

Recommend for: Confident beginners

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