Resort Life & Cocktails – The Kenedy Dress

Oh Kenedy. I’ve learned so much from you.

This is the Seamwork Kenedy. Seamwork patterns seem to have a lot of haters (or is it Colette that has the haters? I can never remember.), but either I’ve chosen well or they’re just made for a Petite Font body in mind because I don’t have any complaints about the patterns I’ve made so far.

Anyway, this is the second go ’round with this pattern. The first time I made it was a year ago in crinkly cotton that worked my every last nerve (it also took me 4 whole days to make—it’s billed as a 2-hour project). But the final dress, French seams and all, was perfect for the all-inclusive Mexican resort at which my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.

Here’s an Instagram post from that trip. We’re both in me made attire!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Paulette Font-Erato (@pfont) on

Non-stop drinks at the pool? Check! Looking cute while doing it? Check!

When I first tested the fit for that first dress, I used a leftover remnant of iridescent purple stretch taffeta that I had no idea how or why it was in my stash. Regardless, the color was gorgeous, though I only had enough to make the front and back, no sleeves. So I locked in the fit, liked it sans sleeves, and used the cotton with an embroidery look.

Back then I was 15 pounds heavier, so I’d made a size 18 with a few modifications: moved the back V up 2”, cut the hem at size 14 (#shortgirlproblems) and tamed the wide trapeze sweep by grading to a size 14 below the waist, and left off the back ties because laziness. I thought it was perfect.

And even though it’s a bit big now, I still can use it as a bathing suit cover-up.

Of course when it came time to make it again I had to size down a bit. However, I overshot the mark! I probably should have made a straight size 14 but I opted for a 12 because that’s the size my Loretta is and I figured with the stretch in the taffeta it would be fine.

It will be if and when I shave another inch off my boobs!

So the resulting dress is a tad tight. But I leveled up my sewing this time around with some of the techniques. I once again used French seams because, even though it feels like I’m sewing the whole thing twice (you technically are), they look so pretty!  But this time I also ALMOST mastered a narrow hem! I’ve never been able to make the narrow hem foot work for me but this time I had to. The hem was at just the right length so I couldn’t bring it up much. And the cap sleeves look so good with a narrow hem. I guess I could have satin stitched it or tried to figure it out on my serger, but I didn’t have matching serger threads.

Look at the beautiful shoulder with the self-bias tape neckline and that narrow hem on the cap sleeve. I even did French seams on the sleeves!

The last time I didn’t put in the back ties in and it slipped all over the place. So this time I did (it’s a cute feature), and that can really affect the fit!

Because of the changes I liked last time, I kept them for this version: raised the back neckline and graded down the sweep from 12 to 10 but kept the hem at 14. Except I didn’t pay attention to my notes that said I added length to the hem so I could turn it up twice. So this time I have a shorter dress.

I really should have done a forward shoulder adjustment. The only tissue fit issue I bothered with was moving the bust point. I did make a small FBA and just got to cutting. Again, because laziness.

I love this color on me. It’s the perfect signature color of the month purple and an easy cocktail dress. Speaking of which, this is my “night/cocktail” entry for the #dayandnightdresschallenge as well as the February “feature”-themed Make a Garment a Month challenge. For my “day”/coffee dress, see my McCall’s & Sunny dress Franken-hack.




Now to have a cocktail party…

Pattern Recap:

Pattern: Seamwork Kenedy
Size: 12 graded to 10 below waist and to 14 for hem
Fabric: purple iridescent stretch taffeta from JB Textiles in the DTLA Fashion District
Modifications: see size grading, also shortened ties to desired length
Notes for next time: size up to 14 and do a forward shoulder adjustment

Share & Pin!
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
MsElisePaulette Erato Recent comment authors
Notify of

This is very beautiful. Great color on you. And yes, those seams are gorgeous! Excellent!!

Paulette Erato
Paulette Erato

Thank you Ms Elise! I still have a good lot of the purple taffeta left so I’m trying to figure out what else to make with it.