Pattern Reviews

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!


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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

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Paulette Erato
Paulette Erato
Mar 6, 2018 4:39 pm

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.

Mar 6, 2018 4:36 pm

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