Pattern Reviews

The Red Anniversary Dress – Seamwork Kimmy

The Seamwork Kimmy dress has been on my to-do list since…oy, June. But hey, here we are in July and I finally got it done.


I chose the Kimmy because I thought it would be a pretty quick make. See, it was supposed to be done in time for our second wedding anniversary (like El Husbando’s shirt), which meant I actually wanted to make it in May. We even bought the fabric in May so I could try to get it done by June 1 (our actual anniversary). But…life.

So July!

The fabric here is special because my husband picked it for me. He’s never actually done that, but because the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton, what better gift than fabric? So off he went to Michael Levine with the list of recommended fabrics and chose this red cotton with faux embroidery.

I cannot for the life of me find this on the website (though this one is very similar) and I can’t remember if it’s a lawn or voile, but it’s very lightweight. So much so that I was afraid it might be too sheer so I also scored a hot red Bemberg lining. (Once I finished it, I realized the pattern is busy enough to overcome the sheerness of the fabric, so I’m thinking of making a slip out of the rayon).

When I got back from Canada, I went to the gym and promptly got sick. Like sooooooo very sick. I’d been away from my sewing machine for over two weeks and the bronchitis kept me away for yet another week. By the time I could actually cut out the pattern, what should have taken at most 2 days to complete took more than 4. And it wasn’t until I was making the drawstrings for the dress (the very last thing I did) that I realized the fabric wasn’t actually embroidered, but the design is painted on.

It’s amazing how low functioning I become when I’m sick. Which I still kind of am, but onward!

I made my typical adjustments to the Kimmy:
– Shortened the bodice (by 2.5”)
– Full bust adjustement (only ½” since Seamwork patterns are drafted for a C cup)
– Shortened the hem by 1.5”, but only because I had to (not because I wanted to)

I didn’t want center front and back seams so I cut both sides of the bodice and skirt on the fold. But the swing of the skirt was just a tad too wide, so I had to shorten AND narrow it a bit to get it on the fold. It was fine until I realized that the waist seam was actually 1.375” and not just 5/8”. Oops, that meant losing MORE length and I wasn’t quite ready for that.

What I did to preserve the bit of length I did have was completely change the waistband casing. I sewed the seam at 5/8” as instructed, but then sewed the seam allowances together to create a ½” channel for my elastic. It worked out just fine! I also only did a ¾” hem instead of 1.25” otherwise it might have become indecent!

What wasn’t quite so successful was my attempt at bias binding around a v-neck. I used a double wide double fold store-bought tape instead of creating my own single fold, and then decided that double folding the edges was going to create too much structure and weigh down this fabric. So I decided to simply fold the whole thing over to the back and sew down the whole 1” width. I liked how it looked on the outside, but I totally screwed up the Vs.

Both Wendy Ward and Workroom Social have excellent tutorials on this. But those are working with double fold tape that’s the same width before and after folding the tape over. I couldn’t figure out the geometry of doing it my way (probably because I was sick, and totally NOT because I’m bad at mathing), so I ended up with:

Somehow I screwed it up using BOTH techniques. But you know that saying about how done is better than perfect? Totally applies here.

If I make this again, I’m going to need some kind of shoulder or back adjustment. I have some pulling across the upper back in this. It also happens in the dress I made for the #littlereddressproject, which is also a v-neck back, so it’s not just a problem with this particular pattern. Will a forward shoulder adjustment work to fix that or is it something else? Like maybe a broad back adjustment?

And finally our second anniversary outfits are done! Only a month and a half late. Maybe next year I’ll start in April…the third anniversary gift is leather, so who knows where that will lead!



I love the drawstrings in the shoulder seams!


Pattern Recap:

Pattern: Seamwork Kimmy
Size: 12
Fabric: tomato red cotton with faux embroidered embellishment
Modifications: center front and back seams removed, bodice shortened 2.5″, skirt shortened 1.5″, 1/2″ FBA
Notes for next time: add back the skirt length and do a forward shoulder adjustment or a broad back adjustment.

This is also my entry to the Sew Alongs Facebook Group’s #JustColorJuly challenge.
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Joanne Gillespie
Joanne Gillespie
Aug 23, 2020 2:51 am

It is so pretty! I have a question about the drawstrings. In the pattern, it says to use a cord, but I see that you have made yours out of the fabric. How did you do this?