Tessuti Jaywalk Comp! My Circus Tent Dress

So on a whim I decided to enter the Tessuti Jaywalk Competition. I have to admit I was pretty stumped at first. My main issue was the fabric:  Stripes! I not only have never worked with stripes, I’ve also never worn them, and even as I was making the dress I kept calling it Circus Tent fabric in my head. But I guess it was an ugly duckling dress because now I’m finished, I am really really pleased with the results! :)


I have ticked so many elusive sewing boxes with this challenge – I’ve worked with stripes, drafted my own pattern from a sketch, worked with knits and most of all made a dress that I’m likely to wear again and again! – I feel on a bit of a sewing high!

So now the process:

First I bought the fabric – see pictures below! (I’ve stolen Tessuti’s because it was much better than mine) I bought some of both colours because I wasn’t sure what to do.

Jaywalk Black

Jaywalk natural

Then I did some rough sketches and I liked this one best:


Next I had to draft the pattern. If you’ve never done any pattern drafting before then I really recommend the Craftsy Pattern Drafting Classes – ‘Pattern Making Basics: The Skirt Sloper’ and ‘The Bodice Sloper‘. Suzy is a fantastic teacher – the classes are so clear and are quite detailed. And although they’re predominantly for wovens, she does address how to create slopers for knits too.

The other text I use to draft patterns is Cal Patch’s “Design it Yourself Clothes: Pattern Making Basics” – this breaks the basic a-line skirt, shirt, t-shirt and even pants down into simple steps using your measurements. She has classes on Creativebug as well and in her classes she makes things so simple it seems really achievable and not at all scary.  Basically she makes you realise that pattern drafting is just plotting measurements on paper and adding ease or negative ease depending on fabric.


Once drafted then I had to test the pattern. Being knit fabrics I couldn’t use calico for my muslin so I decided to use the lighter stripe for my muslin and the black stripe would be for the final. Here are my early tests:

1. I hated the sleeves so they had to come off!


2. I decided I didn’t like the stripes either so would split the bodice to be mitered.


So now to construct the real thing:

I basted all my stripes so they would match and I feel it made a huge difference!  (As a side note I always use a walking foot to sew knits because it feeds so much better. I use a Zigzag stitch with a 1.4 width and a 2.6 length.) And yes a whole lot of photos because I am so happy with them.

Basted-Stripes-and-Walking-Foot basted-stripes-matching Mitred-Stripes

I also cut my seam allowances on my pattern pieces down from 1″ (which was useful during the draft stage) to 3/8″ inch which is much neater. I thought about finishing my seams but in the end decided to leave them raw because they wouldn’t fray and the dress seemed to still sit quite well.

The inside:


 I folded over and topstitched using a twin needle the neck and the armhole. This made it nice and stretchy. Then for the skirt I conquered another fear and hoped on my serger and finished the edges with a rolled hem!!!


 Then super excitingly my dress was finished!

The front:


The back:


Side view:


Front again!


So that is my Tessuti Jaywalk Dress. I’m so pleased with it and now when I look at it I don’t even think of a circus tent anymore!

Thanks for reading,