Pretty Bella

Jalie Bella in Red

While I was in the mood for fit ‘n flare scoop necked dresses (and still well under my November project budget), I took the opportunity to try out the Jalie Bella dress in a textured doubleknit-type fabric that has been screaming  “Bella!” at me since it first arrived in the store back in September.

(A real downside of working at a fabric store is you spend a lot more time petting the fabric at the store than you do at home petting your stash, which gives you plenty of opportunity to fall in love with Shiny New Fabric.)

Jaie 3460 - Bella

Jaie 3460 – Bella

I got this pattern in a glorious Jalie binge back in (?) June after it first came out, and have been excited about it ever since. Gillian’s version didn’t help a bit, despite her having some reservations about the pattern.

As Gillian said, the 60% horizontal stretch the pattern calls for is a lot once you step outside the world of dance wear Lycra, and my fabric, while having great recovery (also a must for this pattern), only just barely had it. I should probably have upsized a bit. I did not, and it’s fine, but the seams are definitely under some pressure. I hate to complain about 1/4″ seam allowances under any circumstances, but they don’t give you much leeway for letting a thing out. 

Back view

Back view. Wrinkles are mostly from how I’m standing.

Like Gillian, I used the curved scoop from the back on the front as well. I did actually trace out the slightly-different front and back pieces (since I wanted to add a swayback adjustment), and just added the front scoop to the back, so I have scoops in both directions—which is probably why it’s slipping off my shoulders a bit and showing some bra-strap. My bad. 😉

Bella sleeve and my sloper

One thing I loved, when I went to lengthen the sleeve, was how close the Jalie sleeve draft is to my knit sloper. (Although it is a symmetrical sleeve, unlike my sloper; it works ok in a stretchy knit.) The pattern itself has a half-sleeve, to be cut on the fold; I mirrored the pattern to a full sleeve when I traced it, mostly so I didn’t have to cut it out twice. I added about 2.5″ of length to the sleeves to get the slouchy-over-the-hand look that I covet so much, but really a single additional inch would probably have been adequate. (If you haven’t noticed, a lifetime of too-short sleeves has left me traumatized—I prefer my sleeves to come down to the fold of my thumb.)

Fun flared skirt!

Fun flared skirt!

One thing I didn’t notice from all the photos I’ve seen was that the very-full skirt actually skims the hips quite closely before flaring out right around butt-level. Not a bad thing (actually, I love it), just something I didn’t pick up on before.

Neckline closeup.

Neckline closeup.

For the neckline, I used just a cross-grain strip stitched to the outside, folded to the inside, and topstitched with a twin needle. Then I trim of the excess from the inside. My twin needle lasted through topstitching the neckline and the sleeve hems, but died less than 1/8 of the way around the skirt and I was way too lazy to thread up my Rocketeer, so I used a triple-stitch zigzag on the skirt hem. It’s so nice to have that stitch again.



In honour of the Better Pictures Project (and the full, full skirt) I tried to get some twirling shots. Um. Well, points for trying?

All in all, though, I’m pretty happy. It’s a nice, beefy fabric that handles the shape well. The colour is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. And it’s a great basic dress that will be fun to layer up for winter (I’m wearing it with one of Tyo’s little vests right now and she may not get it back.)



What I didn’t get photos of is the part right after I finished it, where Syo demanded a dress just like it and then I had her try it on and it basically fit except for the long sleeves and then Tyo tried it on too and demanded a shirt from the leftovers.

So, yeah. Jalie patterns. Betcha can’t make just one. 😉

Besides, I might still need to make a red velvet version…. >_<



Filed under Sewing

7 responses to “Pretty Bella

  1. Nancy S

    Lovely dress on you and the color is great! You mentioned Jalie’s suggestion for fabric with 60% stretch – I made this dress to wear while ice dancing and if you are adding the leotard included in the pattern, fabric with a lot of stretch is a MUST as you are stepping into it via the neckline. I made my dress in black stretch lace with a red knit lining, but left the sleeves unlined. I will definitely make it again for my “regular” life.

  2. Heather (Thing I Make, Plus Rocks)

    Hey, long wrist-covering sleeves are a must when you live in a place where the wind doesn’t stop for 3 provinces! I don’t blame you for wanting moar length!

    The dress looks so fantastic! I love the fit and flare on you! Also love that your kids mug you for future make promises. LoL

  3. Ooooh, yes! A red velvet version. It’s very cute. I am a sucker for full skirts.

  4. This is so pretty! I can’t imagine how lovely a velvet one would look!

  5. Cherie

    Lovely dress – the color, the fit and flare style, and you in it! Also loved your velvet dress in the last post. How terrific that your kids and Stylish want you to sew for them – awesome!

  6. This looks really awesome on you. Yes to making more!

  7. On the subject of people with similar fitting issues, I have the arm issue too. Although where I live, I wear long sleeves like three days a year, and then only in a cardi I’ve crocheted myself to fit nicely all over. But when I visit a cold climate I remember in frustration how short the sleeves on rtw things are ARGH!!!
    On my last trip to a Winter I made a stretch velvet tunic with long long sleeves *happy sigh* Mine might have come down to my thumbs too ;-P

    Anyway, gorgeous dress and oh the colour! Mmmm!!!
    You’re very brave working in a fabric store. Does any of your pay actually make it home?

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