New Collection - The Bella Fit and Flare Dress

Jalie 3460 - Bella fit and flare dress
(in a drapey polyester knit)

How it all started

Last October, we received this email:
This is my heartfelt plea for you to expand your ballroom dancing section to include dresses suitable for competition and exam use. Like so many young dancers' mums (I'm actually a grandmother), I'm struggling to find suitable patterns for juvenile (under 12s) and junior (12+) dancers.
At first, we thought we could never, e-v-e-r fit a ballroom dress pattern onto a pattern sheet. We were not sure we wanted to launch a two-sheet pattern but because we were absolutely stunned by the price of ready-to-wear ballroom dresses out there ($300+ for a very basic dress), we thought it would make many mom (and grandmothers) happy with a pattern.

Jalie 3460 - Juvenile ballroom dance dress with bishop sleeve
(stretch crushed velvet dress, stretch lace sleeve and lightweight knit leotard)

The pattern includes a leotard that is attached to the dress at the armholes (this way, there is no pulling at the neck if the fit on the leo is a little short and less layers at the neckline). Needless to say that it was not difficult convincing our little model to wear a "princess dress" and twirl for the photo shoot :)

Jalie 3460 - Bella fit and flare dance dress with attached leotard
Stretch lace over polyester knit leotard - Many stretch laces available at FunkiFabrics

Love at first twirl

Knowing Dawn sews at lightning speed, I asked her if she was willing to test the pattern (with a regular sleeve, without the leotard), just to see how it would fit on her tall and slim twins.

The response was, let's say, pretty positive :)
There was too much begging, I had to make another one [...] The dress is amazing. Bella is asking me to wash it so she can wear it again. :) Both of the twins have been wearing it in the evenings and twirling in it. Obviously a winner. 
We were so focused on the original request that it hadn't even crossed our minds to make it as an everyday, fun little dress too! We decided to add a cap sleeve and voilà! The Bella dress was born!

The pattern

We went all out! Here are the specs:

  • Two lengths: knee and ankle
  • Princess seams - great for fitting, color blocking (or mixing a bold print for the center front panel with solid side panels) or adding pockets!
  • Three sleeves: long, cap or bishop sleeve
  • Optional leotard (I plan on hacking that piece to make a fitted slip under a lace dress like this Boohoo Ivy Dress!)
  • Scoop neck (higher in the front, lower in the back)
    • I tried the dress backwards and guess what?! I love it even more! Thanks to the generous stretch of the fabric (60% in the length and width), it fits perfectly both ways!!! Here is our model, wearing the dress backwards:

Jalie 3460 Bella Dress - Backwards for a lower front neckline

This dress is perfect for twirling, and we mean it! The skirt is a full circle and the great thing about it is that the flare starts lower than the waist. This means no wardrobe malfunction when twirling too much. You will only be showing a lot of leg :)

Jalie 3460 - Bella Dress - Full-circle skirt hem finished with horsehair braid

Éléonore wore a prototype last Christmas in glitter velvet with a lighter knit sleeve. Jeanne finished the hem with horsehair braid for a special touch. It really gives more oomph to the circle skirt and it is almost easier to sew than a regular hem!

Jalie 3460 Bella Dress - In stretch velvet with polyester knit sleeve and leotard
More recently Jeanne made her a new "beach-cover-up" version in a printed spandex that matches her bikini! It is basically a knee-length rash guard that covers the bikini bottom (and the legs, when she is crouching). Great for building sand castles AND stopping for ice cream on the way from the beach :)

We love it when specialized patterns like this one turn out to be so versatile!


Unknown said…
OMG...I love this dress! I can't wait to get the pattern
Jen in Oz said…
wait a second... I was about to buy this one (love the look!) when I checked the sizing. My bust is about 1" bigger than the largest size given and my waist is about 6" bigger. There go my plans... and the sale too :-( Why isn't this one available in larger sizes like some of your other patterns???
Emilie@Jalie said…
It is simply because the pieces would not fit on our 38x50 pattern sheet. There is a lot of flare and we could not go any wider without changing the skirt design. With the princess seaming, it would be super easy to alter though. Fabric with a nice stretch (60% or more) is enough for the extra 1" at the bust (I'm a size T and looked great in the model's size R) and you would only have to remove the waist curve (make it a straight line) to have enough ease at the waist.
Mary Lu said…
Sorry I'm not buying it. I make for adult skaters, and the princess styling would have been slenderizing and versatile with moderate style changes. But your bust sizings is way way too small. So unless you're willing to create an alteration sheet-- It will not work for me or my skaters.
Jen in Oz said…
well, that being the case, is it possible to add it to the order I place the other day (which wouldn't be sent until June 23 either)?
Emilie@Jalie said…
Please place an order for the extra pattern and we will refund the shipping fees and qty discount as soon as the order ships.
jen in Oz said…
done! thankyou!
Anne-Marie said…
Un délice de féminité !
Unknown said…
Beautiful Kid Really and dress too.
lace fit and flare dress
Jen in Oz said…
I finally got around to making this pattern up - not for me, but for my 5 year old niece! It was very easy and took about 4 hours from the time I took it out of the packet to finishing the hemming. Speaking of which, I do have a question though. You talk in the instructions about using horsehair braid for the hemming, but you don't mention how wide I should get it, nor how much (depending on the size). Are you able to publish a table (similar to your elastic requirements table, I guess) showing this information?

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