03 February 2014

The Ailakki Cross Front Dress

I started sewing because I wanted so many pretty dresses. All the pretty dresses in the world. But that isn't practical. What would I do with hundred's of party dresses. The occasions for such dress rarely occur in my life. The infrequency of event makes the sewing time-commitment not worth it. 

When an event DOES come along? I got so excited at the idea of making a fancy dress I immediately scoured the interwebs for inspiration. Conveniently I happened to read Jolies Bobines Ailakki Jumpsuit post and ADORED BOTH her renditions. I knew I needed to have Ailakki in my life and the dress version was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

I adore the Ailakki jumpsuit. I adore most jumpsuits. Just not on me. They make me look 6 months pregnant. But that bodice is so stunning that I ignored the jumpsuit and immediately knew I could pair it with a skirt pattern I love. And Voila I would have a dress I adore.

Now, I've never worn a dress with a keyhole in them. I always thought they were beautiful, but always felt that when I sit down, fat would gush through the whole, and that isn't flattering now is it. I never want to feel uncomfortable, especially in my me-mades. I sew so I can wear styles that don't fit me in RTW but that I've always loved. And this keyhole pattern exactly fits the bill. A style I've never found that fits well in any RTW outfits, but that I desperately wanted to work on me. 

The fabric is a Rayon/Tweed. It's like I have a sense when Rayon is in my presence. I saw this fabric; loved it. Touched it; loved it more. Checked the fabric content; knew it was the one for me. I'm just naturally drawn to Rayon fabrics apparently. The lining is a Rayon Bemberg in plain black. 

I finished the bodice in 2 hours to finish the bodice and attach the waist band. I spent a lot of time adjusting how the waistband would sit. When I initially tried the bodice on, I could tell the pattern is made for a significantly smaller bust than mine, and I'm not well endowed. At the top of both breasts the pattern flared out very obnoxiously showcasing my bra proudly. This is not a flatting look. To correct this obvious fit problem I decided to add a second dart to each side of the bodice pointing down towards the apex. There is about 1 inch between the points the two darts on each bodice piece. The hardest part about these additional darts was it made the boobs very pointy. 

The skirt is a pattern from La Mia Boutique's May 2013 issue. It was actually one of my first dresses I made here. It had the pockets that I wanted and I just added an extra inch to the centre front and back so I could enlarge the 4 inverted pleats. 

The only other adjustment I needed to made was to take the shoulders in by 1 inch after realizing I preferred the fit of the bodice with the shoulders up higher. This did cause the keyhole to be huge naturally, so to fit the patterns natural urge to gap open and showcase the ladies, I top stitched the bodice in place to prevent any potential wardrobe malfunctions at my event. 

I used a 9" black oxidized metal zipper for the back with a large pull tab. I like metal zippers. I screwed up my insertion slightly when trying to serge the raw edges along the zipper and accidentally sent the top stop under my serger needles. That snapped my needle rather fast. So The top of the zipper is very close and the pull tab doesn't QUITE make it to the very top teeth. And the dress didn't look good with hook and eye so I'll just deal with the zipper always being slightly undone. I danced the entire night away and the zipper didn't budge once. So I think it's acceptable in my eyes!
I danced the night away and learned some ballroom dance moves from my date for the night! Every girl loves a great dance.


Pattern: Named Clothing Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit
Size: 44
Fabric: Rayon/Tweed
Cost: $7/metre and 1.5 metres used.

  • Pleated skirt instead of pants
  • Top stitched bodice in place
  • Added darts to the upper bust to create contouring around chest
  • Shortened bodice at shoulder seams


  1. Cute dress Sassy Sewing Bees https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees ❀

  2. o wow....love how you combined the two concepts and totally customized things to fit your body.. you're beautiful and love your beautiful dress, especially the inverted pleats skirt!!!

  3. Featured on Sassy Sewing Bees https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees ❀

  4. I love you version!! This dress is gorgeous on you and the fabric that you used is so pretty :)