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Jolie Marie Louise Lea Dress


A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to test the new Lea Dress from Jolie Marie Louise Patterns. You might be familiar with the lady behind this new company – she’s Anto, the incredible illustrator and sewist extrordinaire from Stardust and Soul. Her work is seriously beautiful.

Anyway, on to the details:

The Pattern: the Lea dress is a fitted, woven, sleeveless style button down dress with a cute little sweetheart neckline.


Since I was testing I decided to make the pattern as-is straight from the printer and I got a pretty good fit (I cut a size 2). My measurements are a little more curvy than the size chart so next time I’ll bring it in a bit at the waist.

And when I make the dress again I’ll take a little wedge out of the back armhole, it’s a little roomy.

I didn’t make a muslin ’cause I’m lazy but I’d definitely recommend you make a muslin of at least the bodice. What’s nice is that with all the panels in this dress is it easy to take it in here and there for a good fit.

The Fabric: This is an Echino linen/cotton blend print from The Cloth Pocket. I liked the geometric style mixed with a nature motif (there are little birds here and there on the print). I carefully tried to match the pattern (or blend the pattern) where I could like on the pockets. But I accidentally switched the two center back pieces of the skirt, oh well.

With so many seamlines I think this dress would look great in a colorblock or mix of textures like one color for the sides and another for the center front button placket. You could even try out a chevron effect with stripes.


The Changes: Just for fun I did hand topstitching in a gold-ish embroidery thread along the hem, pockets, sleeves and front. This print is already pretty wild, why not go crazy with it? And finally – shiny gold buttons.


Oh, and I kind of forgot to put in the kickpleat (got too excited while sewing up all the pieces, oops). I could get away without one because I could easily walk in the dress. Well, turns out I should have added it – when I sit down the bottom button strains and I’m pretty sure that’s because there’s no slit in the back of the skirt to balance the fabric pulling. I’m going to go back and put it in. Lesson learned.

Lastly – the original pattern that I tested had small cap sleeves, the released pattern does not. So I carefully cut off my little sleeves to match the more recent version of the pattern. The binding method for the armhole is the same so I didn’t even have to go back and sew anything up – just snipped the sleeves off, lol. I think I like it more as a sleeveless dress. Good choice.


The Result: Overall I think it’s a pretty cute dress! I think I want to try it again in a nice wool suiting or something to make a sharp looking office dress. I love the button-down style, too, and the sweetheart neckline that isn’t too low. Feminine and classic. Note to self for next time – grade down in the waist, remember the damn kickpleat.

As for the pattern PDF itself – very well done, clear illustrations, lots of information on preparation – including a whole page on how to do an FBA on the bodice!

The pattern is on sale now – go check it out! And thanks again to Jolie Marie Louise Patterns for asking me to help pattern test.

Comments (19) for post “Jolie Marie Louise Lea Dress”

  • I really like the print on yours. I noticed her sizing is, well, a bit toward the “vanity” size. I am decidedly a 14 in RTW, and I see that I fall between a 10 and 12 on the JML chart. How do you feel about this?

  • Gorgeous style!!! Really like it and the fabric you’ve chosen and details you’ve picked out are perfect 🙂

  • This is a really great dress. Love the style and the fabric you chose. I agree it would look lovely made up in wool suiting for a smart office look.

  • Love this! Your fabric choice is really cute, and I can see this style looking lovely in a classic solid colour too. Your hand top stitching detail is a lovely touch.

  • Really lovely! I love this fabric, it’s so fun! I tested this pattern too, but I was a dummy and cut the TOTALLY wrong size, so it doesn’t fit me. I need to go back and remake this dress, because it really is pretty cute!

  • I love this dress! The pattern looks great and I really like the fabric. The running stitch along the edges looks really great – I’ve been wanting to incorporate some details like that but have been too lazy, as yet…

  • Ooh, thanks for sharing; this is indeed a super cute pattern. Looking at the line drawing I would have initially thought of this being a little more office wear-ish, but your casual version is perfect. Love your little embroidery detail too- much respect for anyone with the patience for it :p

  • Thanks, I know I talked to you about the dress earlier and I think Anto took some of my advice and made a few adjustments for the better looking at the new pattern, including no sleeves.

  • Thanks, hmm, good question about sizing. I think for indie companies there’s no set rule or standard sizing. The big four still go by sizing from the 70s and I’m certainly no fan of vanity sizing. In this pattern I was a 2 but I just cut an Emery Dress in a size 6. In Colette I usually sew a 4 (although by my measurements I’m more of a 2, not counting my hips). In Sewaholic I’m all over the place and Victory lists US and UK sizes (I’m 6US/10UK).

    I think the main difference with indies is where their sizing range starts. On that Emery Dress the size 0 is a 31″ bust where as JML starts out at 33″. Colette’s size 0 is also a 33″ bust. I think it makes some sense to name your smallest size in your range a 0 or 2 (even though the concept of a size ‘nothing’ seems strange) and go up from there.

    Also the incremental increases in size vary between pattern companies, too. Some sizes jump by 1in or 1.5 or 2+ depending so no company’s size chart will match another’s exactly. Colette and JML both start at a size 0 w/ 33″ but Colette’s 2 is a 34″ bust and JML’s is 34.5″. Colette’s 4 is 35″ and JML’s is 36″ and so on.

    In RTW I tend to fall between a 2 and a 6 or a S and M (and if a 6 is a medium then, dang, what constitutes and extra large??) and usually in most indie patterns I’m also in that range. In Big 4 I’m a 12. I suppose I hadn’t thought much about it and have just looked at each pattern in a case by case basis. Good question tho.

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