While we've been very busy with Crew this year, behind the scenes we've also been occupied working on one of our all-time favourite standalone patterns for Closet Core – the Jo Dress + Jumpsuit! A true statement piece, Jo features a V-necked bodice with a sculptural “croissant” sleeve and can be mixed and matched with your choice of pants or skirt to create a bold dress or jumpsuit. Featuring a beautiful and innovative bias-bound slot seam finish to add structure and dimension, Jo is an engaging sew with a big impact. To make the whole process even easier, we've created our first free sewalong video series where I walk you through sewing it from start to finish! You can get Jo in both print (sizes 0-20) and PDF (sizes 14-32) formats.
We're all VERY excited about this design. It's cool and glamorous and tends to get a lot of attention; every time I wear Jo people harass me about it because the shape is so beautiful and unusual. While it can definitely feel more casual and every day depending on your fabric choice, the design is elevated and fashion-forward and is an excellent choice for any special events on your horizon. It even makes a gorgeous wedding dress in white linen for a more informal wedding - I hope to see some Jo brides this year!
About the Pattern
The star of the Jo show is a unique rounded sleeve we've taken to calling a "croissant". An extension of the bodice, it is a cut-on sleeve with shaping darts at the underarm that creates a gorgeous croissant shape while you're wearing it, draping over the shoulders and narrowing at the wrist. It also comes in two options - go big and bold with the large rounded sculptural sleeve, or choose our less dramatic smaller sleeve. The bodice is further shaped with darts at the front waist and a beautiful V neckline.
What makes Jo special in terms of construction is the use of pre-made or handmade 1/2" double-fold bias tape along all the main structural seams. It finishes the neckline, gives a strong vertical design element along the center front seams, and adds structure and dimension to our croissant sleeve. To create this special finish, we are using a variation on a traditional slot seam where an insert is added in between pattern pieces to create structure and dimension – we spent a lot of time developing this detail and think you'll enjoy the process of sewing it, especially given the beautiful final result, which looks, unlike anything you've sewn before!
We love giving you a big bang for your buck with these singular Closet Core designs, so Jo is designed to work as both a dress AND a jumpsuit - the bodice is interchangeable so you can choose your own adventure. View A adds a midi-length straight-cut skirt with curved pockets, waist darts, and the same bias-bound slot seam finish along the center front seam. View B adds a tapered leg pant with curved pockets and waist darts.
Jo is finished with a topstitched waistband that is elasticized at the back, for an exceptionally comfortable garment that moves with you. Rather than closing it with an invisible zipper, we went with a traditional zipper with a handy fabric zipper pull that makes it super easy to slide up and down. There is nothing worse than desperately needing the bathroom while struggling with an invisible zipper (we've been there, no thank you!)
Jo Difficulty + Sewalong
In terms of sewing difficulty, Jo is rated as an intermediate/advanced level pattern. While I am firmly in the camp that anyone can sew anything with a bit of patience, if you are a very new sewist you may find this pattern challenging since it requires accuracy and care while sewing the bias tape and slot seam finish. With that said, I think most folks will really enjoy sewing Jo. It uses a few unconventional sewing methods that I think are fun and engaging to sew, and you cannot argue with the finished result! Of course, if you need a little extra help or just want to hang out with me while you're making it, we created a complete video sewalong that walks you through every single step, so if you're feeling at all nervous, don't worry – we got you!
Fabric + Supplies for Jo
To create stability and structure for this design, we suggest stable midweight wovens such as linen, cotton broadcloth, poplin, sateen, ikat, and chambray. You may also use lightweight denim and twill provided it has some degree of drape.
This pattern also calls for 1/2" wide bias tape, and no, you cannot substitute with a narrower size. Pre-made and handmade work equally well – we have soft, high-quality 100% cotton bias tape in a range of colours at Core Fabrics, or you can make your own to match your fabric (just be sure you have at least an extra 1/2 yard of fabric!) You'll also need a 22" long traditional zipper, a single hook and eye, and 1" wide elastic for the back waistband.
If you're looking to get everything you need in one place, we've created custom Jo kits over at Core Fabrics, Get everything you need, including fabric, a recycled plastic zipper, bias tape and even a cute label to sew into your outfit from our pattern muse's brand Inside Voices!
Our Pattern Muse
We like to name our standalone patterns after inspiring members from the sewing community, and few people inspire us (or make us laugh) as much as Jo (@fivespicepower). Master of bold silhouettes with a wicked sense of humour and major Big Sleeve Energy, she's a must-follow on Instagram, both for her adventurous and madcap makes, and her non-stop jokes. She also makes hilarious sewing labels we carry at Core Fabrics.
The Design Story for Jo
We are so extremely excited about this pattern and hope you are too!