When JJ Philips, a successful horror novelist and also named horror novelist of the year from SQ Horror Magazine, came to me and asked me to make her a secret dress I was very excited! I had seen her book, Perinatal Bloodshed at shops around town and I listened to her on Gem City Podcast.

We set up a meeting and in the pouring rain of early September I met her at Ghostlight Coffee to make plans for her dress.

She had a knit dress that she loved and wanted me to replicate in cotton material. Below is JJ in the knit dress at Horror Hound in her first interview.
















She ordered black and red blood splattered fabric, washed it and brought it to me for the replica. I got all of her measurements and looked for a pattern.

If you sew you may know that a knit dress can’t be used to draft a pattern for a cotton woven dress. Knit material stretches over the curves and dimensions of the body to fit and cotton would have to be drafted, molded and sculptured to fit around the body. Knit sizes are usually smaller than your body measurements and a woven would need to be a little larger than your body measurements to create ease. Ease simply means wiggle room, the circumference from your actual measurements vs the circumference of your garment. This is created so you can move in your garment. Ease for close fitted dresses is around 0-2″, fitted dresses can be 3-4″, semi fitted 4-5″, loose fitted 5-8″ and very loose fitted garments will be 8″ or larger than your body measurement. I learned all about ease from fit specialist icon Pati Palmer.

I found a princess seam bodice pattern and altered it to fit JJ perfectly.

For the skirt of the dress I simply cut out a large circle and then another circle that was the measurement of the bodice bottom width.


















Below is JJ in her dress replica at Horror Hound 2017.  It’s a perfect fit and looks great on her. It was an honor to work with her.


























Behind the scenes~
I added another new awesome class at Proto BuildBar, check it out here.

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh