Ah, the holiday season! It seems that not a day goes by without an event—luncheon with co-workers, dinner with family, drinks with friends. This is your opportunity to sew more frosting than you can wear—all the velvet and sequins and jewel tones! You spend hours with tricky fabrics, new patterns with techniques you have never seen before, all in the name of a fancy party dress. Your home will be forever haunted by the sequins of holidays past.
Or you can sew an army of Kenedys. This sassy, short number is ready for anything. Woven? Yes. Knit? That too. You can go super glam with sequins or super chill with cotton. Want to dress to impress? Try some velvet. Not into so much leg showing? Pair it with some leggings. The Kenedy is easy to sew, can be finished in one afternoon (last-minute sewists, this one’s for you!), and does not require a lot of fabric. Say hello to your new favorite party dress.
The Kenedy by Seamwork is a simple A-dress with a boat neck and cap sleeves. If you are a member of the Seamwork community, you can download the bonus pattern for flutter sleeves. The back has a plunging neckline and ties. The neckline is finished with bias tape.
This dress is meant to have a LOT of ease. Its trapeze sweep is wiiiiiiiiiide. My very first Kenedy was a size 16. After wearing it a couple of times, I took the side seams in, adding some shaping from the waist down.
Kennedy #1: My first Kenedy is a combination of black medium-weight rayon for the lining and some mysterious lace for the overlay.
Kennedy #2: My second Kenedy dress was made with a silver fabric I purchased at the now gone (but not forgotten) The Fabric Store in Los Angeles. I am not sure what it is—it has some body to it, and it frays a lot. If I had to guess, there is some linen in the mix.
Kenedy #3: For this one, I used a stretch fabric with tiny metallic dots over black swimsuit lining.
Sewing the Body of the Dress
This dress is so easy to sew. I am not kidding when I say that you can have a beautiful party dress in one afternoon. The whole construction is very straightforward:
- Start by sewing the bust darts.
- Sew the shoulder seams.
- Sew side seams (if you are planning of sewing the sleeves in flat, you’ll skip this step for now).
- Sew the bias tape: Sew one edge of the bias tape to the neck opening; press, fold over the back of the dress, and then stitch in the ditch.
- Sew the back seam
- Hem, and you have a dress!
Sewing the bias tape before sewing the back liberates you from the dreadful pivoting to create the V-neck.
Sewing the Sleeves
Whenever I can, I sew the sleeves before I sew the side seams. It is much easier than trying to set in a sleeve. It is also much easier to give the sleeve seam a nice press. Just know that you will still have to press it again once the garment is ready to give the sleeves the right shape.
Try sewing your sleeves in flat. Don’t know how? Just watch the video below!
The original cap sleeves did not work for me. For my first Kenedy, I extended the sleeve. I used lace and simply followed the scallop to create the hem. For versions 2 and 3, I downloaded the bonus flutter sleeve pattern. I really like this option of sleeves. If you don’t have access to the pattern, you can check out my tutorial on how to turn regular sleeves into flutter sleeves.
Want the flutter sleeve option, but you are not a Seamwork member? Check out my tutorial on how to create flutter sleeves.
If you are done sewing your Kenedy and realize that it is WAY too roomy, don’t despair. It is very easy to adjust the size. Just pin the sides until you are satisfied with the result. Taking in the side seams will make a world of difference.
Don’t be afraid to make the pattern your own. Does it look too big? Just take in the side seams.
The Kenedy Dress
This dress is a great option for beginner sewists. It will also be your best friend If you are still looking for a last-minute party dress for the holiday. Make it simple or make it fancy, the Kenedy is your choice!