The Sunki Dress: a pattern review


By now, you know that there’s just something about the Sunki Dress, a new release from Figgy’s Patterns.

I made the size 4/5 for our almost five year old. Using two prints from Denyse Schmidt‘s new line for JoAnn fabrics I completed this pattern in two sittings, maybe between 3-4 hours total (about .5 hours prepping,  1 hour in Palm Springs on the front and back panels and two at home fixing topstitching, working on the facing, arms and hems). While the pattern is geared toward intermediate skills I think a confident beginner should feel comfortable if willing to give themselves time to work with the side panel. Now to explain that.

I was confused about the side panel (contrast fabric in navy blue), which I ripped out three times. A little heads up: the illustration for the side panel within the pattern’s instruction looks a lot different from the actual piece that you cut. Shelly offers a photo tutorial on the Figgy’s site, it will help clarify what you need to do – but here’s my tip: when you are placing the side panel on top of the dress front and lining pocket bag you should remember that the flat, straight edge goes on the side – it will be the side of your dress, after all. For some reason I couldn’t grasp this concept when I was putting it together and kept looking at the drawing which stumped me.

Also, the pocket bag top is folded at the top corner, if you keep this area free from stitching it will be a lot easier to complete your top stitching without wrinkling it. Have a look at the before picture from when these areas were stitched too close to eachother:

I pulled out my stitches in this area quite a few times before I was happy with it, but now I  am glad that I spent the extra effort making sure it was correct. As Amy Karol mentioned in her review, sticking with a print on your first version will help hide any imperfections in the construction. This is the one area where the pattern is difficult, but it’s an opportunity to refine your technical skills so it’s worth the effort that comes with learning from your mistakes (or mine).

With regard to the final construction, I opted to finish the long sleeve and side dress seams in one swoop using a French seam. I like finish these pieces together and find it’s easier than trying to evenly distribute an arm hole; however, this means you will have a tiny seam inside the sleeve where the French seam lives unless you go back and hem the sleeve afterward (I didn’t!). I also let the hem length of the dress down a little longer than called for.

I’m daring to show you the inside of the dress. I opted to serge the facing but only zigzagged some of the early steps because I was without serger in Cali.

The pattern proposes one of the simplest ways to insert a zipper – basting the upper middle seam of the dress first so you can expose the zipper after it has been secured and it will work well if you’re trying to make an easy throw pillow-case, too. The fabric keeps the zipper enclosed.


This is a fresh and stylish dress for girls. It’s roomy, it has pockets, it’s modern and feminine. Really the more I look at it, I think Shelly should consider sizing this pattern for ladies. It would be stunning in a lightweight wool.

As for the young ladies in your life, you might go for the bohemian ikat style which is lovely (check out Shannon’s here or the Figgy’s sample), colorblock it with solids or work with prints – all with great impact. I think you’ll find this to be a pattern worth making several times. It’s the sort of project that has the ability to nourish you with calm satisfaction – the kind you earn when you have mastered something new.


Sunki Dress Figgys

Pocket Sew and Tell

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 7:30 am and is filed under Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “The Sunki Dress: a pattern review”

  1. Shelly says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    The dress looks terrific! Thank you so much for the review and showing us the inside!

  2. luvinthemommyhood says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Love how yours turned out! Great tips and thanks for the link love!

  3. Sarvi says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Laura! I saw (but don’t think I properly met) you at Palm Springs. I didn’t realize you were working on the Sunki, cool! It came out so sweet.

  4. Laura says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Sarvi! Thanks so much, I started it Sunday morning – things were kind of crazy! Nice to see you there and hope you made it home safely.

  5. Laura says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks Shelly! Figgy’s patterns are always a pleasure to work with.

  6. Laura says:

    January 25th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Any time, my dear Shannon!

  7. Margaret says:

    January 27th, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I love the material you picked. The dress is modern yet perfectly suited for a little girl. How in the world do you find time to sew? I’m home: errands, cooking, organizing chaos! So fun to meet you in Palm Springs.

  8. Laura says:

    January 28th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks, Margaret! It was great to meet you too. I’ll have to call on you the next time we get to Carmel or Big Sur. Love that part of Cali. I know the question about sewing is rhetorical but our house is frequently a cluttered mess and my children are still very entertained by play-doh!

  9. a Figgy’s Nituna Jacket and some (little things to sew) mittens says:

    February 4th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    [...] lately you’ll recall that Figgy’s Patterns recently released three sets of designs, the Sunki dress + leggings, the Nituna jacket and the Ayashe blouse and skirt. Each of the patterns offer an [...]

  10. Tammia says:

    March 20th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for this review–it was very helpful and it encouraged me to go for the pattern (which I ended up loving).

  11. Emma says:

    July 12th, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Brilliant! Thanks for the tip a about the side panels, I too spent ages looking at the pictures trying to work it out. Your version of the dress is lovely. And I agree, an adult version for women would be fab – a little more fitted perhaps but those side panels couodour glass ork wonders,for the figure.

  12. elsie marley » Blog Archive » kcwc fall 2012: day six says:

    October 13th, 2012 at 11:33 am

    [...] the hardest to figure out. Luckily, others have made them and written about it already. Laura from Charm Stitch has a particularly helpful blog post about putting the pockets together (thank you Laura! you saved [...]

  13. lou says:

    December 4th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    gorgeous dress! love the colours. i just wanted to mention that i bought this pattern after i’d made myself a couple of portfolio tunics ( as they looked quite similar! also – i just make up one side last night and wondered if anyone else thought the pockets seem quite shallow?