Esteem Dress by Cali Faye

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Esteem Dress by Cali Faye was one of the earlier indie patterns I purchased in my garment sewing journey, but I put it off for a while because I was intimidated by the zipper installation and the bodice construction. I finally tackled it using Ruby Star Society fabric from the Reverie line, which I received as a Ruby Star Maker.

I was a little on the fence at first about whether it was too much pattern, but I went for it and it looks good!

(See more photos at the end of the post.)

Size / View:

Bust 2-4; waist customized to my measurement and amount of ease desired; skirt 6-8.

My bust and high bust were between 2-4 and 6-8, so at first I leaned towards 6-8, but I decided to do a muslin of the 2-4 bodice and I'm glad I did, because that helped me decide that 2-4 was actually the right size for me.

For reference, my measurements are:
  • Bust: 34.5"
  • High Bust: 32.5"
  • Waist: 29"
  • Hip: 37.5"
  • Height: 5' 0"


Reverie by Melody Miller from the Ruby Star Society, 100% cotton.

Adjustments / Construction:

  • I would recommend at least a bodice muslin to make adjustments to the more fitted part of the dress
  • Making a bodice muslin not only helped me decide to go with a size 2-4 bust, but it also helped me decide how much to shorten the straps (took away 0.25" from the front and back bodice pieces) and that I needed to add a bit to the back bodice piece where it is attached to the front bodice piece under the bust (it didn't match exactly for some reason, so I needed to do that to even it out)
  • Staystitched curves in the bodice (neckline and bust seams)
  • Added understitching to the neckline
  • Serged or used Fray Check on any raw edges, even if they were going to be enclosed
  • In order to conserve the Ruby Star Society fabric, I used a solid fabric for the inside of the bodice. For the pockets, I used solid fabric as well and just had strips of the patterned fabric where it attaches to the dress
  • Changed the in-seam pockets to be anchored at the waist, and followed a tutorial from Megan Nielsen Patterns (Olive Sewalong // Pockets and Skirt)
  • Used a 12-14 inch zipper instead of 7 inch because that's what Joann had in the color I chose, but I didn't mind the extra room to get into the dress. I also followed instructions from the Aada dress to install the zipper
  • The waistband is where I made the most changes. I didn't really use the waistband construction method in the instructions, and instead did an interfaced waistband construction similar to the Agave shorts
  • Although the pattern says that the hem line is supposed to be above the knee, I opted to keep it knee-length


  • Crossed straps in the back
  • The way the bust is shaped by sewing the front bodice to the side panels
  • In-seam pockets
  • Customizable waist based on measurements, made possible because of the open back design

Next Time:

  • Make the pockets deeper
  • Try a knit fabric