Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve made something I am totally in love with. To be honest, I’ve been having some rough sewing days lately. Tons and tons of fit issues have reared their ugly heads and I started to feel really discouraged. A lot of experienced sewists give this advice and I am going to hop on the bandwagon and say, when your sewjo is low, make a pattern you have made before. Something fairly simple that is familiar to you. For me that pattern is the Deer and Doe Magnolia dress. I’ve used the bodice before for one of my Sewing Bee entries but never made the actual dress which now seems like an abomination. It’s a fairly simple make with clear instructions and seems to be a big hit in the sewing community.
Rushing a project never goes well when your sewjo is low, but I really wanted to take part in #sewingjuicyjuly, July’s theme for the #sewingpatternsandprints challenge hosted by Samantha @purplesewingcloud, Tamlyn @sewn_on_the_tyne, and Kealy @voiceofacreative. I had this Telio Lemon Rayon Challis in my stash actually intended for another project, but I had a change of heart and so it kind of just sat there looking sad. Fortunately, my lemon fabric fit perfectly into July’s challenge theme and I had 2.5 yards so I thought I could pretty much make anything. Let’s just say I thought wrong. The yardage requirement for the Deer and Doe Magnolia dress was 3 yards and that’s for the shorter version! It was time for a Tim Gunn make it work moment…
Since it’s my wedding anniversary week, I figured I’d make a date dress and to add romance, I decided I would shorten the skirt 5 inches. I ended up taking off another 2 inches.. short people problems! Although, in retrospect I should have left it at 5 because I added a corset belt which hiked up the dress even more. Oops! I went for the long elasticized sleeves and shortened them by 1 inch. I chose the full wrap because I knew from my previous bodice that even with the full wrap, there was definite cleavage! Something to keep in mind if you are anywhere over a C cup.
The pattern didn’t call for much stay stitching but I stay stitched all armholes and necklines. And thank goodness I did that because I ended up having to do some seam ripping on the front neckline and warping did happen! If I hadn’t stay stitched everywhere, I would have had to cut a new bodice. The fabric was a lot more delicate than I expected. Even pins snagged it. But I really do love the print and I think it suits the pattern perfectly.
Since I accidentally shortened the dress a bit too much, I did the babiest hem i could possibly do. For reference, I cut size 44, one size up from my previous make. Next time, I will shorten the bodice pieces by 1/2 inch and I think I need to grade from 42 at the shoulders and bust to 44 at the waist and hip. It was a pretty quick make and the slight imperfections in fit aren’t noticeable to the non-sewist. Surprisingly, the zipper wasn’t too much of a pain to insert. It was my first side zipper and I kinda love it which was totally unexpected! Now on to the fabulous corset belt…
This belt was the simplest thing to make but adds so much spice to the dress! I simply subtracted 2 inches from my waist measurement and used that as the length. For the width, I used 4 inches. So I cut 4×32 of my fashion fabric as well as from black polyester. I also cut two pieces of interfacing to match. Fuse the interfacing, sandwich the two fabrics right sides together, sew at 1/8 inch seam allowance all around leaving a space to turn. Clip corners, turn, hand stitch the opening closed and you have a rectangle people! Easy peasy! I hammered in 8 eyelets, 4 on each side and made a long tie using the drawstring pattern piece from my True Bias Southport dress.
And there you have it, a mini magnolia with a corset belt to cinch in the waist. Simple but fabulous! I made the deadline just in the nick of time and needless to say, I got my sewjo back!
Toodle – loo