Hello Internet Friends!
So if my 2018 sewing makes had a theme I guess it would be ‘floral maxi dresses’ as I apparently can’t get enough!
Today I’m sharing with you guys my latest make, a Magnolia Dress by Deer and Doe
To be honest this dress was originally not in my sewing queue for this fall, I had already sewn two other floral print maxis (a Charlie Caftan and a Anna Dress) this year, but a few things happened serendipitously that pushed this project to the front of my fall sewing plans. 1) we decided to pop over to Toronto for a weekend for a good friend’s wedding :), I had originally planned on re-wearing my anna dress but 2) Heather and Kelli of Closet Case and True Bias respectively announced a #sewfrosting challenge, where basically both ladies are challenging the sewing community to ‘sew frosting for a change’. What I hear you ask? the cake vs. frosting debate has been long held in the online sewing community. Cake refers to garments that you will get a lot of use out of, think every day items and closet work horses. Frosting refers to garments that may have less every day functionality but are sometimes so much fun to sew, and often, the reason a lot of us got into sewing in the first place! While I had been sewing some frosting (mostly things for our wedding) I had made a huge list of ‘cake’ items to sew in the fall, but honestly I kinda wanted a bit more ‘frosting’ before getting down to cake. I blame it on the unseasonably good weather we’ve had this fall, summer just didn’t seem like it wanted to end! this challenge was the perfect excuse to indulge in a bit more frosting!
Reason # 3), Deer and Doe came out with this showstopper of a pattern basically the same week as the #sewfrosting challenge. The magnolia dress is simply stunning and it is just such a ‘frosting’ dress pattern if there ever was one! It boasts a full maxi skirt with a thigh high slit, and a plunging, and I mean plunging, neckline! And finally 4) a shipment of Rifle Paper co goodies I had completely forgot about ordering arrived (I bought it awhile back on a whim during some ‘wine Wednesday’ celebrations) including 3 meters of this stunning floral print.
All 4 of these things happened pretty much simultaneously and I took it as a sign to sew ‘one more piece of frosting’ before summer finally wrapped up for the year.
Despite deciding to sew this up on a whim AND giving myself a fairly tight deadline of 2 weeks I had a blast sewing this dress! That’s probably in large part due to the fab time at the Vancouver Garment Sewists first monthly social sewing event! If you guys are in Vancouver you should join our Facebook group, there is such a diverse and friendly group of garment sewists in Vancouver and we’ve recently all joined up to chat all things sewing :) Helen and Caroline of the Love to Sew Podcast stared the group back int the spring following their podcast on social sewing it’s been so much fun to meet all sorts of sewists digitally :D My lovely friend Rachel suggested we all get together and have a social sew once a month so that we could all meet in person. She actually brought this up with some of our mutual knitting friends who also sew awhile back, but it wasn’t until the Facebook group started that we found enough people interested in joining in :D Rachel had previously arranged a similar function when she lived in Australia, so she had the know how to get us all organized and found a nice sewing space for us to use close to plenty of transit and parking in one of the meeting rooms at a Vancouver public library (she was also one of the most efficiently packed people at the social sew, she had both her sewing machine AND here serger packed away in a wheely suitcase and padded with plenty of projects and patterns to cut out! smart lady!)
I ended up bringing the bodice of my muslin as well as my fabric to cut out and essentially crowdsourced opinions on the fit :D I ended up taking in a bit at the shoulder seams at the neck to avoid some gaping and we all agreed that while the plunging neckline is amazing I would probably be better off making it a ‘tad less risqué’ by sewing the V neck shut a few inches up (that being said the #fluffyblondemonster did appreciate the orginal V neck ;) it was very Jenifer Lopez a la 2000) I had a hard time deciding if I should wear a bra or not, ended up going the bra-less route as many of my bras create too much cleavage and it was just over the top, and not in a good way. I think when I revive this dress next year (I will for sure wear this dress again!!) I’ll either add some light cups or sew up a less cleavag-y bra to wear with it just make me feel a bit more comfortable. I’m also planning on taking in the shoulders a bit more to help the fabric lie more snuggly against my chest, I didn’t catch this potential issue with the muslin as I was wearing a regular bra underneath and the extra push up from the bra helped the fabric lie flat. And before you ask yes I did tape the edges of the V neck to myself, I don’t think even with the additional alterations I’ll be able to get away from that just from a ‘fear the nip slip’ perspective.
One more story to share about this dress before I’m through. I made a classic ‘rookie’s mistake’ when it came to cutting the fabric. I thought I had marked out all the pattern pieces on my fabric while at the social sew and all I had to do was cut it out when I got home…..nope! I didn’t read the cutting instructions close enough and to save paper and space this pattern has the front and back panels of the skirt as one paper piece that you make twice, one with the extension for the slit and one without. I didn’t realize this until I was finished sewing the bodice and beginning to sew the skirt! I didn’t have enough fabric left over to cut the final front panel….so I had two options, try to get my hands on some more fabric or give up on the dress entirely. Since I had a deadline of finishing the dress before we left for Toronto and I was super busy with work I knew I only had time on one evening to get fabric and finish the dress. I decided to take a gamble and sewed everything but the front panel and the side invisible zipper and then cross my fingers for more fabric……I was so fortunate that Spool of Thread also happened to carry this fabric and that the #fluffyblondemonster was able to snag me one more meter for me and toss it into the washing machine while I was at work! I sewed in the panel and the side seam zipper in record time! And I think it’s my neatest installation of an invisible zip to boot!
I hope this post brightens your day with some ‘sewing frosting’! Looking back at these pictures as the weather begins to turn rainy and cold certainly has brought back some sunshine from this summer for me! Can’t wait to see everyone else’s #sewfrosting creations!