This month being February the challenge was to sew ourselves some LOVE! I chose to make a Winter Wear Design Magnolia Fit & Flare Dress and Top (now referred to as the dress). I need some feel good dresses to lighten my load and brighten my smile. I think that fits the challenge? I wanted some swingy dresses that flattered without hugging the wrong bits, so made 2; one is a long tunic / mini and the other a maxi dress. The dress is fitted to the waist then flares out, there are 2 neck lines, different sleeve lengths, plus a myriad of other options, my favourite being the back insert. Added to which, there are now several add-ons including a cowl neck, cold shoulder, bell sleeve and lace hem. Honestly, stop making these all inclusive patterns! They offer way too much choice.
It was a time of firsts for me, as I haven’t done a full bust adjustment (FBA) in years. Frankly, it was long overdue (sigh); the FBA was recommended if you were over a B/C cup, and I’m a handful more than that – no choking on your coffee Marsha! I like Professor Pincushion’s You Tube Channel and so followed her FBA tutorial, utilizing the pivot method. It was surprisingly easy to do, and I thank my roll of tracing paper for making it easier. Adding it to the myriad of other alterations I make to any new pattern meant a few hours at the design table. I’d made so many adjustments I hadn’t enough confidence at that stage to go to final fabric immediately, so made a muslin, which turned out so well it became the mini.
Stretch factor – you’d think with knit patterns that are loose and flows it wouldn’t really matter. Well, you’re wrong! It does, especially if you have a large bust! That’s why the FBA was all important. This pattern calls for fabric with 30% stretch. My mini fabric has 30%, but the maxi’s insert has 25% – Ho Hum, not as bad as it might be.
I made the the mini in a lovely soft brown knit, which sewed as well as it felt – Yee Hah! I cut the back on the fold (accidentally), but it didn’t end up roomy. I’m 5’9’/174cm tall and overall, I added 3″ from shoulder to bust, an extra 1.5″ bust to waist and then just lengthened the bottom to the longest shirt tail (I’m a WWD pattern size 12, I cut to a 22 length). It all worked out, which goes to show that trusting the pattern pieces and your math can pay off on occasion.
For the maxi I decided to go all out and make a glamorous just above ankle high low navy ponte dress with a turquoise ponte blocked insert overlaid with navy lace. Oh, and long bishop sleeves from a free pattern (if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group). I cut the size 14 insert to allow for the 25% stretch and a size 12 dress. The size 14 insert didn’t fit in the size 12 dress; there is a 1″ difference. I did some nifty grading, which went well after cocking it up once or twice. Thank heavens for oodles of tracing paper and a designer who doesn’t mind helping on those blonde (or senior) moments.
Eventually I had all the pieces cut out and the sewing was a breeze. At least it was until I attempted to attach my neckband. I think the imps were messing with me as it took three attempts to sew the neckband on successfully. now it is sewn in place it is NOT going anywhere – ever! I decided to not hem the bottom. Call it laziness or the worry that the lace would spring up a little – which it did. In the final photos I saw I will need to trim the ponte just 1/4″ to have it sit above the lace again. I also found out the hard way that ponte likes either a damp cloth to press it or a silk heat. Parts of the sewing look like my brothers’ school trousers – somewhat pressed too much! I hope they’ll wash out.
All in all it is a lovely pattern and has a lot of options to allow my imagination to run riot. I think I will make the colour block option next for a 70’s feel … and some high low tunics. I’m actually so enamoured with this pattern if I get 20 comments on my blog by March 2nd 2019, I will personally buy a lucky winner the pattern. If you already own the Magnolia it can be exchanged for a different WWD pattern of equal or lesser value.
This week all the WWD patterns are 20% off (February 25 – March 2nd), so grab a bargain!