Magnolia – A Dress for all Seasons

What can I make with a metre of fabric? Admittedly it’s 150cm wide, but nonetheless it’s still a metre of fabric – and I am no longer a size 10. I remember my mum telling me that she used to be a 34” hip and could make a skirt with a yard of fabric. Those were the days!  I bought this lovely stretchy, soft leopard print fabric with the intention of making some throw cushions. A pop of colour in my Art Deco themed lounge. Then, I got an absolute bargain on 10m of zebra print and hey ho, the leopard print sat in the cupboard. 

All dressed up and nowhere to go

Winter Wear Designs (WWD) has continued updating their clothing patterns with projector files. As such, the Magnolia Fit and Flare Top and Dress size range has been extended to a 00 – 30. Here’s the size chart to make it easier. Remember that WWD size range starts at that size, so make sure you fit yourself correctly. Depending what you choose to make you need upwards of a metre of fabric!

Winter Wear Designs Fun Magnolia Dress & Top Size Range

I am finally getting used to my projector. I always adjust patterns for my height and fortunately WWD has a set pattern block size, meaning I make the same adjustments regardless of the pattern. Last time I made the Magnolia I was smaller, so couldn’t use my pre-printed and made pattern. I blogged about it in 2019’s Sew Yourself Some Love Blog.  The top I made as my original muslin was so comfy I literally wore it to death.

At that time, I made a size 12 with a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA). This time I’m at the bottom of the size 14 size range. I was feeling a bit risky (or is that risqué?), so cut the 14 and ignored the part that says “if a DD or greater consider a FBA”. I am tall with a DD/F bust depending on the weather, the day… and thought I might get away with it.

The end result is that I should have made a size 12 front with a FBA, and a 14 back. The front armscye is slightly large and gapes. It’s not totally obvious unless you’re looking for it but is a problem I often encounter. I usually sew a little dart in to the front armscye to compensate. My lightbulb moment this time was I am a good enough seamstress to make the adjustments. In future … 

A not quite perfect V

Of course, there wasn’t enough fabric to cut the length I prefer, but the lightness of this fabric ensures a lovely summer mini when I have long tanned legs. Himself approves and frankly, that’s what matters as I like to see a smile on his face. I debated making it sleeveless, then remembered that would mean a totally different shape armscye, and I’d already cut the front and back. I am on a mission to sew my stash so pulled a lovely pale stretch lace. It is just wide enough for the cap sleeves, and bonus points as it has a decorative edge meaning no sleeve hems. I must admit to singing Steve Millar Band’s Abracadabra while adding the lace ‘silk and satin, leather and lace’. Leopard and lace maybe? 

I always make myself a V neck as I feel busty people look better in a V. More eye candy perhaps? That said, this time I fudged the V and believe me unpicking a lightning stitch from a lightweight knit fabric isn’t fun. As such, my V isn’t totally central; I have an idea of how to remedy it but there wasn’t time before photos.  

Pinning the V neck

I’ve been asked why I include my mistakes and bloopers. I do so people can see that we all make errors, despite our experience. Mistakes make us better at our craft, no matter what it is. In nursing we called it reflective practice. I might not be able to practice nursing now, but the tools I learned stand me in good stead. I love sewing and encourage people to sew and learn.

I used my roll hem foot to hem the bottom. I don’t use it often but really ought to as it gives a professional finish. The fabric was quite thick, but it worked without too many curses. It also made it easier to follow the curves at the vented sides. 

Currently we have a chilly weather system blowing through. I grabbed my treasured ancient Gamma Mink for warmth, and aded it to my velvet leggings and heels, and I felt camera worthy. 

The Magnolia is on for US$3 all this week. The link for the pattern is here. If you join the WWD FaceBook group you also have access to the files, which have all kinds of alterations and hacks, making the Magnolia a lovely year round staple. Follow Winter Wear Designs website for more interesting makes this week. 

Happy Sewing!