This is a rayon spandex fabric with a little less vertical stretch than you might expect, so Amelia Lane Designs has decided to err on the side of caution and integrity and call it a jersey.
I love animal print but I hardly buy it. I never know quite what to make. In this case, I had an impulse decision that I just HAD to have it, like, RIGHT NOW.
It came in the mail and even after I washed it, it’s so vibrant. The colors are deep in such a fancy way. I don’t feel cheap in this print. I thought of a million things it could be. A 5oo4 Camilla came to mind, turns out Sequoia had the same idea!
I decided since I was already making a camilla out of one of the solid rayon spandex fabrics in the same release round, I would try something new.
Again, I thought and thought. I had this idea for the wine color solid rayon spandex to do a choker dress. I decided the animal print combined with a choker would just be too much and I would never wear it.
I just couldn’t move past the idea. I was so excited to try the hack I had in mind that I almost wanted to sew the wine before the animal print, but then I realized… who cares if I never wear it again? It’s for me. My issue was that I didn’t want to waste the animal print because if I make something a bit more subtle, I can wear it to work. Well you know what? I’m just gonna order more!
So I went for it. And I’m so glad I did.
This hack was surprisingly simple! And sure, I see improvements I could make, but I’m patting myself on the back for trying it.
Here’s what I did
-Wash and try fabric like normal
-Grab your already FBA adjusted/height adjusted/size graded Jessie dress pattern pieces – I had made a muslin so I know I had achieved a fitted look already.I traced my pattern piece onto a sheet of paper so I would have a copy I can edit
-Knowing that the neckline hits high, I put the tip of my tape measure in the little drip between clavicle bones (I just learned this is called a suprasternal notch, thanks wikipedia!) and measured down my chest to where I would be comfortable with a very low neckline hitting
-I lowered the neckline by this amount on my copy of the front bodice pattern piece. I smoothed the curve out and was careful not to widen it too much as I was doing that.I decided I wanted a bit of a high/low look so I raised the front center hemline a bit, keeping the side seams the same length. I just measured from my knee where my muslin had hid me, up to the amount of leg I was comfortable with, made a mark on the fold of the front bodice and smoothed the curve out to the side seam
-I cut my new front piece out, the original back piece, original sleeves and original neck band.I measured the new neckline, multiplied by 90% (in hindsight, given the stretch of my fabric I should’ve used 85% or maybe even 80%). I cut a piece this width with the same length as the neckband.I applied this piece line a binding to the neckline. Putting right sides together, the binding piece to each of the shoulders of the front bodice, stretch, pin, sew. Then push the seam allowance up and fold the binding over and top stitch.
-Assemble as normal
-When you get to the neck band – I used the original jessie neckband as the choker. In hindsight I might have brought the shoulders in a little and shortened the neckband a tad. But for simplicity’s sake, I just used the neckband like a binding.I sewed the band into a circle. Then put it right sides together matching the seam to the center back. I pinned with a bit of stretching around the back and then just stopped pinning when I got passed the shoulders.I serged the neckband onto the back and when I got passed the shoulder, kept serging all the way around
-Then push the seam allowance up and fold the binding over and get ready to topstitch. This meant that on the front part, I just folded the binding over on it’s self since there’s no neckline to fold over. I used the serger seam as a guide, centering it so I would have something to fold the binding over. This is a lot like the neckband on the Annelaine Amelia Top.
Here’s the amount I lowered the neckline
and the amount I raised the hemline
You can see my self-critical adjustments I might have needed here – I could’ve shortened the neckband/choker and brought the shoulders in a little more, but really, it’s more comfortable this way anyway.
I will probably just hold onto this dress for a really special occasion. Probably a girl’s weekend for the next wedding or divorce party or maybe my 40th birthday. It’s a dress I need in my closet, but probably not something I’m going to wear. I do love the print though, so I likely will make myself something a little more tame so I can wear it to work and enjoy the print, it’s really pretty. Even my mom said so and she hates animal print! (Hi Mom!)
If only I had sewed in my 20’s…. I keep thinking how differently I would’ve felt about myself when I was younger if I had had a dress like this. I always wanted to fit in with my friends when we went out, but I never found ANYTHING cute like this in plus sizes. I’m also grading between two sizes here and adding a FBA. I’m shaped differently than stores think of someone who is plus size and therefore clothes are either unflattering/frumpy or uncomfortable because they’re ill fitting.
I’m going to be much more vocal and sincere in my offers to make clothes. I rarely sew for other people because I worry about my workman ship but I have offered to make something for someone at work who has her high school reunion coming up. As silly as it sounds, I think knowing that what you’re wearing is how you imagined it and how you want to look for that event changes how you feel about your experience at an event like that.
Now on the other hand, you couldn’t pay me to be 22 again. Yes, I have days where I’m singing along to Taylor Swift and thinking yeah, I’m feelin’ 22. But then 8:30pm rolls around and I just need to wash my face, like right now and put on some jammies. I walked out to the kitchen wearing this and my husband saw it… not a single hubba hubba. He just sighed and said something like “you look exhausting right now. If you’re going out or something, please don’t be loud and wake me up coming in”. and I was just like “I know, I’m just going to take some pictures and then we can watch netflix in bed?”
Amelia Lane released new black ponte fabric at the same time, so I took advantage and made a little Nora Bolero to wear with my dress. I was super lazy and just lengthened the whole thing by 1″ and hemmed rather than adding bands
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