Hey, sewists! Are you on the hunt for a new summer maxi pattern? I have a great one to share with you today! I was lucky enough to pattern test for Bella Sunshine Designs again! This round of testing was for the new Amelia Maxi Dress. I was able to help test the bodice fit and provide solutions before the final test version went out to testers. Since I enjoy pattern design it was a lot of fun to help out at this stage of development. Pattern testing is not for everyone, but I like the process helping to fine tune the pattern and the instructions. I made three different versions of the bodice during testing, which is why I say this process isn’t for everyone. Those test bodices did use up 2.25 yards of random pieces of stash fabric from previous projects, so I will call that a win for me.
The Amelia pattern has a front wrap bodice with a deep V back neck and gathered front and back waistband. Like the Sahara, with the deep scoop back, I love this deep V back neckline! For the bodice and waistband I made a size 16 and for the skirt I cut a size 24. The skirt is gathered, so making a different size than the bodice meant I just had more gathers. More gathers makes it fuller and a bit more flattering over my stomach.
I wanted to highlight the gathered belt on the bodice, so I used a sequin sample that has been in my stash for ages as a contrast. I didn’t have enough of the sample to cut it on the fold, so I ended up making a seam down the center front of it. I underlined the sequin fabric since it has a mesh backing and I didn’t want my center front seam to be visible. The seam also gave me an opportunity to stitch down my gathers in the front.
Also, can we just take a minute to talk about the fabric I used? The fabric is a rayon jersey knit with a navy and white sea life print. This print! I love it! It has sea horses, shrimp, starfish, shells, and kelp! I picked up 3 yards earlier this month at Jo-Ann’s for $19.47 and I used all 3 yards for this dress. I also used 3/4 of a yard of an off white mystery knit that I got back in 2013 from a Fabric Mart mystery bundle.
That off white mystery knit was used for the bodice lining. That is the great thing about the BSD patterns, all the bodices have linings to eliminate topstitching. The lining also helps give a bit more stability to the bodice when using a 4-way stretch fabric like rayon jersey.
This pattern calls for using clear elastic at the waist to help support the weight of the skirt. Instead of the clear elastic, I used white foldover elastic. The sequin fabric I picked could not be run through my serger without breaking several needles. In fact just slowly straight stitching the gathers down I broke 2 needles. I chose to encase the bottom edge of the waistband in elastic with a zig zag stitch the finish it off.
Overall, I am pretty pleased with how this dress turned out. I do enjoy the drapey quality of rayon jersey and the full gathered skirt of the Amelia really shows that off. As for the pattern, just like the BSD Sahara, the fit is perfect. The only alteration I had to make was shortening the length of the skirt by 4″. Which was not a bad alteration since the pattern pieces have a lengthen/shorten line for a quick and easy process.
**I am an affiliate for Bella Sunshine Designs and do receive a small commission for each pattern purchased through the link in this post. With that being said, I would not be an affiliate if I did not truly believe in the company behind the pattern.
Wow, what a great fabric find! I’m impressed, since it’s Joann’s. The sequins are a fun touch, too. It looks like a very comfortable summer dress!