Tag Archives: Bella Sunshine Designs

Bella Sunshine Designs – Amelia Maxi Dress

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. 

May the Fourth be with you

Happy May the 4th to all my fellow Star Wars sewing nerds!  I think today is such a fun day to show off my geeky sewing side.   I was so excited when I found this Star Wars knit at Jo-Ann’s back in March.  For the longest time, sewists options have been limited to woven cotton fabrics printed with our favorite characters and fandoms.  I enjoy sewing woven fun geeky dresses but a geeky knit dress…that is game changing!  What’s even better is the print features Princess Leia, R2D2, and Ewoks!  I am also excited that I am hosting the Stashbusting Sewalong this month with the theme of sewing inspired by movies/TV/novels.  How fitting that this theme was picked for May!  Ha, I love it!

 

This is my second version of the recently release Bella Sunshine Designs – Sahara Dress.  I still believe it is a really fantastic pattern.  For this version, I did choose to make the lower neckline version, which is only an inch lower.  That one inch is not a big deal, but it does allow for some other necklace options.  I am on the hunt for a big chunky costume piece necklace now.

The only change I made to the pattern was in how I cut the skirt.  The pattern features a full circle skirt with no seams.  I chose to make it a full circle with side seams because of the print.  If I had left it as intended the print would have been upside down in the back and right side up in the front.  That is not really the look I was going for, so side seams it was and it worked really well.  I placed the pattern piece on the fold and added 3/8″ to the side seam for seam allowance.

 

One of my favorite features of this pattern is that back neckline scoop.  Gosh, it is just a good flattering back neckline.  It is a little bit more revealing than a standard higher back without actually being immodest and showing my bra.  I also love that the bodice is fully lined, making it so you have a clean finish.  I did choose to topstitch the neckline because, personally, I like that finishing detail but it is not necessary.  I think that the lining also helps give the bodice a bit more tummy sucking in shaping too and who doesn’t want that?!

I am considering this fabric stash fabric, even though I recently bought it in March.   I bought it with no project in mind and knew it when I brought it home I would put it on the shelf with the rest of my stash.  I did use all 3 yards that I had bought as well as a half yard of white jersey for the lining that was purchased in 2014.  I am pretty pleased that I didn’t let that linger too long and used an even older stash fabric on top of that.

Earlier, I mentioned that this pattern features a full circle skirt.  Do you know what the benefit of a full circle skirt is?  Maximum twirl factor!  After working in the show choir industry making dresses that satisfy this twirling need, I am excited to be able to have it in my everyday dresses.  It is just plain fun!  I am excited to be able to wear this dress this to Gen Con this year and C2E2 next spring.  When I wear my geeky printed dresses to Gen Con I tend to get stopped and asked where I got it.  I think I may need to get some new business cards printed now.

Stay tuned this month for more geeky Star Wars makes for my husband and some Gilmore Girls inspired makes for myself.

**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.

Bella Sunshine Designs: Sahara Top

Hey, Sewists!  I have a fun new make of a brand new pattern to share with you.  May I present the newly released Bella Sunshine Designs – Sahara Dress & Top.

I was lucky enough to be asked to test this pattern out.  I almost turned it down because of moving, but I am so glad I did not.  BSD is a new to me PDF pattern company that I learned about through sewingportfolios.com.  They learned of me through there as well.  If you are not on there yet I strongly recommend it.  I have been presented with multiple pattern testing opportunities in the short time I have been a member.

See that scooped out back neckline?  That is what sold me on testing this pattern.  Of course, the fullness of the peplum won me over, but it was the deep scoop back neckline that pushed me over the edge.  I cannot think of any other knit pattern I have that features the back neckline like the Sahara does.  This pattern features two different neckline heights, three different sleeve lengths, a sleeveless version, and three different skirt lengths.  I opted to test the peplum top version with 3/4 sleeves with the high neckline, mostly because it would fit into one of the few pieces of knit fabric I had not yet packed but had been washed.    My bodice is a size 16 in the bust with a bust adjustment grade out to an 18 in the waist.  There are also two different versions of the front bodice, one with a full bust adjustment and one without.  Can I just tell you how much I love that!  Having the FBA version saves so much time for us, the sewists.

This is the very first fitted knit pattern I have ever made that I did not have to take in to give it the fitted look it had promised.  I could not believe this once I put it on.  The sleeves were a perfect fit.  All the knit patterns I have made that are supposed to have fitted sleeves are typically too big around the sleeve hem and upper arm.  I was so beyond pleased when I tried this on and I did not have to make any adjustments. None! Zip! Nada! I think the secret to the great fit of the bodice is that it features a lining and clear elastic along the waist, shoulders, and armholes.

Fabric usage for this pattern is broken down based on each element (sleeve version, bodice version, skirt version).  This makes it easy for color blocking the garment.  For my test version, I used two yards of a stashed cotton knit from a Girl Charlee Knitfix last year.  I also used .75 yards of a cotton jersey that has been in my stash for who knows how long.  It has been long enough that it was before I started keeping track of when, where, and how much I got it for.

Based on the pulling at the bust, I probably should have made a straight size 18 with bust adjustment.  That is the only change I would make on my next version.  In fact, I am in the process of making two more versions this month, a dress length and a pattern hacked maxi length.  I am excited to be able to share those once I am finished with them.

The pattern has a full circle skirt with no seams.  Be still my heart!  I love a full circle skirt because of how it hangs and, of course, the spin factor.  Overall, I find the skirt to be very flattering on this pattern.  The waistline hits at the natural waist and the length of the skirt on the top version hits at just below the fullest part of my hips.

I am so impressed with how this pattern turned out and how BSD ran the testing of the pattern that I have signed up to be an affliate for the company.  This is not something I take lightly.  I only want to work with companies that I like and believe in.  Bella Sunshine Designs meets those requirements.  As an affliate, that does mean I earn a small commission on each sale that is made by clicking on the links in this post or the badge on my home page.

I am excited to work more with BSD in the future and to try out their other patterns including the other recent release of their Alice dress.  It is a woven dress with pockets.  We all know how I feel about dresses with pockets!  They are one of the most amazing things, ever!

Have your tried Bella Sunshine Designs yet?  What do you think?  What has bee