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. 

Preventative Stashbusting Maintenance

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 1804 front

I know, I know, July is my month to host the Stashbusting Sewalong theme of dresses and here I am presenting my newest maxi dress made from newly purchased fabrics.  To make matters worse, I am even parading my newest fabric purchases before the whole of the sewing community.  What kind of example am I setting for all of the sewalong participants and myself?  I am calling it preventative stashbusting maintenance.

If I buy it now and use it, it will not languish in my stash next year.  Oh, that is a thing that other sewists who don’t have stashes do on a regular basis?  But what if they see a fabric that if left in the store will cause them to drop dead right there?  You are telling me they will not really die?  I don’t believe that crazy theory and I don’t think I will test it either.

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 1804 front 2

This is my newest maxi dress using Simplicity 1804 view A.  I posted about purchasing this fabric last month and not knowing which dress to make with it, so I asked the whole of Instagram and Facebook which pattern to use Simplicity 1804 or Simplicity 1355.  The overwhelming response was Simplicity 1804.  I did use S1355 for the coral chevron maxi that I posted a couple of weeks back.  I do not think I could be happier with both of these dresses.  When you need help deciding the Sewcialist community is always there to point you in the right direction.

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 1804 back

I used all 3 yards of the wonderful chevron print ITY jersey and 3 yards of nude swimwear lining that I purchased back in June.  I also used a header/scrap of a peach colored ITY that I got from work last year.  The total cost for this dress is $32.97, making is one of the “pricier” dresses I have made.  It is worth it though as I love this dress.

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 1804 lining

One of the biggest changes I made was redrafting the front bodice, because of how last years version fit.  I kept the sleeve, shoulder and bottom the same and changed the center front seam by raising the neckline 4″ to provide more chest coverage.  Oh yeah, there is a seam in the center front of that bodice, check out my mad pattern matching skills! 🙂

I eliminated the facing around the neckline, since I hated that from the last time I made this, in favor of stitching a narrow hem around the sleeves and neckline.  I did, also, add an underlining to the bodice and a full loose lining to the skirt.  This chevron fabric is a bit on the lighter side and I felt like I needed a little extra weight to the dress.  I chose to use swimwear lining because it has the most similar stretch, weight, and feel as the chevron did.  I picked a nude over a white for the same reason I will always wear a nude bra,  it blends in better with my skin tones making is less noticeable.

Have you ever worn a white bra under a white shirt?  The bra will show through your white shirt almost every time.  Now go try on a nude bra with the same white shirt and it won’t show through, I promise. Go ahead, I will wait.  It doesn’t show through does it?  And that is why I choose a nude lining over a white.

You can read my full review for Simplicity 1804 on Pattern Review here.

I mentioned something earlier about parading new fabrics right?!  Well here they are.  As part of the annual summer fabric destashing at work we were given the opportunity to purchase some of it by the roll.  I paid $35 for 31 yards of fabric, about $1.12 per yard.  Not to shabby.

Musings of a Seamstress 6.2015 purchases

Now, working in the show choir industry most of what was there was sequins and glitter.  However, there were a few fabrics that I have had my eye on for a couple of years now.  Those two floral prints to be exact.  One is in a blue colorway and one is in a purple.  From the moment I saw them I thought they would make great maxi dresses and that is exactly what I am going to make with the blue one.  The purple is just shy of 3 yards, so I think just a knee length dress for that one.  I got 2 yards of lime green milliskin tricot, which has already been cut for it’s intended purpose of being used for testing the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern, more on that another day.  Also pictured above are 12.75 yards of black Georgette and 4.5 yards of nude milliskin tricot.

Musings of a Seamstress solid sequins 1I also walked away with 5 yards of this solid sequin stunner! The base of the fabric is a 4 way stretch ITY that is covered in black sequins that have a reflective rainbow appearance when the light hits them.

Musings of a Seamstress solid sequins 2


This was a hard fabric to photograph to show it off, but I did manage to get these two pictures.  I have big plans for this one that should only use two of the five yards. Big plans!  Yep that’s right, a sequined Morris Blazer!  I think this will be great for fall, providing an element of cool casual style into my work wardrobe.  I am really looking forward to sewing this blazer up within the next couple of months.