A couple weeks ago, I shared a beautiful little dress in my summary of looks for the In Blue Fabrics Lookbook. I showcased this beautiful fabric line with some of my favorite patterns – this time I also shared a new favorite pattern. I promised I would share more details about the Pattern Emporium Spellbound Dress for knits and today is the day!
When the Spellbound released a few months ago, I noticed that it had the perfect silhouette and options that I was looking for to make everyday dresses for summer. I live in knit dresses – and as a taller women with a fluctuating bust and waistline, I have a very difficult time finding dresses that fit me correctly in all the places. I want my dresses to be modern and flirty, but provide enough coverage so I’m not flashing cleavage or back side every time I bend over to pick up my three-year-old.
So why am I dedicating a whole post to the Spellbound even though it’s been out for awhile? Because it is simply stunning. I have now made 5 Spellbounds – 2 maxis and 3 knee length. While a variety of knit fabrics with different drape can be used, I have actually made all of my Spellbounds in cotton Lycra/cotton Spandex/cotton elastane. I love that quality cotton Lycra has great recovery so I don’t have to worry about my neckline and bodice stretching out over the day, and I love that my skirt has a gentle body to it.
I want to focus in on 2 things to make your Spellbound experience fantastic. First, read through the WHOLE pattern and do the fit test. It’s not recommended. It’s MANDATORY. It can be very tempting to jump right in since the Spellbound dress is merely 5 seams plus neckbands and armbands. But if you check the Facebook Pattern Emporium group and search “fit test” you can see what a difference doing even a small bodice adjustment of 1 cm makes.
In a sense, my bodice adjustment was actually doing NONE. I usually add about 1″ to the bodice on most patterns since I am 5’10” and then another inch at the skirt. I read through the fit test and saw the fit test pictures in the group, and realized that while I am tall, I am still trying to mask baby pooch. I needed to make sure that the skirt portion of the pattern flared enough over the fullest part of my hips and belly to be flattering. I was lucky and my “fit test” ended up being a VERY wearable muslin. If you do not have a lot of experience sewing for your own body and identifying your trouble areas, the fit test is even more essential. It is also essential that you use fabric that you are okay with making mistakes with.
One final note: this is addressed in the pattern, but I cannot stress the importance of proper undergarments when wearing clothes. It’s not a matter of needing them to wear handmades. Proper undergarments make a tremendous difference in my appearance and confidence no matter what I’m wearing. I don’t even recommend necessarily wearing constrictive shapewear to get a flattering fit. I still own and wear 3 regular old nylon slips in mini, midi, and maxi lengths. A simple slip such as this one helps prevent your skirt from getting caught in between your legs and also helps prevent static build up in our dry climate. I have owned and worn one of my slips for over 10 years- they don’t need to be replaced very often.
My second recommendation is a bit more delicate, but equally important: a well-fitted bra and high-waist seamless underwear shapes and smooths without restriction. I have a fairly full bust size and when I make sure to choose a bra that shapes (with underwire) and covers to avoid spillage (full coverage shaping), I have a much more defined figure without doing a single crunch. When choosing a bra, I check to make sure my breasts are fully contained in the cups, the underwire is at the correct spot, and the bra band is straight across my back. I also aim for one that is supportive enough to steer the apex of my breasts toward the recommended mid-point between the elbow and shoulder (Thanks, Mom, for binge-watching “What Not to Wear” with me when I came home on school breaks). Taking these steps to define your bustline actually does double duty to define your waistline as well.
The maxi Spellbound I shared in this post was recently featured in the Indie Boheme Fabrics Lookbook. Make sure you check out all the beautiful creations in the lookbook and check back here soon or on Instagram as I share more of my creations from the lookbook!
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