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Magnolia Sew Along Day 1

Jana Harcus

Welcome to Day 1 of the Magnolia sew along!

We are so excited that you decided to join us this week!  The Magnolia is made out of knit fabric and if you have never sewn with knit before, this pattern is a great one to start with.  It is a quick sew with stunning results!

Let’s have a quick run down of the things that we will be completing each day. We will be following the Ladies and Girls Magnolia patterns, so if you have not yet purchased whichever version you are doing, please be sure to get it here and here. This week, I will also be demonstrating how to create a sleeveless version and an unlined bodice using neck binding.  These will both be nice options for making the magnolia a little bit cooler to wear in the hot summer.  


Here is the schedule for the week:


Day 1:

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  Day 1 is all about making decisions.  

First decision you will need to make is which option you will be doing.  You could make either a top, tunic, knee length dress, or maxi dress.  For this sew along, I will be making a tunic version so that is what I will be showing in the photos.

Next decision for the ladies version is whether or not you would like a curved or straight bodice. Here are some photos of the bodice differences.  The skirt will be attached the same way no matter which bodice option you choose.  It is all a matter of personal preference. I will be making the curved bodice option.

Next, let’s talk sleeves...the pattern includes three different sleeve lengths, short, ¾, and long.  Additionally, for this sew along I will be giving instructions on how to create a sleeveless version. Many people have asked how to do it, so the lucky ladies joining this sew along will get some photos and instructions on it.  Yay!

After you have decided on the Magnolia style you would like, the next (and usually the hardest) decision to make is the fabric.  There are lots of great online and local resources for knit fabric.  This blog post had a list of recommended places to purchase your fabric. The best knit for this pattern is something with good stretch and recovery.  What is recovery? When you stretch it, does it easily go back to original shape or does it remain slightly stretch out? If it goes back nicely, then it has good recovery.  That’s what you want. Without good stretch and recovery your garment will get misshapen over time and what a disappointment that would be. For this sew along, I will be using some beautiful Art Gallery Garden Dreamer knit from Threads and Stitches, the lovely sponsor for this sew along. Once you have picked out your fabric, be sure to give it a quick wash.  Knit fabric shrinks a lot, so prewashing is always a good idea!

Ok, phew, all of your decisions are made!  Let’s print out the pattern pieces and cut that freshly washed fabric.  Look at the measurement chart included in the pattern to determine the best size for you.  Little Lizard King patterns include layers, which means that you can print out only the size that you need.  Printing instructions are included in the pattern so follow those when printing out your pieces.  Because all women and girls are shaped differently, there may be a need to mash sizes (i.e., use one size for chest and a different for waist). When doing that, include both of those sizes in the layers to print and grade the lines as needed.  This just means drawing a straight line from one size to the other. (See picture below) Also, the pattern is designed for women who are 5’ 5” in height.  If you are tall, like me you may want to add length to your dress or tunic.

All of your pattern pieces are cut and ready to go, but before we start sewing tomorrow let’s get all of the rest of our supplies gathered.  When sewing with knits, it is recommended that you use a stretch or ball point needle. A few other supplies you may want are ⅜” clear elastic (sometimes called swimsuit elastic), and wash away hem tape.  Additionally, you may choose to use a serger to sew all seams, but it is not necessary.  The entire garment can be sewn on your regular sewing machine using a stretch stitch or whatever stitch your machine recommends for sewing stretchy fabrics.

Even though we didn’t get any sewing done, day 1 was a big one! A large part of sewing any garment is doing the prep work.  There is something so satisfying about having everything all ready and set to start sewing.  If you are sewing a lined bodice, as described in the pattern instructions, join me tomorrow.  If you are doing an unlined bodice with neck binding then you get a day off tomorrow, and can join us back here on day 3 where we will go over instructions on how to do that!

Make sure to share your photos in our Facebook group each day as you make progress.  We can’t wait to see all your lovely Magnolias!