Pattern Test- Bella Sunshine Desing's Amelia dress

**Disclosure: I received this PDF pattern for free as a part of testing.  The thoughts and opinions reflected in this review are purely my own. ***

I really like pattern testing, it's a lot of work, but I enjoyed the process.  I learn something every time I test and I come out with a wearable garment.  For this test, I tested the Amelia dress pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs.  I was part of pretesting which was interesting, very fast pace and I got to see how changes effect the design and outcome.  I went through two muslins to get this fit, but the BSD team was there to look at my pictures and make recommendations, that's what makes testing fun, I wasn't alone.  As an advanced beginner/intermediate sewer, sometimes, I can't read the drag lines or fitting issues so this process was super helpful.  There is a wealth of information on Facebook an most groups are there to help if you have a question.  The sewing community is a great resource and very accepting.  

Ok, ok, about this dress, here are the details from the website  :

The Amelia is the perfect dress for any occasion. It can be dressed up for a fancy brunch or casual enough for a stroll on the beach. The wrap front bodice beautifully accentuates the body. The empire waist is flattering no matter what your shape is and the gathered band gives a nice detail not often found in dresses like this. The knit bodice can be paired with a knit or woven skirt. And since the pattern comes in sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and long sleeve, you are ready for any season. On top of the multiple sleeve lengths, the pattern includes options for a top length, knee length dress, and a maxi. Also, as with all our knit women’s pattern, and optional full bust adjustment is included in the pattern making fitting a breeze.
Amelia dress

Sewing Level: Confident Beginner

Sizes: Ladies 0-30 with Optional Bust Adjustment

I sewed a size 16 with FBA, and used size a size 18 skirt.  I really like the included FBA's in this pattern, one less thing to worry about.  For a beginner step 4 could be a little confusing but the instructions are clear and and the Bella Sunshine Design website and Facebook group have a wealth of information and help for any areas that may seem tricky.  

I adjusted the bodice for length by adding three inches to the bodice front and back, I'm 5'9" so I usually have to add length, however, for this pattern, I add almost three times the length in the bodice; I was not a fan of  that adjustment as it can distort the pattern, but it came out good in the end. I also added 2 inches to the skirt and I didn't hem since I used a knit.  Speaking of knits, I used a super cute ITY for both the dress and lining and I really like the way it came out.

Most times on casual dresses I make from knits, I wont hem since they don't fray, and because I'm lazy!  This dress bodice is lined, so I chose to self line (using the same fabric for bodice main and lining), I couldn't prevent the lining from peaking out in the back so I used the same fabric to remedy that.  I would recommend taking care with overlapping the front bodice pieces and adding the waistband, there are a lot of layers to include gathering stitches, so take your time and line up your pieces and baste before sewing your final stitches.

This pattern has a separate pattern piece for the lining and bodice mains which I really like also.  Overall, the dress is great after I make my length adjustments and find the right fabric.  

Tip/Technique:  There is a tutorial on how to gather with clear elastic here from the BSD team and that will be super helpful if you work with knits.


  1. You are making some beautiful dresses!!!

  2. Wow! This is an awesome dress. Looks fantastic on you! Really want to try this pattern now.


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