Handmade Wardrobe
Comments 6

The Brave Little Mortmain Dress

0006-002When I saw this Cotton and Steel fabric my first thought was of Merida from Disney’s Brave so I knew I wanted to turn it into a dress that I could call my Brave dress. I don’t care how old I get, Disney movies will never loose their luster to me and now I have my god daughter to watch them with so I don’t accept anyone who passes judgement on my love of the animated princess.

If you haven’t seen the movie let me fill you in. Princess Merida is a fiesta red haired girl who likes to ride her horse, shoot with her bow and play pranks on/with her triplet brothers. There is no handsome prince, no life saving kiss and other than a crazy leg-eating bear there isn’t really even a villain. Not sounding much like a typical Disney movie now is it? This Disney movie is all about the importance of family and wait for it, being BRAVE!


I love the addition of pockets to this pattern.

Okay, okay, back to the dress. I really wanted to make a dress with the arrows going vertical instead of horizontal as they were designed. I was a little on the fence about my decision so I waited to get started and I am so glad I did because after the fabric was pre-washed and safely packed away in my stash I saw this fabulous dress from Tasha and knew exactly what to do. Mortmain 2.0 with a horizontal waistband and gathered skirt!! My original plan was to use the Elisalex bodice (it should be obvious by now this is my go to top) with a pencil skirt, but I just loved the contrast waistband on Tashas’ dress and knew that was the right way to go. Thanks for the inspiration girl!

I cut out 4 or 5 waistbands trying to get the arrows to match just right but in the end I was not successful in my pattern matching. The closest ones to matching didn’t look great, other than at the seams so I decided to use the one where the front arrow placement looked best. Since I had so many spares I used one as a facing to add some sturdiness to the waistband. My first Mortmain is still lovely and wearable but I have read from other bloggers that after a few wears and washes the waistband starts to stretch and sag so I’m hoping my extra layer will help with that.

The only fit issue I had with my first Mortmain is that there is slightly too much fabric in the shoulder area. This is a very slight problem that with the second one I didn’t even make any alterations to compensate for, I just lined the top instead of using the facings to add a little bulk to that area. photo (9)The bit of extra fabric is still there but there is less on this version. It was only after I had finished the dress that I looked at the pattern pieces to think about what alterations to make (for next time) when I noticed that there is another set of cut lines on the bodice that eliminate the area where there is extra fabric for me. I’m willing to bet you a bottle of wine that if I trace the top and make the bodice from where those lines are that the fit will be perfect.

In addition to my bodice trace line epiphany, I have some other news….

photo (12)Ladies and Gentleman, I have finally done it. A nearly perfect invisible zipper insertion that not only looks great, but goes up and down with no issues! I give myself an A- because I did have to do a little hand sewing to get it just right. I was overly cautious around the waistband and ended up barely catching the fabric to the zipper tape so I went back in and hand sewed closer to the teeth just to make sure it stays in place.

And another quick tip that saved me a whole buncha aggravation with this dress, I wound three bobbins before I started! I only ended up needing two of them but it was such a treat to have a new one ready that I just had to throw into the machine instead of undoing everything to re-wind.

And now, I will leave you with a quote from Princess Merida and a not so great picture of me with her in Disney last year (after I was brave and ran my first half marathon)!

Screenshot 2014-08-30 18.12.23



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