The Ginny Gown // a Color Magnet DIY

I really didn’t mean to take a blogging hiatus, but when we first moved into our house it was so exciting and there were (ARE) so many projects to work on, and so every night I would be like hmm, Blog? Or put up the curtains? Curtains. Blog? Or make a bench? Bench. And then I just got out of the habit of asking the question at all. And here I find myself, trying clumsily to explain why you haven’t heard from me round these parts. Well I’m back tonight, and I’ve got a project that ranks up there in my top five fave garments I’ve sewn (sentimentality definitely factored in).

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In my family growing up all of us girls had a very special and romantic nightgown somewhere between the ages of  6-10 that was called a Ginny Gown (although we never had anything to do with the dance studio where these originated, here’s the story).  These long, dreamy, twirly affairs were like a right of girlhood, and I have the most beautiful memories of lounging around in the buttery silky fabric–feeling so luxurious and pretty.  So this was a sewing project I’ve been planning for years, and although I did make Twinkie an earlier edition, it wasn’t up to par with my standards of dreaminess. So last Christmas I decided to embark on the project, and decided to go with Dharma’s rayon lawn because it’s so buttery and light and drapey and swingy and just perfect for what I wanted this night gown to be.  It was definitely the perfect choice.

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For the lovely two-tone printing, I went for one of my fave printing mediums color magnet. Because I’ve screwed up sewing garments with color magnet dyed fabric before, I’ve decided to go through the process with you here so you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made. Usually when printing the fabric I’m sewing with, I cut the fabric out, print it, and then sew. Not so with color magnet, if you cut out, print and THEN dye, your small pieces will fray and wad and you’ll end up with a massive ball of sadness. For colormagnet-garment-sewing happiness, begin first by tracing your pattern pieces (only the ones you plan on printing) onto your fabric. I used a washable magic marker.

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Then, without cutting, print only those traced out areas, here I used a homemade floral stencil. mad mim_printing,dying,sewing_the ginny gown_9

Allow to dry, and then proceed with your dying normally. The color magnet will do it’s magic, and the printed areas will attract more dye and turn out a more saturated deeper color. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the fabric post dying, I waited so many months to actually dye it, and then so many more to actually sew it that I totally spaced taking a pic. After dying you’ll THEN cut, which will be easy because you’ll have these beautiful printed areas begging you to cut here!  Now you’re ready to sew ‘er up according to dictates of your whim and fancy.mad mim_printing,dying,sewing_the ginny gown_8

I used Simplicity 3510, which has been a favorite of mine lately (see here and here). The only modification that I made was to  add some more fullness to the sleeves.

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PS JUST SO YOU KNOW, her face isn’t dirty, it’s peeling. Wouldn’t want you to think she hasn’t bathed in a week, although that’s entirely possible.

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I absolutely love how this night gown turned out, and it is so appealing to me that I am going to make myself one like this. Exactly. Because I guess I need a still need a Ginny Gown to lounge around and feel luxurious and pretty. The reason why this project took a kazillion light years was because I just waited months between steps (too busy, then moving, then broken machine, then no machine, then borrowed machine, then new machine). My poor sewing machine was having major issues which eventually resulted in me having to take apart and resew everything. It (my machine) finally died! Kapoot, I sewed that sucker into the ground, God rest her soul.  BUT don’t cry for me friends, because I got a new one! After weeks of research I landed on a Bernina Activa, and so far I’m real happy.

And hey! if you’re in the area this week, I’m teaching a hand printing class at A fashionable Stitch in SLC this wednesday 6 pm, there are a couple spots left! Call the shop (801) 466-3110 to sign up, I’d love to see you! 

18 Comments

the mither

Ahhhh, what is childhood for a little girl, without a whirly, twirly ginny gown? So glad you were able to work this into your SO busy life. The photos are just dreamy, love the one in the swing!

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Ravenna

That’s a beautiful dress! If I had enough experience I would whip one up for my little girl. All that flowy silky fabric makes me cringe!

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Miriam

ACtually, this fabric is waaaaay easier than it looks! It’s actually really great to sew with BUT it was kinda a pain to cut out…!

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arianek

My goodness, I love this soooo much. Now I want one too, who knew I would ever lust for a long nightgown?? 🙂

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ashley akers

I love this project! My ideas take forever to come to fruition but I don’t have good excuses like you do! I’m so glad you mention the rayon lawn. I’m putting together a Dharma order and I think I’ll try it out. I need one of these gowns too. Thanks for the inspiration, now please don’t disappear again!

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Ruchi

Very pretty gown…I can’t even think of making it as the cloth is looking so silky n difficult to handle. The flow and the texture of the gown is awesome. Your hand in sewing is too good . Have shown this gown to my daughter and now she is longing for the same. I need to get it stitched from someone else. It’s really beautiful.
agoodstuff.blogspot.in

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Miriam

Thank you Ruchi! And really the fabric wasn’t difficult at all to sew with, cutting was the only slightly tricky part, but even then it wasn’t bad at all.

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Mina

Thank you so much for posting this, and to Dharma for putting it in their newsletter as a tutorial. I have always loved long gowns and dresses. I had somehow missed Color Magnet. Can’t wait to try it.

It seems to create exactly the kind of color combinations I like best.

Would you mind sharing which dye color (or mix of colors) you used? It looks like my favorite color combination in the whole world!
Mina

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Miriam

Mina I was afraid someone would ask this, I can’t quite remember what dyes they were! I know I was almost out of a couple, and so I just put them together. I THINK it was forest green and cayman isle green. You will LOVE color magnet, I can’t get enough of it. I love the tone on tone look it creates, it’s so fun and graphic. I am just about to make myself a grown up version of this nightgown, I get jealous of my daughter every time she wears hers! Anyway, hope this helps!

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Mina

Thanks for letting me know. I just ordered Color Magnet plus a handful of dyes, including Jade Green and Cayman Isle Green, so I guess I get to play!

I’m thinking that a Turquoise-based color would give the effect that you got – the darker color is bluer… (At least it looks like that in the photos, and I like the idea of that effect.)

Think I’ll maybe make some swatch tests, and turn them into Spoonflower fabrics too.

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Laura Adams

Oh, you brought back memories with this one. I made beautiful nighties for my girls when they were in that same age range. They are both in their 30’s now, & we still have the nighties, awaiting the time when their girls are old enough to wear them. Thanks for the lesson in beautiful tone on tone printing. Can’t wait to try this one. I have been a professional dressmaker for 30+ years, and yours has now become my new, favorite sewing blog!

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Miriam

Laura I am so flattered! How kind of you to say! I hopped over to your blog and was so impressed! That Ana-White bed you made is incredible!!

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Emily

This is so great! I had “special” nightgowns growing up, too, and it is such a fond memory. So far my daughter has no interest in sleeping in a nightgown but I am secretly hoping she will come to love them so that I can sew them for her! (Is that weird?)

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Miriam

Not weird at all, and really it shouldn’t take much. Once she started wearing hers that’s all I could think about! I’m actually working on one for myself right now!

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