So up until about 2 months ago, I had never bought a maxi dress or skirt. I thought I was too short.
I figured I would look like I had raided some tall person’s closet and decided to play dress up.
But then I actually started paying attention and realized that Short People Can Wear Maxi Dresses Tooooooooo.
(Please read that in an enthusiastic voice with one finger pointed in the air in triumph.)
Now? I’m pretty much addicted. Because let’s face it – they are cute. They hide a multitude of sins (like unlotioned legs – gasp) – and look casual and dressy all at the same time.
And when there are sudden ocean breezes you don’t have to worry too much about pulling a Marilyn Monroe and flashing anyone accidentally.
The only problem with the maxi dress is that sometimes they are overpriced – especially when half the time they are just a long tank top that goes to your feet. Um – $75?? No thanks.
So – I got out my sewing machine and went hunting for inspiration.
I found a few ideas, along with a summer dress that I wear all the time, and I decided to do a Two-Tone Maxi Sundress Mashup!!
Here’s how it turned out:
Now – I’ve got a little white cardigan on – cause I don’t do the sleeveless thing. So here’s another photo of the dress – without me in it!
Isn’t it fun? It’s so perfect for summer – nice and lightweight and super soft! I love the colorblock look to it!
Here are my inspiration dresses – just so you can see what I’ve mashed up!
(The one on the left is a dress I have from Loft that I just love – the ruffle is so fun. The one on the right is an Anthro dress – and I thought the two fabrics are the skirt were so pretty!)
This would be easy to make yourself – just using a tank top or summer dress that you like for the pattern.
Start out by making pattern pieces. I traced the top of my dress for a front and back pattern. You’ll want to add seam allowances.
For the bottom, measure from where you’d like the waist of the dress to the floor – then trace a skirt or dress that fits great for the width. It’s basically just a long rectangle that comes in at the top a bit.
For the front panel that gives it kind of a faux wrap look, starting about where the skirt would hit your knee, draw a curve into the pattern from the right side to the bottom left.
(*A sewing blogger’s tools – scissors and your phone. Never do a project without them.) :)
You want this front panel to be a few inches narrower than the skirt pieces, so the color underneath shows through. You can just fold your pattern piece in the center to take it in.
So now you’ve got all your pattern pieces – you’re ready to cut out.
Out of your main fabric cut:
A curved front piece
A Back skirt piece
2 Back Top pieces
1 front piece without a seam
2 front pieces cut down the center with an extra seam allowance in the center
2 strap pieces – 1 1/2″ x 13″
(optional – if your fabric is lightweight, like this, you can cut another back skirt panel that’s shorter (about the knee) as a lining)
Out of your accent fabric cut:
One front skirt piece
2 ruffle pieces (shown below) Once piece is 4″ x double the top piece, the other is the same, but with a large curve on the end for the front ruffle.
Hem the ruffle pieces with a tiny hem. For the curved piece, hem the side that is the top and the curve.
Gather the pieces opposite the hem, but don’t gather the vertical part of the center ruffle piece.
Sew the short ruffle piece without the curve to the right front top piece, front the center to the top of the shoulder – stop at the edge of the arm hole.
Sew the longer ruffle to the left front top piece – along the top and down the center edge.
Sew your top front pieces together along the center seam, right sides together.
Sew your strap pieces into long tubes and turn right side out. (These will probably be too long for you but it’s better to try them on and adjust, you can always trim them later.
Sew your straps to the top of each side of your dress top.
Pin, then sew the top lining to the top front, along the arm holes and neck. Leave the sides open. Turn the lining to the inside and press.
Sew the back pieces together along the top edge, leaving open a space for the straps to fit through, 4 1/2″ front each side.
Slip the straps through, then try on for fit. Pin the sides and see if the top sits the way you want.
Once you have the straps adjusted, sew them in and trim off the ends.
Turn the lining to the back and topstitch along the back pieces, leaving 1/2″ of each side unsewn so you can open it up later.
Open up the lining pieces of the front and back. Place the pieces right sides together and sew each side seam. Tuck the lining inside.
Zig Zag around the bottom edge of top, sewing the lining and front pieces together.
Now for our skirt!
Hem the right side of the front panel piece, so the long side and the curve are hemmed.
Layer the skirt pieces together so the front accent piece is right side up and the curved panel piece is right side up on top of it. Lay your back skirt piece right side down on top of that, then your back skirt lining piece (if you are using one). Sew your side seams together, making sure that only one side of your panel piece is being sewn in.
Once your side seams are sewn, sew the top pieces together with a zig zag stitch right at the edge. So you’ll be sewing the front curved piece to the front of the skirt, and the two back lining pieces together.
Place your dress top right sides together with your skirt and line up the zig zagged edges. Sew the edges together. You might have to ease your skirt pieces just a bit as you go.
Sew a straight stitch 7/8″ away from your edge.
Pull the top back up and press the center seam down towards the skirt. Sew another straight stitch just above the zig zag stitching for your elastic casing. Leave an opening to insert your elastic.
Measure and cut your elastic, then add it to the casing. Sew the casing closed.
Hem the bottom of your skirt – and you’re all done!
Bear with me here – as I said I haven’t done a lot of clothing tutorials – so if any of this seems confusing, let me know!
I really love how the dress turned out!!
I made a little colorblock sash to wear too – just for fun.
I hope you like it!!
Linking up awesomeness at Sunday Scoop, Today’s Creative Blog, Met Monday, Skip to my Lou, Tutorials & Tips Tuesday, Shabby Creek Cottage, and the other fabulous parties on the party page – make sure you check them out!