I have been wanting one of those comfy knit maxi dresses, but most of the styles in the store don’t do anything for me. I finally figured out a design that would be flattering AND comfy for me.
I used two different jersey knit fabrics, a faux leather and lacework appliqué I bought at the fabric warehouse, and 3″ elastic on this dress. I knew I didn’t have enough of the gray/black stripe to do a dress, but luckily I had another piece of a complementary jersey. It wasn’t a very big piece, but I worked everything together so they all flowed.
This style has a fitted top of the skirt, with a 3″ wide elastic waist to hold in the tum. I wanted a blousey top so it would be comfortable and not all form fitting. This would be a great dress for lounging on the deck with a glass of wine. 🙂
Here are the pattern pieces. Note that for the top, I used the same piece for the front and the back. I just cut a neckline for the front and leave about an inch that I can fold back. This saves me from having to trace another piece just for a different neckline. It works on simple tops like this.
After cutting out the skirt, there wasn’t enough left of the fabric to be able to cut the front on the fold. I had to cut two pieces of both the front and the back and attach them down the middle.
The hardest part was putting on the appliqué. As this is a faux leather, I used the Teflon foot on my machine to sew it. It would stick, otherwise. Then my threads kept breaking. This took A LOT longer than I would have liked. In the end I really like how this turned out. The holes in the back are a bit risqué for some events, so I can wear a tank top underneath for those. Otherwise, the extra ventilation will be nice in the summertime.
It doesn’t look like much on the hanger, but worn on a human body is much better!
Cut 2 pieces of the top (front and back), 2 pieces for the skirt and 4 pieces for the waist. In drafting this dress, I figured out where I wanted the waist to land, and then drafted everything based on that measurement. You could easily take a tank top from your closet and trace it out for the top, just adding or subtracting from the width based on how blousey you want it. My skirt portion was 37 inches long starting at 9″ wide (on the fold) at the top and tapering down to 15″ wide at the bottom, the waist 4″ x 15″, and the tank was wider than the waistband (for the blousey-ness) and has probably 3-4 inches longer than it would need to be if completely fitted with no extra.
– Sew up the side seams on the skirt
– Sew up the side seams on one of the waist pieces. On the second, inside, waist piece, sew up one side completely, and then on the other side only sew about an inch on the top and the bottom. This is going to be left open so you can thread the elastic through it.
– Sew up the top (side seams, shoulder seams and finish the neck and arm holes. I just turned the hem and used a double needle. Keep the bottom unfinished)
– Sandwich the bottom hem of the shirt in between the two waist pieces. They will be right sides together. Make sure the waist piece with the hole in the seam is right side to wrong side of the top. This will be on the inside of the dress. Sew all the way around. Now the waist piece seams are enclosed with the top’s hem.
– Attach the skirt to the waist pieces. You won’t be able to enclose the hems on this one.
– Cut your elastic to a comfortable length and thread it through the channel. When the end is on the other side, zigzag stitch the ends together. Get it back in the channel.
– Topstitch down the side seams of the waist pieces. Make sure the elastic is evenly distributed, first. The topstitching should close the open channel on the inside and it also keeps the elastic from shifting around.
I have another piece of fabric that I am going to use to make another dress like this. I got it from Germany, and it is really nice quality. That is not on the top of my “to-do” list, though. I have some things to make for Kai and for a Haiti project that the deadline for mailing is looming!
Ah procrastination…it seems like such a good idea at the time and then it kicks you in the butt later!