This month’s Mash Up I knew I wanted to make a Maxi Dress (love them for spring)! I was back and forth between our Romantic Maxi and Tank Dress, and ended up sewing the tank dress with gathered skirt. I liked the relaxed style of it, and it was a little less formal so I could wear it more casually. Check out how I infused my own style into it and used up leftover fabric!
I ultimately chose this pattern based on the fact that I had scraps of leftover fabric from previous projects that could come together to make this dress. I used leftover crepe from my Doughnut Skirt (for the gathered skirt), extra fabric from my Striped Dress (for the panels and trim), and then leftover jersey from my Long V Top (for the tank). It was great to make something so cool out of resources I already had, a real time and money saver!
Since I am a bit more curvy around the waist I knew that the thin jersey wouldn’t look good over my hips, so I decided to add diagonal panels from the waist angled down towards my hip. I simply drew a line starting at waistline along the side seam and ended it at center front and back at hipline.
To make the style even more flattering on the body I cut the panels with the stripes vertical. This pattern PDF doesn’t come with the skirt piece because it is a a big rectangle, so I simply just measured it out on the fabric and cut it. Then for the neck and armhole bands I cut strips 1 1/4" wide.
The first seams to sew were the panel seams on the tank, and then on the skirt I stitched two rows of basting stitches for gathering. Then I placed the skirt pieces over the tank and gathered the skirt pieces to still be a bit larger than the tank attachment seam.
I basted the gathered skirt to the tank before I serged them together, and then once they were serged together I placed the back and front dress right sides together and serged up the side seams.
Now it was time to attached the neck and armhole bands! Before I could do so, I serged the shoulder seams of the dress together and measured the openings of the neckline and armholes. I took the measurements and subtracted approx. 2" (so the bands could stretch in) from each and cut the striped strips to the desired length. From there it was super easy to sew the bands in, you first sew the edges together and then fold the band wrong sides together and serge the opening edges together with the garment. I just love this type of edge finish.
Once I was done with the top bands, it was now time to try on the dress and establish the hem length. I actually ended up taking off 5" from the skirt length (because I am petite). For my hem finish I simply just serged the bottom edge and pressed up twice and topstitched in place.
Then actually once the dress was done and I tried it on a second time I decided to ditch the armhole bands (it happens). So I cut them off and turned under the armhole edges and stretch stitched in place
Here we have it, a super maxi-dress with ultimate style and a bit of a hippie-vibe. I think this is normally something that I wouldn’t lean towards making, but once it all came together I actually really ended up loving it! I was even skeptical about the dropped waist silhouette of the dress on my body type, but the diagonal panels really help to make this style look good on me. I am very excited for the weather to warm up a bit more so I can wear this dress. Check out more photos of my dress here.
Meg Healy is BurdaStyle.com’s Online Editor and eCommerce Manager. She has an education in fashion design and earned several awards for her technical skills in pattern making and sewing.