Thursday, July 24, 2008

Maxi Dress

I have been reading in magazines that maxi dresses are in and wanted to make one. The design of this dress is not originally mine - I saw a similar dress last summer in a boutique downtown. I liked the simplicity of the design lines counteracted by the impact of the front drape.

The dress is made from yellow silk jersey purchased in the spring from I love print but think I am too petite to wear one, so I went with a vivid color instead.

The construction is really simple – no hemming, two side seams, ¾” elastic in the back and a tie that drapes the front and goes behind the neck. The actual construction time, even if you are a slow and anal sewer like me, takes max of 2.5 hrs including the cutting of the fabric.

There is perhaps one construction point worth of mentioning. When folding down the casing for the ties, after the cf is slashed, a triangle is inserted to fill in the space. It helpd if the slash line is interfaced prior to slashing.

Construction simplicity apart, it took me 2 muslins to get it right. Fortunately, I had a few pieces of ugly poly knits in my stash :) Interestingly, for me at least, the hard part about getting the pattern right was having the side seam hanging perpendicular to the floor. The front drape tended to force the side seam to come forward to the front. The first photo below is of the 1st muslin (you can see by how much it was off) and on the 2nd muslin (as you can see) has the issue resolved:

This is the pattern I ended up with:

There was one last issue to be resolved – the modesty issue (the rayon jersey is transparent enough to make people look). In a nutshell, I considered two options: an undergarment and an underlining. I ruled out underlining the dress since I thought that there would be too much fabric in the front. I have a wonderfully lightweight rayon jersey in yellowish-ecru from and thought that it would be right for an undergarment. I also wanted to have the possibility of wearing the dress without the undergarment if say on a beach vacation where modesty would be a non-issue. My solution was to make a “tube” from fabric. How I did it: I wrapped the fabric around my hips to establish how wide the tube should be and a/flared out slightly towards the hem, and b/tapered ever so slightly towards the bust. The top edge is finished with delicate lingerie fold-over elastic. The piece is worn under a strapless bra if you wear a bra or by itself if your girls don’t need one. Thankfully, the fabric is so lightweight and silky that it does not bunch under the bra at all. Here is a picture that shows the sheerness of the material:

And here is the undergarment w/o and with a strapless bra:

Both the dress and the undergarment are unhemmed – the edge was cut with a blade and I applied a tiny bit of clear nail polish to the very edge.


Gorgeous Things said...

Oooh, that looks so fabulous! Great job!!!

tinydancer said...

I have just discovered your blog and absolutely love it!!you have done a great job with your sewing creations :) have you been sewing a long time?

LauraLo said...

Gorgeous! You look like a Grecian goddess.

Sewfast said... thought was that you are channeling your Grecian Goddess! Mary

Adriana B. said...

Tinydancer, I have been sewing onand off since my teenage years. However, I became really serious about it(books, etc.) during the last 4 years.

Tany said...

What a beautiful dress, you look like a Greek godess! Well done!

Kelroc said...

That's a beautiful dress. Great job.

Erica B. said...

That dress is gorgeous and looks fabulous on you!

Nicole said...
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Charms said...

That's so creative of you. Do you have your own boutique or sewing is just your hobby. Maybe most of your clothes have been design by you. - juicy daydreamer