Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial

Spring and summer are around the corner and my closet is bare.  Not one spring item to wear.  {Unless you count mustard colored leggings as spring.}  Do you have the same problem?  I'm great at keeping up with my kids wardrobes, but mine always seems to be suffering around each seasonal change.
Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
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I've been wanting to get myself one of the adorable Maxi dresses everyone has been wearing around, but I couldn't find one that I loved.  But luckily I found this beautiful knit fabric from Peek-a-boo Pattern shop.  (And if I am remembering right she also carries it in pink and purple.)  The moment I saw it I knew I had to have it.  Once I got it home, the decision to create my own Maxi dress was decided.

Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial


That being said, it sat on my fabric shelf for 2 months.  But the spring bug finally caught up to me and I got out my fabric and started drafting.  I wanted to share with you how easy it is to sew your own Maxi dress.  All you need is your favorite tee that fits you well and some great knit fabric.

Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial

For this particular Maxi Dress, you'll want to use a knit fabric or stretch fabric.  Knits can be a bit challenging.  You might want to check out our Tips and Tricks to Sewing with Knit Fabrics post.  It will give you some good advice about knit fabrics and a few tools that will make it easier for you.  You don't even need to have a overlock or coverstitch machine.  You can use your regular sewing machine.


Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial

Materials Needed
2-3 yards of knit fabric (depending on your own height and weight) Here is where I got my fabric
T-shirt that you like the fit of (you'll want something a little more form fitting)
Sewing Scissors - These are my favorite ones
Twin or Double needle (optional) -but this gives all your seams a nice finish.

If you are not sure where to get knit fabric, we've got a great post about places to purchase knit fabrics if you aren't sure where to find stretch knits.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial  Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 1
To start, grab your favorite t-shirt.  Trace around the bodice of the tee.  Make sure to trace the front neckline and back neckline.  Next trace around the sleeve.  

Now add a 5/8" seam allowance around the pattern pieces.  If you place it on the fold you don't need to trace along the center front line.  This should give you a decent fitting top for your maxi dress.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 2
Cut out your bodice front and back and your sleeve.  Measure around your neckline to get a measurement for your neckband.  You might want to start by making a knit muslin to ensure proper fit before cutting out of your pretty fabrics.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 3
Cut out your pattern pieces.  Cut out a front and back bodice and 2 sleeves.  You'll also need a neckband.  It should be the length of the neckband x 2" height.  


Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 4
Fold the neckband in half matching short sides.  Stitch down the short side.


Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 5
Match the bodice front and bodice back at the shoulder seams.  Stitch across each shoulder.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 6
Open the bodice and lay it flat with right side up.  Take one of the sleeves and match it around the armscye.  Pin in place.  Stitch.  Repeat with opposite sleeve.


Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 7
Place the bodice with right sides together.  Stitch down the side seam from the end of the sleeve to the hem of the shirt.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 8
With right sides together, match the neckband to the neck opening.  Stitch in place.  Press. (It's going to look a little messy right now but it will get better.)

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial  Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 9
Press the neckband up towards the opening so the right side of the fabric is facing out.  Fold the neckband towards the inside of the bodice and pin.  Now stitch around the neckline.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 10
Trim the excess fabric hanging on the inside of the neckband.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 11
Cut out your skirt by measuring two identical rectangles.  

To get the correct measurement for you, take a tape measure and measure from your belly button down to your ankle bone.  This is your length measurement.  For your width, measure across the bottom front of your bodice.  Take this number and multiply it by 2.  That is the width you'll need for one rectangle.  Now cut 2 rectangles with these measurements.

Stitch the two rectangles together down the side seams.


Woman's Maxi Dress TutorialWoman's Maxi Dress Tutorial

Step 12
Now let's gather the top of the skirt.  Stitch 2 basting stitches across the front of the skirt and the back to the skirt.  Here is a great tutorial about how to gather the perfect stitches


Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 13
Match the skirt to the bodice top and pull your gathers so your skirt is about the same width as your top.




Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step 14
Turn your shirt inside out and match the bottom edge of your bodice to the gathered edge of your skirt.  Match and pin your side seams and then continue pin the two pieces together.  You may have to adjust your gathers as you go.

Stitch the skirt and bodice together.

Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial
Step  15
Hem your skirt by folding the bottom of your skirt up 1" towards the wrong side and stitch.  You may want to try on your dress to get a better idea of how much to hem.


Sew Your Own Woman's Maxi Dress Tutorial

There you have it!  It was way easier than you thought.  And you can use what you've already got in your closet to make up your pattern pieces.  I suggest making sure you try on your bodice top several times throughout the process, just to make sure you get the right fit and length.  



Not sure if you are ready to sew with knit fabrics?  Let's conquer your fear with our free email course.  Enroll today!!








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