Monochrome Maxi Dress

It being half term this week gave me an ideal opportunity to have a go at another project and with a bit more time I decided to do something a bit bigger. I wanted to use the monochrome zigzag fabric I had bought from Girl Charlee UK  (www.girlcharlee.co.uk) after Christmas. When I initially bought the fabric I had wanted to make either a maxi dress or maxi skirt with it but when it arrived it was lighter weight than I was expecting. Because of this I was not sure whether it would work for my design as being black and white I was worried it would be a bit see through. Even so, I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to make with it and so decided to go ahead anyway.

I made a maxi dress last summer using a basic skirt pattern and a camisole top pattern from one of The Great British Sewing Bee books. Again, it was using Girl Charlee fabric which I loved but I made the top part too long and the skirt too short and so it wasn’t very flattering. The waistband ended up sitting on my hips and the top was very baggy and so even though I have worn it I wanted to do another which fitted me better.

The design I wanted to go for with this one was a wrap over bodice with a racer back and very small straps, the skirt then coming from just under the bust or the waist. I had the skirt pattern already for my measurements but I decided to make it slightly bigger so that it wasn’t so tight around my bum in case there was any see through issues! I then made a waistband pattern to match which was a few inches bigger than my waist measurement so that when I put elastic in the waist it would gather up.

The next part was the top. I knew what I wanted to do but I had never made anything like it before so didn’t have a ready made pattern. I started to draft a pattern on paper using the basic shape I had in mind using a few of my own measurement to check the size. I knew how big the waistband was so the pieces needed to match that.  Then I measured the diagonal length for the front pieces and the length for the back, from my neck to waist. Once I had drawn out the pattern I decided to try it on scrap fabric first to check I was doing the right thing. I was happy overall but decided to add another inch to the length to make sure I had enough seam allowance.

Once I had cut out all the pieces putting it together was fairly straight forward. I started off with the skirt, and attached the waistband to it. I then moved onto the top by sewing the two front pieces to the back and finishing off the two diagonal front sections and the top of the back piece. To finish I overlocked them and then turned them under once and secured with a twin needle stitch. Now that it is finished I wish I had turned it under again to give it a bit more strength but it looks fine on. I then attached the top pieces to the skirt with my overlocker.

Using my tailors dummy (it is roughly the same size as me) I worked out how long the bias strip needed to be for the straps. I cut them out and pinned them on, tried it on and worked out they were way too big as the top was way too low! Not even wearable! I took out a couple of inches from the shoulders and it was perfect. I overlocked them on then turned them under to finish off with my twin needle. It all looked fine but when I tried it on again after I realised I had stretched out the fabric and so the underarm bit was now really baggy. I just unpicked a small section under the arms and took in about an inch from each of the side seams on the bodice and then reapplied the bias trying really hard not to stretch the fabric. 

To finish I put a tack stitch in the centre of the bodice, just for my own piece of mind and security!  It isn’t too revealing but because the edges are only turned under once they move quite a bit so wanted to keep them in place! I then overlocked the hem and rolled it under twice and secured with my twin needle. 

I am really happy with my finished product and can’t wait for summer to wear it. I think I goes really well as a casual dress with my denim jacket or I could dress it up. It isn’t see through at all but I think that is because I made the skirt a bit baggy, if it is pulled tight it is a different story. I hope you like it.

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