With winter closing in, hems are lengthening and I need a maxi dress fit for the cool weather! I found some striped jersey material in the local fabric shop that was on offer so I took the remaining bolt and set to it.
First off we had to make a pattern. I took a favourite vest top, that I like the shape of, and used it to create a pattern for the top of the dress.
Step one - I drew around the vest top, creating two patterns, one for the top and the other for the back. Step two - we then added half an inch as a seam allowance to the outside of the pattern.
At the end of the top I simply continued the line down to the floor, holding up the newspaper (taped together) against my body to get the right length (technical stuff!!). If I'd already owned a maxi dress, I could simply have used the whole thing to create a pattern. But then, if I had a maxi dress already I wouldn't have needed to make one!
Due to the constraints of how much material I had, I made one whole single piece for the front, but two half pieces for the back. But ideally, it'd be easiest to make this with just two pieces.
Step four, once you're happy with your pattern, cut out each component. To get the full length, and in the absence of rolls of pattern paper, we simply taped lots of newspaper sheets together. Crafty and effective!
Step five - set out your material and arrange the patterns you have cut in a suitable way. This can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle! Things to remember - if you have a patterned fabric, such as these stripes, it's important to think of how you want it to lie when done. We were also very fussy and tried to get the stripes to match up on each seam. Once you're happy pin the pattern on and cut around it.
Step six - keeping in mind our matching stripes the next step was to pin everything together inside out. Then all it takes is a simple stitch along each seam. :) I kept trying the dress on at each stage and making a few tweaks here and there to get the fit just right. So we took in a couple of the seams a tiny bit until we were happy!
The final touches can now be added, we opted for a autumnal hot orange trim for the neck and arm holes. I've got a few pictures of this above as it was probably the trickiest part of the whole project! We started off by folding the tape over the hem, affixing it with lots of pins and then sewing. The trick here is not to stretch the jersey material as you sew or else the seam will be baggy (not great!). This was tricky to begin with, but by keeping the pins close together it gave a good indicator if we were stretching it as we sewed.
Finally we added a little tack at the front of the neck hole as a little feature and we were done! :)
And how about some strange jumps (in soaring wedges) to show off the maxi-ness of the dress? WARNING - Please do not attempt this bit at home folks! But if you do, I can't be held accountable for the consequences....!