Saturday, February 11, 2012

Before the Blog: Easiest DIY Maxi Dress Ever

Guess where I am!

I swear this really happened. Walnut
just went over and sat down like that.
I know I said I was going to show off my finished UFO, but even though the dress is finished, I don't have any pictures yet. Blame Jeremy Lin for starting his basketball game right around the golden hour before sunset. There was no way I was going to ask my husband to step away from watching a Chinese-American guy play in a groundbreaking game to take pictures for me. Goodness, what's happening to my blog? First I mention COD: MW3, now basketball. As if my search results aren't already skewed enough, what with having made a Team Fortress 2 sniper vest in the past.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures and a fake-torial for a dress I recently wore to the Getty Villa instead. Since the Getty Villa collection is mostly Greek and Roman art, I wore my most Grecian-column-esque dress. This was the actually the first dress I made when I started sewing, right after two elastic-waisted skirts. And let me tell, you, this was even easier than the elastic skirts. It's really an awesome beginning sewist project, especially since it's so simple to get such a glamorous result. Every time I wear this, I get compliments on it, my husband loves it, and it is SO EASY. So even though it's a little late for the Sew Grateful week tutorials round-up, here are my instructions anyway. Mind, though the waist is very adjustable (it's entirely dependent on your having a nice wide belt), the length is based on my height, which is 5'5". If you're significantly taller, you'll need to cut a longer piece of fabric.

I love how maxi dress can make one look so tall and columnar.
I made a super long tie so that I could have a huge bow at the back.


You'll need a drapey fabric, preferably a stable jersey knit, a long sturdy ribbon for the tie (or make your own super long tube of fabric), and the aforementioned belt to complete the look.
Yikes! There's a typo (write-o?) in here: it should be 54" x 24", not 44". Thanks to the Sewing Princess for pointing it out!
That's it! And in the spirit of full disclosure, I got the idea from American Apparel. I was just browsing their store, feeling a little heady with my first sewing successes, and I looked at the Le Sac Dress and realized it was just two rectangles sewn together. I thought, I can do that! And I can make it not scandalously short, too! So I dropped by my local Yardage Town, found this lovely soft black and white bamboo print jersey knit in the remnants, and snatched it up. An hour later, I had a new dress.

Please don't look too closely at my horribly non-parallel lines of topstitching, though.

I love these super fast projects that have disproportionately awesome results. Granted, this kind of dress is also just made for SoCal weather, but if you're taking a beach holiday, try it!

It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be at the Getty Villa, wandering around, looking at a great art collection...

...enjoying the beautiful architecture and marble floors everywhere...



 ...and the fantastic statuary. I just couldn't resist once I saw the crazy eyes on the statue.
I am a serious, mature adult who knows how to appreciate art, I promise.

40 comments:

  1. I love this dress so much! I remember the first time I saw you in it I thought you had bought it! You look so amazing in it! Might you teach me how to make it the next time I visit? Also, I love Jeremy Lin!

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    1. Oh Shayna, you're the sweetest. Let's make it happen! We just need to find a suitable fabric!

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  2. Great dress! You look really good in it.

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  3. This is adorable! I kid you not, I've been looking for a quick and easy maxi dress pattern lately, thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. I hope it works out for you! I'd love to see pictures if you make it up!

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  4. I'm guessing your cat is Maine Coon by the size of him! I had one and oh he was so much fun. Super smart!

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    1. Walnut is a Siberian, second only to the Maine Coon in terms of size. He is also super smart, and will do tricks for treats!

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  5. OMG - is that a cat or a Lion - BEAUTIFUL - and the dress is lovely too.

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    1. Aww thanks! We call him our little lion-man.

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  6. Thank you for this great tutorial!
    Definitely going to try it out, because it looks easy and it 's just a beautiful simple design which is easy to combine.
    Lovely cat btw ;)

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  7. Fab!!!! Such a simple design, but looks fantastic...that's the kind of sewing I LOVE! Thanks for sharing the tut...I'll be pinning it to remember for when the weather gets a bit warmer (hmm....does it get warmer over here in Northern Ireland? Doubtful!).
    And I just love your cat!

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  8. I like it really much :)

    I made a list of Maxi dress tutorials on my blog <3
    You're in it, hope thats okay :)
    http://crafterlifebyme.blogspot.com/2012/02/list-of-diy-maxi-dresses.html

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    Replies
    1. That is totally okay. Thanks for letting me know!

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  9. Very cute! Love it! This would also work well for hot Arizona weather.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it would indeed...one of my best friends lives in AZ, and good golly it is hot there!

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  10. I just adore this dress and can't wait to make it! I prefer to follow blogs via email so pretty, pretty, pretty please could you add a follow by email section to your blog so I can follow it? pretty please?

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  11. I've just found you thanks to the Sew Grateful week. What a dress! I can't wait to have a go at making this (although I will have to wait some time before wearing it- the weather here in Wales is rather chilly at the moment!)

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  12. Great job of the dress. You look beautiful in it.

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  13. Thank you for this tutorial. I made the dress today. I copied your directions except I added an inch (or was it 2?) to the width. I wish I hadn't because it might be a tad too bulky, but I don't care. I even bought a belt for it - which may be too wide, but oh well! I will hem it tomorrow morning - I plan to keep it long like you suggest but I need to take off about 1-2 inches. I plan to wear it to my mother's birthday party tomorrow! I'll post a picture when I get one.

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    1. I hope you don't mind but I'm adding a link to pictures of the dress I made from your excellent tutorial. Thank you again!
      Click Here for Pictures!

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  14. i dragged kristy to the fabric store today after climbing. i bought an animal print jersey knit for $3/yard. i'll let you know how it goes. thanks for the inspiration to sew again!

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  15. I like it, it seems easy, thanks for this.
    Susana

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  16. I love the fabric you choose! It looks FAB! You look great! I will be making this dress once I find the perfect fabric. Thanks!

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  17. Love everything about this! The fabric, the way it looks on you, and how ridiculously easy it is. Now I really need to make one of these for me (does that mean I am actually thinking about buying jersey!?! - I guess it does!)

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  18. Lovely dress. Made one maxi version, really beautiful. more coming. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Just wanted to double check before I set out to cut the fabric. You cut 2 pieces of 24 x 44 inch fabric, correct? Not cut a 24x44 in half (to be 12x44).

    Thanks!

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    1. Yep, two pieces, 24"x44" each, so that you when you sew it together you have a tube with a circumference of a little less than 48", which should be enough to fit ones hips and gather around the waist. If they were 12"x44" each, well, let's just say that the resulting dress would need to go to a pre-teen.

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  20. I'm 6 months pregnant and thought this would be AWESOME as a maternity maxi! I used some suitsuit fabric - since its VERY stretchy! I cut the width wider at first, and got it all sewn up, but it was the size of a circus tent. So, I tried it on, and you were right! 24" was perfect, so I re-did one side of the dress. Its great - very cool for this heat wave we're having in the midwest. And it stretches very cutely over my belly. Thanks so much for the great pattern! I'm going to be looking for fabric to make a couple more of these. They are great for pregnancy!

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  21. Hi there! Was looking for a simple maxi dress pattern online and yours was absolutely perfect! So simple yet so amazing, however I would like
    to ask whether the dress would be made in the same process with chiffon material?

    Thanks!

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    1. The process would be the same, but chiffon is much more difficult to work with than knit fabric, since chiffon will fray and slip all over the place. Because of that, you would definitely need to finish the seam allowances to keep the dress from falling apart. So all the places where you would have just folded over once and stitched, you'll need to fold over twice to enclose the raw edges. You will also need to use a fine, sharp needle meant for lightweight fabrics. Hope that helps!

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  22. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial, sometimes it's the simplest things that we can't get our heads around, I have some gorgeous knit that I am earmarking for one of these.

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  23. wow this looks great and so easy. I am off to a wedding on Saturday with nothing to wear and it is in the middle of a heatwave currently happening here in Australia. So I have some fabric already. I am definately going to try this. Thanks so much for your blog. :)

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  24. This dress is amazing. I can't wait to try to make one for myself, especially since finding dresses long enough for me is really hard. I just need to add a little bit of length to it.

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  25. I love this dress! Great job.

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  26. Great job on the dress. It's so cute!

    Debbie

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  27. Thanks so much for your tutorial. I made one based on yours :)
    http://lotusbomb.blogspot.com/2013/07/tiki-maxi-dress.html

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  28. Hi, this dress looks amazing and I am really excited to start making it. But there is one part of the tutorial that is puzzling me, the dimension of the two pieces of fabric are 24 in by 44 in - how is 44 in long enough for the dress to be maxi? Am I missing something somewhere?
    Thank you in advance.

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    1. I added a note in the caption saying that it should actually be 54", not 44".

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Thank you for taking the time to tell me your thoughts! I appreciate reading them and I try to reply to most, if not all, comments, especially when they are questions. I ask that you keep your comments polite, and if you're a spammer, don't bother because your comment will just be deleted! Also, if you're commenting on a post that's more than two weeks old, it will be moderated.