I posted this dress on Instagram when I finished it. I mentioned that I'd fallen out of love with maxi lengths. I haven't made a maxi dress in 3 years. This was my last one. And someone asked why? Well, for one thing, I've taken quite a few spills in them. I'm not the most graceful gal and I'm naturally highly accident prone. My life should come with it's on comic outtake reel! Pretty much every single time I've worn a maxi anything and had to walk up stairs, my foot is guaranteed to get caught in the front hem. I've closed them in my car door many times. And now that I'm in my mid-40s, hot flashes are a real thing. And the idea of being swathed in yards of fabric just no longer made sense.
What brought me back the maxi length after all of this time? This See It! Sew It! Style It! look:
I saw that dress in ELLE Magazine (I think it was the March issue), ripped out the page because I knew this would be something I'd actually make. Even though this is a runway look, it was just so simple to replicate.
First thing, I had to find the right fabric. My fabric needed to be lightweight... extremely lightweight, like one level away from being translucent, in natural and breathable fibers. It's already in the mid-90s here and we're just getting started with summer. The RTW dress is blue cotton... probably a poplin. That's what it looks like. I found this gorgeous Blue Silk Shirting at Mood Fabrics.com. It's extremely lightweight and the drape is incredible. I bought 4.5 yards and used almost every bit of it.
How did I put this look together? I used two patterns: Vogue 8184 for the bodice (It's a 10 year old out-of-print pattern, but it's a great one to own); and McCall's 6558 for the skirt and ruffle. I chose to use the Vogue pattern for the bodice because I wanted a fitted bodice with princess seams, instead of the elastic neckline of the McCall's. I felt it would look more like my inspiration dress. Since I didn't use boning in the bodice, I shaped the neckline with a horsehair braid to keep it from collapsing over the bustline. And I added an inch to the length.
For the skirt I added a couple of inches to the length. I cut one pattern piece for the front on the fold.
For the back, I added a seam allowance and cut two separate pieces, because the design now has a back zip. I eliminated the elastic waist and created gathers and attached the skirt to the bodice. This fabric really didn't like having a zipper. I know now that I need a lot more stabilizing around the zipper area for such a lightweight fabric.
For the ruffle, I folded the top edge over 3/4" inch to created a clean finish. I gathered (lots of gathering) and attached the ruffle to the skirt by sewing it on top of the skirt. And I pressed my gathers down. It's finished with a 5/8" hem.
And to really seal the deal on my look, I added the long sash. My sash is 120" x 5". Super long so it can be worn obi wrap style.