I still have two more fabric stops to show from my trip, but meanwhile here's a project I finished a few weeks ago.
When I made a maxi dress last year I was very skeptical. Cidell practically forced me to do it, but when the dress was done I LOVED it. I get compliments on the street every time I wear it.
And yet, I still wasn't sold on the maxi dress concept. Sure, the woven version looked cute on me. I am seeing tons of knit maxis on the street, but I really didn't think it would work for me. Then I found the fabric for this dress on the $2.97/yd table at G Street. As I was getting it cut, the woman mentioned that they buy their fabric by the pound as mill ends and offcuts. This piece was an odd shape; one of the ends had a huge rectangle cut out of it. I'm guessing this was the last bit left after they'd cut RTW garments out of it. There wasn't much left, but I hoped it would be enough.
Cutting it out was challenging because not only was the length not quite enough but the width was seriously compromised. Running along one edge was the border print, about 6 inches wide. That's all right. But the selvages were ridiculous! They were huge white bands, 8 inches wide on one side and 6 inches wide on the other. So although the fabric was 60 inches wide, it actually only had (excluding the selvages and border print) 40 inches of useable width and a little under two yards of length.
I cut out the bodice of the main fabric and the cut the skirts as long as possible with what was left, thinking if it was too short I'd just hem it at the knee and have a regular dress. Luckily, it ended up long enough! I didn't hem the bottom, but this being an ITY type poly jersey it stretched a bit so I think I'll add a hem after all.
I took a small bust adjustment, as usual, on the front bodice by narrowing the gather length along the lower edge, and pulled the gathers closer to the center than indicated.
I cut out the edging/straps of the border print. I kind of wish I'd cut them the other direction (upside down). I didn't notice this until I took the pictures while wearing the dress, but the center front looks a little bit like a skeleton's ribcage and I think that looks a little weird going down my sternum. But I am probably the only person who will have that thought. At any rate, I actually took a lot of care to get that center seam perfect--hand basting, even--so I'll get over it.
I lined the bodice and midriff. To get a neat finish on the bodice/midriff lining seam, I sandwiched the bodice between the midriff and midriff lining and sewed them all at once. In considered doing a neat finish on the lower edge of the midriff, but decided this would probably be disposable fashion and just used the serger to finish it off instead. This looks nicer than I expected, so that turned out all right.
For the midriff, I wanted to use the border print so I ignored the pattern pieces and just cut it out the width of the print (which is about twice as wide as the original midriff piece). Instead of side seams, I did only a back seam, shaping it there. If you look closely at the back, you can see that despite my hand basting there the midriff doesn't line up perfectly, but oh well.
The entire time I was sewing this, I was skeptical. I didn't think it would look good on me and would be totally stumpifying and figured I'd end up hemming it shorter. Once I finished, though, wow! I love it! A long dress feels soooo glamourous. I wore it two days in a row since I was seeing different people on those days. Heh. Once it's not blazing, searing hot, I'm sure it will be my go-to weekend piece. I don't know how people wear maxi dresses in the heat.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Hear my recorded interview!
5 hours ago