Maxi dresses! You don't have to shave. You look hot. You keep cool. You can wear the comfiest shoes and nobody knows. You can finally wear your jean jacket with something. Maxi dresses, Sock Buns, and my new glasses are my latest obsessions.
*screeching vinyl sound*
Should come with warning message: Only attempt this if you are short.
Yep. I been shoppin' around and I ain't seen no maxi dresses for tall ladies that ain't also for old ladies.
So here comes the first Living In A Green Room DIY Project:
1. Buy a fabric you like. Pick something in Jersey (T-Shirt Material) or another stretchy fabric and make your life easier. If it stretches, it's gonna fit better. If you know how to sew, pick whatever you like and stop reading this. This tutorial is for novices. If you pick a material that doesn't stretch, you will need to put in a sipper and I refuse to try and explain that via blog. Don't pick anything too heavy (you are hoisting around a ton of fabric in this sucker plus heavy fabrics are warm and this is summer.) I needed two yards to make my dress and I had some left over, so you can aim for that amount unless you want to add complicated bits to your dress.
2. Wash the fabric (shrinkage will break your heart after all your sewing.) Iron if necessary.
3. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise with the good sides out. This might need some floor space since if yours is like mine, it was 2 yards long. Smooth out all the wrinkles so the two sides are flat.
4. Take a tank top that has a shape and size that you like. Lay it down at the "top" (Pick a top and stick with it. If your material has a nap or direction to it, then the top will be obvious.) I traced around the shape of the tank top with white chalk pencil. I made my tracing line roomy, so there was less chance of it being too snug. Extend the sides of the tank top with a ruler or by eye down to the bottom of the fabric. If you would like a flared and flowy maxi dress, gradually and smoothly widen the skirt as you draw down. If you would like it tight (as drawn), just extend the tank top sides straight down. Do not taper too much or walking in the dress will be difficult. I drew a second line 1" out from the dress outline for seam allowance (the material that gets eaten up inside the seams when you sew them together).
5. For the neck I drew just enough of a hole that I could fit my head through when I tried it on so that I could decide the neckline later.
6. Pin the two sides (front and back) together as they lie on the floor. Keep the pins on the part of the fabric that is the dress, not the part you are cutting away. Pin lots. Cut along the seam allowance (bigger) line.
7. Take the pinned together cut-out pieces to your sewing machine. I sewed my dress with French Seams so the two good sides should be pinned facing outward. In a matching colour of thread, sew 1/2" from the edge along the tops of the shoulders and the sides of the dress. Leave the arm holes, neck hole and bottom of the dress open.
8. Remove the pins and try it on. If it's too tight you can use some of the extra material in the seams to expand it. If it is too loose, take it off, pin closer in the baggy areas and re-sew those sections.
9. You should now have a dress that fits you. The seams should look wrong and like they are on the outside of the dress. Take this to the iron and iron the seams so they are open. Trim the seam material down to 1/4" with your scissors. Now flip the dress so the wrong side of the fabric is facing out. Along each seam you should sew another seam that is 1/2" in from the edge. This may seem confusing so I am showing you a picture on the left. When this is done you should be able to flip your dress to the right side and see seams with nothing sticking out of them. They should be finished on the inside and on the outside. If stuff is poking through on the good side, it means you didn't trim the seams enough.
10. Try on the dress again and decide on the neckline. I scooped out a slight curve on the back of the neck and a V at the front. Decide where the point of the V should be while wearing your dress so you don't make it too scandalous. (Unless you are going for scandalous, obviously.) Also make sure that you have enough armhole space that your arms can move easily. Once you have cut away the armholes and neck, flip the dress inside out.
11. To finish the neck and arms I folded over the edges twice towards the inside of the dress and sewed them down.
12. Try on the dress again and decide what a good length would be. Mark the length in two places with chalk pencil then when you have taken it off, use those two markings as guidelines for your hemline. I picked a place between the two markings (both were slightly different heights) and drew a line straight across with a ruler. I had about 6 inches remaining below my hemline, so folded that material in half twice so that the hem is a 3" height with 6" of fabric inside in case the dress shrinks for some reason. I sewed this hem up by machine but you can also use a hand stitch to avoid having a stitch line at the bottom.
Done! Hooray! Good luck on your own dress if you attempt it. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I will do my best to troubleshoot for you.
P.S. I don't want flack about the sock bun thing. Teenage girls on Youtube know more about hair than I ever will. I just accept the magic and roll with it. And now, so can you.
Background for this post comes from Eduard_Orbitron.