While searching for maxi dress to make for the summer I came across this BCBG Max Azria maxi dress. I like dresses that cinch at the waist so I decided to give it a try.
What you’ll need:
2 yards main fabric (suggestion: silk, cotton voile, rayon, polyester blend, etc. avoid cotton because it won’t have the proper flow)
2 yards accent fabric (suggestion: same as above, but a different texture for added dimension)
2 inch elastic
Note: I’m 5′ 6″ and wound up cutting about an extra 12″ from the bottom once I finished my dress. The extra fabric can allow you the hem the dress for wearing heels as opposed to flat shoes. When working with elastic in this way the rule of thumb is 1.5x to 2x your waist (or wherever the elastic will rest) measurement. I usually use whatever length the fabric comes in, in order to keep cost down. Also, for this particular dress you’ll be adding width with the accent fabric.
For your accent fabric leave it folded the way it came off the bolt. Then fold the bottom up twice. This makes the next step easier and conserves fabric.
Your accent down the front will be 4 inches so you want to double that to 8 inches. With 1/2 inch seam allowances that makes 9 inches total.
Next, lay out your main fabric and cut it along the folded edge. With right sides together, sew your pieces together as shown. Option: you can go ahead and attach your elastic here before you sew the two ends together forming a tube. Just skip ahead a few steps to where I demonstrate attaching the elastic, then come back to this point and continue on. I chose to go ahead and sew the ends together using my machine’s longest stitch to form a tube. Make sure you have a seam ripper handy if you choose to do it this way. You can also pin it to hold it in place.
Now that you have a tube, lay you fabric together so that the accent fabric is in the middle. Pin the top together lining up the accent fabric. This will make it easier to cut while keeping everything lined up and in place. Fold it in half with the accent fabric to the right. Get a comfortably fitting shirt and mark where your waist falls. Doesn’t matter if it’s stretchy or not (though I wouldn’t recommend a button up). Line it up against the edge leaving a little room at the top for making a casing for your drawstrings and cut following the curve of the sleeve. Then cut a slight curve for the neck line. Open your fabric a hem your sleeves (the round curves on the left and right).
To make your drawstrings, get the accent fabric still folded from before and cut the same as before. This time your measurements will be however wide you want your drawstrings x2 plus 1 to allow for seam allowances. I chose to do 1 inch drawstrings. Depending on the type of fabric you use it may be better to make bigger drawstrings so that turning them isn’t difficult. Fold longways and sew along all three open edges leaving an opening for turning. Tip: leave your opening towards the end but not directly on the short edges.
To make the casing for your drawstring, fold over about 1/4 inch. Here I folded over another inch. My drawstring fabric is thin so I didn’t need as much room. You made need more or less. Ironing helps with hems but be careful to iron according to the material you use.
String your drawstrings through the casing you just made. Using a safety pin, attach it to one end of your drawstring. Starting on the left pull your drawstring through using the safety pin. Once you finish one side, flip your garment and pull the drawstring through again. Repeat for the other drawstring.
Now that you’ve done your drawstrings, try on your dress. Adjust your straps according to how you intend to wear them (suggestions below). Tie a loose knot with each set of drawstring to keep them even while you adjust your garment. Once satisfied, mark your waist using a pin or marking utensil.
Cut your elastic 1-2 inches shorter than your waist measurement. Fold it in half and mark the middle. This is where your seam ripper comes in. Undo your seam and lay out your garment. Mark the middle. Line up the ends of your elastic to where your waist falls and match the center points on your elastic and your garment. As you sew on either side of your elastic, stretch your it as you go. When the elastic falls back it ruffles your fabric. Confused? Watch this video to help. Sew your garment closed matching your elastic and hem your dress.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask! Once you make your dress please show me either by tagging me on Instagram and Twitter or share it to my Facebook page. All the links are listed below!
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