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Maxi Dress Self Drafted Pattern is a Winner

Make a Garment a Month – My December Challenge

I decided I’d join in on the Make a Garment a Month Challenge for a little extra fun.  For December I challenged myself to…

Draft a Maxi Dress pattern from a RTW Garment

The RTW (Ready to Wear) I based my pattern from is just a simple maxi dress (Crossroads Brand) and it’s nothing flash but OMG it’s so darn comfortable to wear and it’s one of my favourite go to garments for cool casual comfort for around the house and perfect for our hot summers.   Below is a pic of the RTW maxi dress next to the fabric I chose to make my first maxi dress.

Maxi Dress RTW and Fabric choice for self drafted maxi dress

My RTW maxi dress wasn’t the perfect maxi dress as it had things about it that I really didn’t like including the bust cross over section which never sat right and gapped too much and had to have a tacked for modesty and the ties under the bust… I think it was probably designed with a B cup in mind and not my D cup.  Also when you have a bit of a tummy that has bulge above the waistline like mine does the ties under the bust really didn’t help hide things and actually accentuated my upper tummy bulge which made me feel a little self conscious… hence the reason why I mainly only ever wore the dress around the house.

So my plan was to take the basic concept of the pattern from my RTW and with the knowledge I have about drafting patterns trace off a pattern from the RTW and then made the alterations necessary to create my dream maxi dress….

Here’s my Make a Garment a Month Challenge completed

And the best thing of all is it’s exactly what I wanted in a maxi dress :)

Maxi Dress No 1 with Sun Glasses

What I wanted in the bodice of my maxi dress

I decided for the bodice I wanted it fully lined and I didn’t want to have to add any facings or binding, I also didn’t want to have to do any hand no hand stitching… not a huge fan of it at all and will try and do just about anything I can to get out of it.

So with my pattern drafted and with the sewing plan I came up with I only needed to use my overlocker (serger) so this was going to be a super quick and easy maxi dress to sew… Perfect!  The bodice only comprises of 1 back piece cut on the fold and 1 front pattern piece cut on the straight of grain for the outer fabric and the lining, I just needed to cut the same again for the lining.  To make life even a little easier and because I had enough fabric I just used the fashion fabric as the lining.  Here’s what the pattern pieces look like when they’re pinned together.

maxi dress bodice pattern pieces cut out to test fit

Would you like to know how to add a self lining to a bodice without any hand stitching?

If you do let me know as I’d be more than happy to do a blog post to show you how.  It’s so quick and easy and saves a lot of time having add facings or binding to the neckline and sleeves.   Here’s a close up of what the bodice section is completed with the lining sewn in and ready to be added to the skirt.  I didn’t take a pic of my 1st maxi dress at this stage but here’s a progress pic of the 3rd one I made.

Maxi Dress fully lined bodice front pieces completed

Sometimes you just can’t stop at one..

After making my first maxi dress and loving the result and the fit I thought why stop at one maxi dress when I’ve got some fabric in my stash that I think would be perfect for my pattern and ideal to wear to Bali for our Christmas vacation… so two more maxi dresses were added to my collection.

Finally I was able to get my hubby to take some pics for me… here’s the results of our fun little fashion shoot.  I kinda felt like a real model running in and out of my dressing room doing a quick change while we still had enough lighting outside… hey just call me “Elle” hahahaha

Maxi Dress No 1

Here’s a few fun pics of my first maxi dress

Where we live we only have a wire fence separating our duplex from the neighbours next door… luckily they’re a great bunch of guys and are the perfect neighbours… here’s what happened just after we started the photo shoot and while I was playing super model hahaha

“Oh NO Grant… the boys next door have just busted us doing the photo shoot”

Maxi Dress No 1 busted by neighbour

Grant of course didn’t stop taking pics of me laughing with the neighbours… he just kept on laughing at me along with the boys and clicking away at the camera.  Luckily the boys told me to just keep going as I looked great… so I thought what the heck let’s just do this and get the photo shoot underway or I’ll never get any pics done.

Maxi Dress No 1 laughing at neighbour

Maxi Dress No 1 having a belly laugh

Maxi Dress No 1 Back View

Maxi Dress No 1 in full view

“Ok.. that’s a wrap… I’ll go and get changed into my next dress.. stop clicking Grant!!!”

Maxi Dress No 1 going into laughter

Maxi Dress No 2

Thankfully when I came back out for the next photo session the boys had gone inside and I could do this modelling thing properly… well I tried to but as you’ll see the flies decided they to wanted in on the action.

Plus Size Maxi Dress No 2

Next up is a little fly swatting action that I didn’t realise Grant was capturing hahaha…. We have soooo many darn flies here and they almost drive me crazy especially when it’s stinking hot!

Doing a little fly swatting in my maxi dress

“Ping off flies… I’m trying to work here… I’m in the middle of my fashion shoot”

Fly swatting in action wearing maxi dress

“Oh NO you didn’t take pics of me fly swatten did you?”

Oh you didn't take pics of me fly swatten did you

“Grant I’m going to get you for this one”

I'm going to get you for that one... you wait!

As you can tell we tend to have a lot of fun when it comes time to taking pics of the clothes I make… I don’t think I could find a better photographer to do my photo sessions with.  I do have a remote and a tripod but it’s just no where near the same amount of fun when I can have my hubby take my pics for me.

 Maxi Dress No 3

This one is a little different as the stretch in the knit fabric went against the stripes in the fabric so I decided to have ago at going against the main stretch and thankfully I still got a great result.  After I finished making the dress and before hemming I let the dress hang for a couple of days to get as much of the hemline drop as possible then true up the hemline… I haven’t hemmed this dress yet and might not either… will see how it goes.  After all it’s a stretch knit and doesn’t really even need it.  I’ve never not hemmed something before so I’ll see how I go with it as it is.

Plus Size Maxi Dress No 3

“Oh NO… here we go again with those bloody flies!”

Oh no here come the bloody flies again

I mean it Grant... no more ok

“Finally no darn flies… now we can get back to business… one last pic please Grant”

Maxi dress no 3 close up

So there you go… that’s my maxi dress and December Challenge completed, Maxi Dress No 3 is also the last garment to be made for 2013.  Something tells me this won’t be the last time I use this pattern and there’ll be a few more variations of this dress added to my wardrobe.

Christmas Holidays

We’re heading off to Bali on 22nd of December for 2 weeks staying in a beautiful 1 bedroom pool villa.  We’ll be enjoying daily massages.. Grant said it’s a must so who am I to argue with that… so it got the OK from me.  There’ll be fabulous food enjoyed on a daily basis, a little shopping, a bit of sightseeing, and who knows what else we’ll get up to while we’re there.  We’ve made no plans for this trip and we’ll just be taking each day as it comes.  This vacation is all about chilling out and relaxing and just enjoying ourselves.

What ever you’re doing over the Christmas holiday season I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to sharing my sewing journey with you in 2014.

Thank you

I’d love to say thank you so much for supporting and encouraging me throughout 2013 to continue to share my sewing journey with you and for the wonderful comments you leave for me to read and enjoy.

PS… Don’t forget to let me know if you’d like to know how I did the self lined bodice with no hand sewing as I’d be more than happy to share how I did it.



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  1. Pauline says

    Nothing like the flies on a hot summers day! These dresses look absolutely wonderful on you. The bodice fits perfectly and the line of the skirt skims your body so well. I am very similar in shape to you so you have given me inspiration to try my own variation. Can I also say, without sounding strange, that the cut of the bodice makes your bust appear youthful. Merry Christmas and enjoy your holiday.

    • says

      You are so right about those flies Pauline… they drive me crazy at times! I’m so pleased with the fit of this dress and how it skims and doesn’t cling to the bits you really don’t want it to LOL. So glad my dresses have helped inspire you to make some variations as well. And no you don’t sound strange about the bust bit… as now that I have another look I know what you mean and I hadn’t really noticed that before but I can see it now. Thank you for the lovely compliment. Merry Christmas to you too :)

  2. says

    Fabulous dresses Chris! They look amazing on you. Getting that perfect fit makes all the difference, and it’s something I really struggle with.

    I would love to see a lined bodice tutorial please. And when you set up your independent pattern company and release this one, I’ll be the first to buy it! It is the perfect dress for holidays, so enjoy Bali, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year. I look forward to reading more of your sewing adventures in 2014

    • says

      Getting a great fit really does make so much difference Fiona. It can be such a struggle at times. I’ll definitely do a tutorial in the new year as it would be fun to do and I’d love to share it with you. You never know one day I may end up making patterns to sell… not sure when that would be though and when/if I do my patterns would definitely be designed with fuller figures in mind and would be easy sewing projects as that’s the kind of sewing project I love to do along with the odd occasional intricate one thrown in. And I sure do know what it’s like sewing for a fuller figure is definitely something I know a lot about hahaha

      Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and an awesome new year and I’m looking forward to sharing our sewing adventures together in 2014.

  3. says

    Found you through the MAGAM challenge — all 3 of these are great! So pretty and comfy looking, too.

    I’d also love to see that tutorial in the new year! Have a wonderful holiday in Bali, lucky you.

    • says

      Great to meet you and thank you for the lovely compliment. They really are comfy and I can’t wait to wear them in Bali… I’ve only worn them so far for the photos as I wanted to keep for our holiday as it’s aways nice to wear something new. I’ll definitely share how I did the bodice as it’s a great little technique to use. Hope you have a wonderful Xmas too :)

  4. says

    Oh, I had forgotten how sticky the flies are up north :). The dresses are all lovely Chris – it’s nice to have a wardrobe of simple dresses, one for every day of the week, so you don’t have to think what to put on. The modified version works nicely – I agree, if you are larger, you have to have a no gape solution. Interested in how you do the no hand sewing – although I don’t mind hand sewing I have to admit.

    • says

      They sure are sticky little suckers and they’re so slow, I think they must suffer with heat exhaustion hahaha. Oh good idea about one for every day of the week, I might just have to make 4 more. There’s nothing worse than wearing a dress or a top that you continually have to check that everything is tucked in where it should be LOL. I’m actually looking forward to doing a little tutorial as it’s something new to do in 2014 :)

  5. says

    Great maxi’s and you have designed the perfect dress. Even though I am petite agree completely that the no gap is necessary. Those flies are a nuisance, we usually get covered in them whilst walking our dog.

    • says

      Thanks Sharon, it’s definitely the perfect dress for our hot summers and I’m so pleased with the fit and not having to worry about any gapping. The flies really are a nuisance and I can totally relate to what it’s like walking a day… we get covered in them when we walk our dog unless we spray ourselves with inspect repellant before we head out.

    • says

      You’re welcome Kathy and the black and white one is my favourite too. I’m so glad I’ve helped to inspire you to make a maxi dress as they really are great summer dresses and so comfortable to wear. I hope you enjoy sewing yours as much as I did mine :)

  6. says

    Wonderful job! The dresses look beautiful on you. I would love to know how you did the bodice – so “yes, please” to the tutorial! Have a great trip!

  7. says

    Oh Chris! Lovely dresses indeed. I love the first and last ones, although they all are fabulous. Pretty sure I know how to do the full lining – no handstitching, but a refresher is always welcome. Your holidays should lovely and I’m a wee bit jealous. Post from Bali if you get a chance. Enjoy and happy holidays. Off to add you to my reader. Oh and email me please I believe I owe you a package, but had no way to get in touch. g

    • says

      Thank you and happy to report we had a fabulous holiday, unfortunately the internet wasn’t very reliable so didn’t get to hop online much so no posts from Bali. You’ve got me curious and I’ll send you an email… I’ve since set up a contact page on my site for times like these LOL

  8. leonie says

    These are all fabulous Chris!! You’ll just live in these all summer. I love all of them, but my favourite is maxi no.2!!

    • says

      Hahaha so true Judith… next time I’ll remember to put on a little aeroguard LOL. I totally spoiled myself with massages and spa treatments and feel like a new woman. I have so many blog to catch up on since we’ve been away so I’ll definitely have to drop by yours to see what you’ve been getting up to outside your comfort zone :)

    • says

      Fortunately we were away in Bali on our xmas vacation and the only mess we had to clean up when we got home was the broken branches and around the yard. The house was all in tact :)

  9. says

    Don’t know why I am missing your posts. I just checked in on you to find out that you have posted these lovely maxi dresses and I missed it. I will have to check my reader closely.

    Gorgeous dresses Chris. Great job.

    • says

      It’s so easy to do BeaJay as there’s so many great blogs and it’s so hard to keep up with them all… if only we had more hours in the day for sewing and blogging. Thanks for dropping by and for the lovely compliments too :)

  10. says

    Lovely dresses Chris! I must admit number 2 is my favourite :)
    Hope you had a wonderful time in Bali. Look forward to following you ( yes you are new to me, I found you via someone who left a comment on my blog)- have a lovely time sewing beautiful things! Kate :)

    • says

      Hi Kate, it’s lovely to meet you and thank you for dropping by. No 2 is also my favourite and it’s the one I’ve worn the most with No 1 coming in 2nd place. No 1 is more the one I’ve been wearing around the house and No 2 for going out shopping and to dinner etc. I sure did have a wonderful time in Bali and now I’m finding it hard to settle back down and get back into a routine LOL. I’ll be sure to drop by and visit you blog as well :)

  11. says

    I love your maxi dresses! They are all gorgeous, but I like the first one the best- that print is divine! I have never made a maxi, but I keep telling myself this is the year!

    • says

      Thanks Shannon, the first dress is my hubby’s favourite dress too as he really likes the print in this fabric as well. I must warn you that once you sew one maxi dress you might not be able to stop as they’re a great summer wardrobe staple and so comfortable to wear :)

  12. Diane says

    Loved your dresses!!! They would work well in here in Florida too!!! I would also like to know how to do the lined bodices. Thanks. Diane

    • says

      Thank you Diane! I’m sure they would work well in Florida for you too :) Things have been a little crazy around here lately and I haven’t got around to sharing how I did the lined bodices. It’s on my to do list though.

Comments are welcome :)