Well lovelies, after many teaser posts and pictures, I’ve finally got it together and am ready to unveil my first DIY maxi dress project. For starters, my FSIL and I pinned this maxi dress on Pinterest as our inspiration and modified these instructions to make our dresses.
I must apologize up front, for not taking a lot of step-by-step pictures. Sorry! I was intimidated by the project, the lack of pattern and without my mom there for guidance (she’s an incredible sewer and quilter). DIY ultimate FAIL, I know! Next time, I promise…this was just a little intense.
- Favorite tank top :: 1 inexpensive tank top. Keep in mind that you’ll only use the top portion of the tank top so what it looks like on the bottom and the length doesn’t really matter. We purchased ours from Target for under $8.
- Fabric :: Enough fabric to wrap around yourself twice about 2-3 yards. We used a cotton fabric from JoAnn’s.
- Thread :: Thread to match the fabric for our dress. You don’t need coordinating thread for your tank top.
- Elastic :: 1/4 inch wide white elastic
- Additional Materials :: Safety pins, straight pins, large/extra large safety pins, scissors, measuring tape, iron and sewing machine (duh!)
- Wash your tank and fabric :: It’s always best to wash and dry your fabric before you start any project.
- Cut your tank top :: Try on your tank top, mark a line and add about 1/2-1 inch below for seam allowance. Take off the tank top and cut along this line. For the maxi look, I marked my cut line just above my belly button.
- Cut the skirt :: Wrap the fabric for the skirt 1 and a 1/2 times around your waist where you want the skirt part of your dress to start. Cut off the remaining fabric.
- Sewing the skirt :: Fold the skirt fabric in half with right sides facing each other, pin the edges and sew up the long side. Once complete, you’ll be left with a big “tube”.
- Creating a waistband :: With the fabric still with the wrong sides facing out, fold down the top edge of the skirt about 1/2 inch and pin along the way to create a tunnel for the elastic. Be sure that you leave about a 2-3 inch opening where you don’t pin so that you can work your elastic through the waistband after sewing. Now sew along the edge of your fold to create the tunnel all the way around your skirt. Remember again to leave a 2-3 inch opening that you don’t sew at this point.
- Cinching it up :: Place the large safety pin on one end of your elastic. Slowly begin to weave the safety pin into the tunnel you created at the top of your skirt. Keep in mind that you don’t want to lose your elastic inside the tunnel, so be sure to hold on to the end of your elastic as you make your way around your skirt. Once you’ve got the elastic through the entire tunnel, use safety pins to hold the elastic in place on at both openings. Now, turn the skirt right sides out and put the skirt on, and hold up to where you want it to start. Remove one of the safety pins and begin gently pulling the elastic to cinch the waistline to your designed fit. Note that you’ll need to make sure you leave enough room to get the skirt on and off over your head. Once you have your desired waistline created, pin the two sides of elastic together with a safety pin and take the skirt off. Turn the fabric so that the right sides are facing inward. Sew the elastic together at the point where you pinned and then cut any of the remaining elastic. Now you’ll want to sew close the entry way you left open to feed your elastic through.
- Adding the tank top :: Now you are ready to add your tank top to the skirt. With your skirt fabric still facing wrong sides out, slide your tank top in to the top hole of your skirt. Make sure your tank top is right sides out, and slide in so that the straps go in first. Line up the back of the tank top with the long side seam of your skirt. In other words, the long side seam that you created will be running down the back of your dress. Using your straight pins, begin to pin the cut edge of your tank top to your skirt just at the top of the waistband you created with the elastic. Start pinning at the back seam and back of your tank top, divide skirt edge and tank top edge into four equal parts, and pin to get equal distribution of gathers and for ease of sewing. Then sew the bottom of your tank top and top of your skirt (where you just pinned).
- Ready to hem :: You are so close to being finished! Now you’ll want to turn your dress right sides out and try it on. With the help of another person, hem your dress to the desired length using straight pins. Take off your dress, turn your fabric wrong sides together and sew your hemline. Trim any excess fabric.
- Belt it up :: The last step of your maxi dress is to make a coordinating belt using the extra fabric. Measure your fabric around your waist where the skirt and tank top meet and cut to the desired length. Determine the width of your belt, double this amount and cut off any remaining fabric. Pin right sides together along the long edge and one of the short edges and sew. Turn the fabric right side out and gently fold the raw edge of the fabric on the remaining open end inward, pin and sew. AND YOU’RE DONE! One thing to note, hang your dress by folding it over a hanger instead of hanging by the straps, which will cause the tank top to stretch.