Convertible Maxi Dress Tutorial

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On lazy summer weekends when  I haven’t gotten around to shaving my legs and just don’t feel in the mood to whip out the razor, I like to reach for my maxi dresses instead (sexy, I know). Yesterday, I pulled out a dress I made a few years ago when I was going to London for the summer and wanted something that was versatile and could travel well. There are so many different ways you can wear it depending on how creative you want to be with the tying. Here are a few ways I tried it yesterday before my husband got tired of taking pictures:

I love this dress, and it was so easy to make, so I thought I’d share how I made it on my blog.

Materials:

4.5-5 yards lightweight knit (I used silk jersey for mine)

thread

1/2″ wide elastic (length= waist measurement minus 1/2″)

Tools 

sewing machine

scissors or rotary cutter and mat

serger (optional)

Step 1

The skirt is a simple A-line with slight gathering at the center front for some added interest. I cut one panel for the front and two for the back, but it would be simpler to just have a front and back. I’ve made a handy-dandy diagram for you:

For each panel, fold about a yard and a half of fabric in half along the grain.  Measure your waist and divide by four. Add one half inch to that measurement. That will be the top measurement to the front panel. The length of the panel should be the length of the waist to the floor plus a half inch. The half inch is for the seam allowance, so the skirt will end up being floor length (my skirt ended up being a bit shorter than I intended because I didn’t do this. Oh well.). For the bottom measurement, I decided to make the panel as wide as the fabric I had (mine’s about 40″ wide).

 

 

Step 2:

Sew the front and back panels together along the sides. I used a serger for this, but you can also use a regular sewing machine.

Step 3:

Sew a six-inch gathering stitch in the center of the front panel at the waist. Pull the threads to gather. Baste over the gathers to secure. This step is completely optional. I just added the gathering for some extra pizzazz.

Step 4:

For the straps, cut out two strips of fabric that are eight to ten inches wide (depending on how busty you are and how much coverage you want) and nine to ten feet long.

Step 5:

Position the two straps on the center front of the skirt along the waist with the right side of the straps against the right side of the skirt, overlapping the straps by one inch. Stitch the straps down.

Step 6:

Cut out a two-inch wide strip of fabric the length of your waist measurement plus one inch. With the right sides together, pin the strip around the waist of the skirt. starting at the center front. Sew. This is the waistband.

Step 7:

Fold the waistband over and sew to create a tube for the elastic to fit in. Leave the last inch open. Insert the elastic into the waistband. Overlap the ends of the elastic and sew to secure. Sew the waistband closed. And you’re done!

Just experiment, and you’ll figure out lots of different ways to tie it. If you decide to make this dress, I’d love to see the  ways you’ve worn it. Have fun!

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One response »

  1. Super cute! Can’t wait to make this for my trip to Florida! Could you possibly add some instructions on different ways to tie/secure the straps? Thanks!

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