Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Maxi Dress - Simplicity 2362


My first make for 2014. I kinda made most of it last week, which was also last year, but I didn't get around to finishing it until yesterday.

I live in maxi dresses in summer. There's something really nice about putting on a long, flowy dress with straps. You can wear it to the beach, picnics, barbecues and even the pub!

I was eyeing off Amy's top she made from this pattern because it would fit my taste and wardrobe so perfectly. I despaired a little when I found it was out of print until I raided my pattern stash and realised I already owned it. Huzzah!


This pattern is all about the pleats. There's pleats on the bust pieces, pleats shaping underneath the bust and pleats in the back too. I love me some pleats!

The pattern has you fold and baste these centre bust pleats and it's the first thing you sew together in the construction of the dress. It took me two goes to get them perfectly matched but it was worth it. And really that's the hardest bit of the dress which is a major win in my book.



The pattern does call for long pockets that are much like the pockets on Simplicity 2591. I'm not sure if this is a thing or not but I just don't understand pockets in a maxi dress. Fair enough for a shorter dress, I love them. But it really threw me to see pockets, much less these type of pockets, on a maxi. No thanks. So I got rid of them.



Because the voile I had chosen was a little sheer I decided to line it in a lightweight cotton. I spent a long time thinking about how I was going to line something with pleats though. I really wanted the lining to be folded with the regular fabric so the pleats would have a bit more body and hold properly but I really didn't want to treat the fabric and lining as one particularly when sewing the front piece to the side pieces because it could easily become bedsheet-ish. I tried to outsmart the pattern I really did but I couldn't think of a way not to sew the two fabrics together. So I did.

The pattern called for a dress that just dropped to the floor but I much prefer having a ruffle along the bottom. My favourite RTW maxi has the same kind of ruffle along the bottom and although I'm not one for ruffles I have discovered that this is their place in my wardrobe - on the bottom of my maxi dresses. So I ended up sewing the ruffle to the fabric and lining together in a french seam to keep it all enclosed while the rest of the seams are sewn regularly with overlocked edges.

My only gripe with this pattern is the straps. I wasn't sure when I read the instructions that the straps were going to work out but I thought I would put my trust in Simplicity. Wrong.

Look at that twisted mess!


The pattern piece asks you to cut the fabric on the bias, fold it in half lengthwise, sew along the edge, turn it right side out and sew it on to your dress. How this is meant to produce a perfectly flat and straight strap is beyond me??? Anyone on Simplicity's side here?

So if you happen to make this don't cut the strap on the bias unless you want a wiggly mess.

Apart from that one gripe I'm really pleased with this pattern. I have a deep red wine rayon voile to use for my next version. The fabric has this ridiculously delicious drape to it - I can't wait to wear it!

Also after putting this dress on I realised that there was a way to sew it all up without having to treat the fabric and lining as one. If I just ignored the order of sewing I could have sewn the front skirt piece to the back two skirt side pieces for both the fabric and the lining. Then I could treat them as two single panels I could line up and pleat. So that's what I'll be doing for my next one.


Maxi Dresses Ahoy!

28 comments:

  1. Yaay this is so cool. Love the skirt ruffle and the pleats. Totally with you om the pockets and straps. I cut my straps on the straight grain so they wouldn't stretch out. Can't wait to see your next version!

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    1. Yeah I really should have listened to my instinct on the straps.
      Oh I can't wait to see my next version either - I love this pattern.
      Thanks again for the inspiration!

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  2. I *love* the bust pleats! So lovely! Once it stops being a snowy blizzard round here, I might have to start on my summer sewing...

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    1. Yeah the bust pleats are quite flattering especially for someone a little lacking in that area such as myself!

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  3. Oh, this is gorgeous! Maxis are a distant dream here in the UK as I listen to the wind and rain outside... I wonder if the bias for the straps was because Simplicity was aiming for roleaux straps? Only a guess though!

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    1. Roleaux straps are new to me - so maybe?
      Anyhow the next version will most certainly have straight straps.
      I'll get it right on the version with the nice, expensive fabric!

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  4. Lovely dress. You are right that straps, functional ones that is, should be cut on the straight grain. The only reason to cut them on the bias is to have the skinniest tube possible, usually as a decorative detail.

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    1. Yeah I'm not abut the decorative detail, all about the functionality.
      Live and learn!

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  5. Looks superbly cool! Lovely print, can see why you'd want a few more of these to follow.

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    1. Oh yeah! This may become my TNT Summer pattern.

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  6. Lovely dress! It really suits you.

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    1. Thanks, easy to make easy to wear. Win win really.

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    1. Thanks, I really like how large the feathers are on the print. Very summery looking.
      Such a comfy dress to wear as well.

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  8. Very pretty dress and perfect for our hot/humid summers!

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    1. Thanks it's turning out to be a great dress for the heat!

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  9. Haha, love the pattern stash! You never know what you'll find in there :) The dress details are gorgeous and you totally nailed it with the ruffle :D

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    1. Yeah it's a nice surprise to go through my patterns sometimes!

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  10. Such a great summer dress, especially for those hot days we've been having. Reminds me I need to fix the straps on my maxi in the mending pile...

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    1. Ahh the mending pile. I'll have to send this dress to the mending pile if only I could stop wearing it!

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  11. Oh your pleat matching on the front bodice is perfection! I too love a good ruffle... and the one you've added at the hem is really gorgeous. Totally loving this dress :)

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    1. Thanks lovely! So simple, so wearable, a real winner.

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  12. I just nominated you for a Liebster award. Information is on my blog: http://kaitlynssimplyvintage.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/liebster-award.html

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  13. Lovely dress, congratulations!
    How is the wedding dress project going?

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    1. Aww thanks.
      The wedding dress is going well now!
      I'll be doing a post on it in the next couple of weeks - so much to say!

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  14. I love the print you chose. Where did you buy it?

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    1. It's from Spotlight - an Australian craft and fabric store. Not sure they'd have it in stock anymore seeing as I bought it on a sale table.

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