Sewing

The Maxi Dress is Back

In the midst of work and responsibilities this week, I’ve found a bit of time to jump back into the maxi dress, and I’ve managed to cut out most of the bodice pieces. Based on my muslin fitting, the top bodice pieces are a size 8, and the waist band was graded from a size 8 at the top to a size 10 at the bottom. I’ve never graded anything before, but this step was as simple as drawing a straight line from the top corner of size 8 to the bottom corner of size 10. Easy peasy.

From the photo above, you probably noticed that a few pieces are cut from muslin. The pattern calls for both a lining and an underlining. I’m going to try making my underlining from muslin. I’ve never underlined anything before, so I’m not sure what the proper fabric is for underlining my cotton/silk blend fashion fabric. From Gertie’s online course, I know muslin can be used as an underlining, and since it’s cheap, I figure I can try it here without worry.

The most time consuming so far has been planning the cutting layout and aligning all of the pieces on grain. When making my simple toile from the bodice lining pieces, I noticed that the grain line for the top bodice pieces ran parallel to the neckline, but I hadn’t realized the actual waist and dress pieces were cut on the bias since the waist lining’s grain line, the piece I’d cut for the muslin, ran vertically. When I laid everything out to begin cutting, it wasn’t as easy as I expected since the dress pieces take up quite a bit of room on the bias. Fortunately, I was able to cut my bodice pieces at the edges and corners – in the spaces around the dress pieces. I still have a couple pieces left to cut because they need to be cut from fabric really close to the dress pieces. I know there’s enough fabric for all of the final pieces, but I want to take my time and not make any mistakes.

Cutting on the bias makes me a bit nervous. To ensure everything’s on grain, I’ve been measuring what feels like fifteen times before beginning to cut.

When I’d originally envisioned this dress in this fabric, I’d imagined the brush strokes of color going straight down. I now know that the brush strokes will end up diagonal and that there will be a chevron effect at the side seams from the meeting of the front and back. I’ve sketched it out in the figure below.

What do you think? I’m perfectly happy with it, but I will admit that I considered other alternatives such as adding a seam to the front and back center so that I can have the chevron effect there, too, or cutting the back identically to the front so that the diagonal continues through the side seam. Since I’m still such a novice sewer, since this fabric is precious to me, and since I really am perfectly happy with the way that the dress will turn out as is, I plan to continue on following the pattern. But, if you have anything to share from your own sewing experiences, I would greatly appreciate hearing it.

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11 thoughts on “The Maxi Dress is Back

  1. With the shape of the skirt in that pattern, you should be able to cut the skirt along the straight grain, without pattern alteration. Try a muslin with fold at center front and selvage at center back, and test how it fits and falls.

    1. I’ll have to try that for my next version of this dress as I finished cutting the fabric according to the pattern, grain lines and all, last night. I’ll be more confident about changing things up next time anyway. By then I hope to have a better understanding of what I gain from cutting on the bias. Before cutting, I did hold up the fabric to make sure that I liked the diagonal, and I realized that I really did. It’s a bit more fun this way!

  2. I too like the design the way you’ve drawn it and you did the right thing cutting on the bias. It will look stunning!! That fabric is so beautiful – ‘an artist’s palette’. I always do the same when it comes to fabric which is precious – always taking time to make sure I’ve laid the patterns and grain lines correctly. Can’t wait to see the dress – oh, but don’t rush….

    1. Thanks! The dress is turning out very nicely. I hope to have it finished soon! It was time consuming to cut, but the basic construction is straight forward. Other than all of the hand stitching that I’ve chosen to do to make it look perfectly just so…

    1. I hope to have the dress done soon, especially since I’m starting the Lonsdale Sew-Along. I am very excited about it. I love the fabric so much.

      As for the underlining, it’s part of the pattern. It’s what supports all of the gathering and ruching. But, thanks to Gertie’s class (congrats on already finishing your bombshell dress, by the way – gorgeous!), I actually understand and appreciate what an underlining is!

    1. Soon, I promise. I have been fighting with the zipper, but I think I’ve finally succeeded in getting it in after switching from an invisible zipper to a regular zipper. I’d love to finish it this weekend, but we’ll see how much time I have with all the work I need to do.

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