Finished Project · Sewing

Twisted Silk Jersey Maxi Dress

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To celebrate the coming arrival of the summer solstice here in the US, what could be better than making a maxi dress out of a luxurious silk jersey from Mood Fabrics?  One of my newfound favorite fabrics draped all over me?  Yes, please!

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I’ve had my eye on Mood’s online silk jersey print section ever since making my silk jersey bow top last summer.  I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I wear that top almost weekly.  While I have a thing for bow tops, I know the reason it’s one of my go-tos is the fabric.  I didn’t want to miss my chance to make another favorite top (or dress!) because a great print sold out before I could get to it.  When I saw the bold print that I used here in Mood’s online silk jersey section, with its blues and grays and little pops of yellow – and with its art deco woman covered in flowers, I was enthralled.  The large size of the repeat suggested it would do well as a dress, and the flowing nature of the print made me want to gather, twist, and drape it all over my dress form as soon as it arrived at my door step. Because I’m still not ready to venture into true draping, I kept looking for a pattern that would match my dress form vision.  Ultimately, I decided it was meant to be BurdaStyle’s Twisted Maxi Dress 02/2013 #115.

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The pattern has a bit of cool twist action that looks complicated but ends up being pretty straightforward to make happen.  I know people say BurdaStyle instructions aren’t always that helpful, but I found the instructions for this pattern to be very informative.  They had plenty of diagrams walking through the parts that could be a bit more complicated.  Basically, after prepping the top front of the dress and the bottom front of the dress separately, the bottom is then threaded through a small hole left in the top, and then the two are carefully stitched together.  That’s really as tricky as the twist gets.  As an aside, part of the prep is to sew a small center front seam that defines how low the V neckline goes, and I’ll admit to more than doubling the suggested length of that seam since the original was scandalously low!

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The twist becomes ties in the back that fall nearly to the ground.  The twist and ties are attached at the side seams, so the secureness of the bow in the back has nothing to do with the tautness of the twist in the front.  Thankfully, the latter is fixed, especially considering how many times I accidentally untied the bow in the back just from sitting down while I was wearing this dress to a wedding in Southern California this past weekend.

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The shoulders have just the right amount of gathers held into place by stitching them to stay tape, and the back has a nice V stabilized by some clever use of self binding.  The armholes are also finished with self binding.  All other seams are either enclosed or serged.

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The silk jersey was a dream to work with throughout all of the gathering, basting, stitching, and serging I did to complete this dress.  And, this dress took mere hours to make from start to finish, which is huge for me because I usually drag things out for days if not weeks!

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If you’ve never sewn with silk jersey, I recommend you give it a try.  If you have sewn with it before, I’d love to hear your successes in the comments.  I want to start plotting my next adventure with this wonderful fabric, and I’m looking for inspiration!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network. I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabric.

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40 thoughts on “Twisted Silk Jersey Maxi Dress

  1. This dress is amazing! I want one for myself 🙂 I have never sewn a Burda pattern before, but this one is tempting me.

  2. I would love to give silk jersey a try! It sounds heavenly. Your dress is gorgeous, you couldn’t have picked a better pattern for this fabric!

  3. I love this Amy. That fabric is just lovely and looks like it would be perfect for Summer. The dress looks really expensive, I never would have assumed you made it. I also love love that back V-neck.

  4. Ooooh, this is lovely! I’m really glad to see this made up, because it caught my eye in the magazine but I’m always too chicken to be the first one to make something up from there – I need to hear people’s reviews on fit first!

  5. ooh this is lovely – you look so elegant! I’ve just recently started sewing with jersey and am planning a jersey maxi dress for a wedding in a few months so I’ll need to keep this pattern in mind.

    1. It’s more like a soft jersey than a slippery silk, in my opinion. Pattern weights and a few silk pins seem to keep everything in line.

  6. This is beautiful! I flipped through the Feb Burda at the time, but didn’t notice this pattern – I might have to try it! I haven’t made anything with silk jersey yet, though I have some. I’ve been a bit apprehensive about using it… My big question is how do you wash it? Do you wash your silk jersey garments by hand or in the wash? Drip dry or dryer? I’d love to wear silk but only if it’s not an ordeal to wash it!

    1. Honestly, I throw it into the washer. If I’m feeling super lazy, it even goes into the dryer. It gets lined dried most of the time though. That doesn’t take too much extra effort!

  7. I love this dress Amy. You make it look so easy! I considered this pattern for a maxi dress but the design required a rectangle shape so dropped it. I am not sure if my fabric was silk jersey…maybe something along those lines.

    1. A lot! It suggests you cut the pieces on the cross grain, but my fabric was too narrow. I think I needed twice my height in fabric to fit everything in!

  8. Simply gorgeous! I’ve been looking for a pattern for my first maxi and just downloaded this one on Thursday so I’m very excited to see yours. How luxurious it must feel in silk jersey!

  9. Amy. I love this dress so, so much. And I’m thrilled to hear it only took you hours – that means it will only take me days! It looks beautiful on you!

  10. Aren’t the burda patterns harder to sew bcause they dont include seam allowances? How can you get an accurate 5/8 ” seam allowance all the way around a particular pattern piece?

    1. Hi Joan, sewing patterns without seam allowances can actually be easier than relying to sewing a fixed distance from the edge of the fabric. I often trace the actual stitching line with thread or chalk or a heat-sensitive pen and then stitch right inside that line. When I use this method, the seam allowances can be anything. I like that I can use small seam allowances if I’m confident in the fit of the garment or large seam allowances if I think I might need to make a number of adjustments after the garment is basted together. Other times I’ve used rulers or guides to add seam allowances as accurately as possible.

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