I am beyond excited to share this dress with you today. See I’ve been wanting a maxi dress for, like, ever. 😉 Unfortunately due to my height and figure it’s really hard to find one that’s flattering on me. (I have a very wide torso and am basically straight down with no waist definition at all- kinda the opposite of an hourglass) I’ve been thinking it would be fun to try to make my own maxi but couldn’t settle upon the perfect pattern for it. Sometime after making my waterfall tank– pattern by Sew Caroline, I realized that with some tweaks I could make that into a maxi dress pattern. But then I realized I needed some major fabric yardage to make this idea into a reality. Enter my Liberty of London for Target dress that I thrifted over 4 years ago!! (yeah sometimes it takes me a while to get around to things-lolz) I found this dress at a Goodwill (along with a sweet Liberty of London tie for the hubs) and even though it was several sizes too large and had a weird off the shoulder thing going on, I knew I had to have it if just for the fabric. When I brought it home, I attempted some revisions on it, but they didn’t work out and it’s sat in my mending bin ever since.
I’m glad I waited to use the dress because it was perfect for this pattern. First off, I took the tank pattern and added about 25 inches to it- starting with the size M on top and angling out several inches to a nice A-line shape at the bottom. Then I took my dress and carefully
cut off the top ruffle and separated the lining from the outer fabric. I then cut down the side seams to make 2 pieces and used the revised pattern piece to cut out a new front and back from those 2 pieces. I used the existing bottom hem so I basically just cut off a few inches from the sides and redid the top shape a bit. I didn’t have enough fabric to keep the same tank shape in the back so I made the back piece straight across.
The dress happened to have elastic sewn into the bodice seam already so I took the elastic out, basted the sides up and then reinserted the elastic- pulling it tighter until it fit well, then finished off my side seams. Very happy that the elastic fell right under my bust and didn’t end up being too high or too low.
I did the same thing with the lining and then sewed the lining to the main fabric along the top of the dress. At this point, I only had the ruffle left of the original fabric and no extras left for straps so I was able to “make it work” and sew the ruffle onto some bias tape and make one big strap/front ruffle piece. I fiddled a bit with the back of the ruffle trying to get it to lay just right and it’s still not perfect but I’m happy enough with it.
I wore this dress to church the day I finished it and got so many compliments on how cute it was! I think it’s a mix of the style and the super cute Liberty print. It is seriously one of the comfiest things I own and I see it getting tons of use this summer! Now you know how easy it is to take your favorite tank pattern and turn it into a maxi dress…hope that helps anyone else who was interested in making a maxi dress of her own!