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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, June 4, 2012

The tea towel maxi dress

Please note the missing baseboards, one of the nice surprises of my return was seeing the wonderful plasterwork and dry walling done on my evolving reno by my daughter's brother-in-law. We still have a way to go but if you have extended family it sure is nice if they are handy.

Before you go any further you need to know where my head was with this dress.

I have decided I like maxi dresses and wanted to whip up another one for day wear, schlepping around the house even. I also needed to be doing many other things rather than sew, so it had to be quick and easy too.

I looked around the net at the patternless versions. I liked a lot of them but this being Nova Scotia in June, and some days pretty cool still, I also figured that the strapless number I will probably make later in the summer wasn't going to cut it for immediate wear.

So this is what I came up with.I really am happy with it, as something super comfortable for hanging around here.

My spouse says this makes me look top heavy, and since this is not an actual reality, I might make more.

No pattern and as lazy as I could make it.

Here goes:

1. Decided I wanted a slightly raised waist so measured from below my ribs to the floor and added a couple of inches for an integrated casing (more on that later).

2. Using the full 60" width I sewed one seam and decided to situate that at centre back, where it actually gets lost in the print anyway.

3. I needed a top and decided I a) wanted to wear a bra under it and b) not fuss around with sleeve hems and neckline finishes in this light rayon knit, which I believe nearly all of us bought from Fabricmart last year.

4. Not feeling really clever and pattern drafty I went into the kitchen and pulled out a tea towel. I used this for a front and back pattern piece (if you are not tall like me you might want to take a few inches off the depth).

5. I cut out 4 tea towels from the knit. It stuck to the fabric so I didn't have to pin or anything.

6. I sewed essentially two pillowcases leaving one long edge unstitched, turned and lightly pressed. This gave me a double layer from front and back, fine because this was a thin knit, and gave me pre-finished edges for the neckline and sleeves.

7. I went into the bathroom and worked in front of the mirror figuring out how wide I wanted the neck opening and how open I wanted the armholes at the sides and marked this with pins.

8. Using a tiny zig-zag I stitched up the side seams and shoulder seams fading the stitching out and off the edge like you would the bottom of a dart when I got to the neck opening edges and the bottom of the armholes.

9. I sewed this little top unit to the skirt.

10. I sewed another stitching line about 1 1/2" away from this first seam to make an interior casing.

11. I threaded a nice soft widish waist elastic into the casing and turned up the hem which I stitched with another little zig zag.

12. I found my husband and handed him the camera.

What I have to do, in addition to getting my hair cut tomorrow, is figure out some accessories. 

The way I see it there is a place for a maxi dress that isn't a sun dress, particularly if you are not sure when the northern sun is going to start shining.

The only thing more comfortable than this would be to wear nothing at all and I am not sure if Halifax Nova Scotia is quite ready for nude grocery shopping.

This was a fun sew.


Lori said...

Great looking maxi dress.

Bunny said...

Love it. That's a great color on your. Who says maxis have just have straps? I really like your version better.

Patty said...

I think this one will get a lot of use this summer! and it looks great on you :-)

Andrea said...

Love it, so pretty on you. Love the idea of a full top rather than staps - no fiddling with bra straps.

LinB said...

Adorable. The print alone will bring the sun inside for you. Only thing easier would have been to cut a hole for your head in the middle of the fabric, then wrap the sides around and tie the waist, รก la Grec.

Elaine G. said...

Barbara, you are one amazing and talented lady!
Your maxi dress looks terrific and comfy too.
Your productivity level leaves my head spinning, as I am so slow in comparison.

velosewer said...

Now you need to trademark your pattern making method!
Great dress.