Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Maxi Dress Making Challenge!

Summer is the season of the maxi dress and I really want to make a few new ones this year.  They are my go-to look for hot days and so easy to dress up or down.  I've got some ideal multi-yard knits sitting in my stash and soon will have some beautiful double brushed poly prints for my shop (that I'll need to make project samples with), so multiple maxi dresses are needed.  I've decided to challenge myself with making several styles and would love for you to join me!

I've been on a search for several pattern styles that:

- Have easy to sew designs
- Are flattering for most body shapes 
- And, most importantly, aren't expensive

After some internet digging and analyzing I've put together this assortment of patterns I had in my stash, have now bought or are free downloads (no shilling for specific brands here).  And since I'm picky about what I like, I'm also planning to make a few tweaks to get them exactly how I want.  

Let's dive in!

The first one on my list is the Women's Racerback Maxi Dress by Seamingly Smitten.  It's currently just $4, so I figured it was worth buying.  This pattern seems to be really straight forward in assembly - you can line the bodice or band the neck & arms.  

It's also got empire or natural waist length and includes petite & tall options (which is key for my 5ft self).  My only issue is I'm not a big fan of the racerback look, so I'm going to re-draft the back to be a normal back bodice.  

I have several store bought maxis that have a wrap front bodice and comfy loose sleeves, but didn't see any maxi dress patterns that had the same look.  The Callie Wrap Dress, also by Seamingly Smitten, does have the perfect wrap bodice (and a flutter sleeve option), so I'm going to try to pair that with a gathered skirt bottom, rather than the circle skirt it comes with and see if I can duplicate my favorite bought maxi dress look.

From the big 4, I've had this Simplicity 2642 in my stash for ages and it's got several style options.  It's an oldie, so eBay, Etsy & small shops are the best places to find it.  I'm eyeing the crossover front maxi as a good additional option.   

I made the shorter halter-style a number of years back and reviewed that option here.  It turned out cute, but I had to make some fiddly fit adjustments and hated the 3 piece skirt design (who puts 2 seams right down the front of a dress & suggests using prints with that?), so I'd definitely change that bit.  I'd also commit the sewing sin of ignoring the fabric recommendations and use knit instead of woven, but I don't think that's an issue given the looser design of the first view.  

I also had good results with McCalls 7405.  It's a quick sew and very flattering, so I may pull this one out again too.  You can see my original review here & the shortcuts I used to make it even faster.

On the freebie front, I'm really interested in making this Striped Maxi Dress by Melly Sews.  It looks so polished and the elasticated empire waist looks comfortable too.  It also looks like a super quick sew, which I really need these days.

The ultra simple sew aspect of this Easiest Ever Maxi Dress from Kojo Designs also intrigues me, since it looks really stylish. It's literally just putting to rectangles of fabric together.   Sew easy, right?  I'm not a fan of the seam smack down the front though or the dependence on a perfect-fit belt to keep it from looking like a shapeless sack.  Another tutorial showed this with side seams and just cutting to make the neck area...I'm a bit on the fence about making it....but it's so simple it might be worth it.

I'm jumping into a couple of these right now and will share my finished dress reveals & reviews as they get done.  If you have a favorite maxi dress tutorial or pattern to share, please add it in the comments - I'd love to add my options to the list.  

I'd also LOVE if any of you wanted to sew some of these with me and share your findings too.  


  1. I love a maxi dress. I made myself a couple of the easiest ever maxi dresses (the last one on your list) and a round neck version. I love them, especially for holidays and really hot days :-)

  2. So many beautiful dresses!



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