Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Seamingly Smitten Maxi Dress Pattern Review

In June I shared one of my summer sewing goals was to make myself some maxi dresses.  I made it into a dress making challenge for myself (and anyone who wanted to join me) by noting some maxi dress patterns I'd found and was considering trying.  

Today I'm sharing my results with one: the 
Seamingly Smitten Racerback Maxi Dress Pattern.

One of the big reasons I decided to buy this pattern was the "real women" result photos.  This pattern maker uses a big pool of testers which means lots of finished dress images.  There were so many different body shapes & ages and they all looked great in the dresses.  Seeing all the different dress variations with lengths & finishing helped a lot too.  

The key change I made was instead of doing the racerback, I re-drafted the back bodice to be a normal tank style using a curved dressmaker's ruler.  I don't own any racerback bras and hate the whole "different color undergarment straps sticking out" look.  I didn't want to have to go buy a bunch of bras just for these dresses so I altered that bit.  Everything else about this pattern was exactly what I wanted so I did that minor change and, quite frankly, LOVE it.  

I made two versions of this dress.  One was with the cotton blend knit above (which had been in my stash for eternity) and the other was with some new double brushed poly knit I started carrying in my fabric shop that I wanted to test sew.  Both dress are flattering, super comfortable and I've gotten a number of compliments on them already.  

I used Swedish tracing paper to redraw the neckline area of the back to make it 
normal tank style rather than racerback.

I also want to mention that years go Seamingly Smitten was an advertiser here, but it's been quite some time since then. This, like any other recent patterns, were my own purchases, and I'm not any kind of affiliate, so this is an unbiased, independent review.

Pattern Review Time!

I made the empire waisted, petite size S (4-6).  One thing I really like about Seamingly Smitten patterns is all the sizing & style options that are included.  This pattern covers sizes 0-26, petite, normal & tall and has empire & normal waist and even has optional pockets.  There are also circle skirt and shorter length options if you don't want a standard length maxi dress.  That much fit variation being included in the cuttable pattern saves a ton of customizing time, which is a huge plus for me.  At a 5'0",  I usually have to do a lot of modifying to get the right fit.  I also end up wasting a good amount of fabric that ends up getting cut off the bottom.  Not this time!

I also liked that the skirt portion was printable.  Yes, it takes a bit of paper to make that bit, but it's SO much faster and easier to position that on the fabric that to wrestle with yard sticks and measuring for something this big.  It also made it easier for me to reposition the bodices a bit for cutting so I was able to make one dress with just 2yds and the other with 2 1/4yds rather than the suggested 3 1/4yds, which meant big savings & no fabric wastage.

There are two finishing options for the neck and arm areas: a full lining or doing binding (with the same or coordinating fabric).  I did the lining option on both which was very fast.  I find you're less likely to run into issues doing that if you've got a really stretchy or fiddly fabric, which some stretch knits can be.  There's nothing worse that a fabric giving you trouble at the most noticeable parts of your dress like the neckline.  

My white fabric was a bit thicker and about 30% stretch.  It made the front waist sit a little higher than I'd like, so if I were using a fabric like this again, I'd probably use the normal waist length, but I still really like this one.

The instructions are really clear and there are lots of photos, so if you're a newbie sewist you won't easily get lost or confused.  The pattern instructions recommended sizing down a full size if using fabric with a 4-way stretch.  I was a little concerned that it would be snugger than I wanted so I made the double brushed poly version in the same size and still think it's the best fit for me.  The bodice actually hits in the ideal spot on this one, so I'd definitely do it the same way for future 4-way stretch/DBP versions at this weight.  

This PDF pattern is also just $4 (thank you summertime sale prices!), over in the Seamingly Smitten Etsy shop, so it's an incredibly good buy.  I've already made two and definitely plan to make more dresses with it, so that price tag is a bargain.  With a little hemming tweak you could also use the bodice portion as a basic tank or tankini top too.  

Now I've got some beautiful, bargain priced, summer dresses that weren't too time consuming to whip up and I've got a dependable pattern so I can keep making myself more for future summers. 

My Pattern Review Score?  


  1. This is so cute! I especially love the white one. I like the height of the waist on it. I really like empire waists! I really need to get a sewing machine & learn to sew. Just what hubby wants, more of my craft stuff around! I could argue that it would save us money.... ha!

    1. Thank you! It's SO worth learning, so you should give it a try. It can save you a lot of money - usually similar maxi dresses like these can cost about $50+, but you can make them yourself for less than half the price. I've saved a ton on home decor & kid's clothes by sewing my own over the years. I taught myself, so if I can, anyone can! And it's fun too;)

  2. I love the fit on both these dresses. With a summer maxi you don't want anything too restricting for hot days but you don't necessarily want a tent either! These both look perfect :-)

  3. Beautiful! I need to sew more to improve my fledgling skills. Thanks for sharing with us on the Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see more this Wednesday.

  4. This is such a beautiful dress that will look so different depending on what fabric you choose or what length you make the skirt. It looks so good! Thanks for sharing it with us this week. #HomeMattersParty


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