Monday, 26 October 2015

I Made It Monday: Easy DIY Maxi Dress

Today I'm wearing a lightweight cotton maxi dress. 

It's really simple to make and is the sort of effortless styling a busy Mama (or busy anyone!) needs.

This fabric was from an Ikea doona (duvet) cover! 
It's very thin so drapes nicely.

Oh, and I added pockets but we'll talk about pockets another time!
Photos c/o my wonderful Husband


Here's how I did it:
1. Take a very loose fitting Dolman sleeve top and trace around the front and back, adding a bit extra for seam allowances and your desired length to make it a maxi dress.  Make sure it's a loose flowing fit; if you cut it too wide you can always take it in later.

2. With right sides together sew the shoulder seams. **

3. Finish the neck line by folding over 1cm twice to make a neat hem, sew. **

4. Sew underarms and down the side seam, stopping and backstitching where you want the side slits to start. **

5.  Finish sleeves by folding over 1cm twice to make a neat hem, sew. **

6. Make a tube of fabric, same width as the dress.  Sew into dress at your natural waistline, leaving an opening to thread elastic.  Cut a piece of elastic which is your waist measurement + 2cm.  Thread into casing (tube) and securely sew closed.

7.  Neatly finish the side slits and hem by folding over 0.5cm twice to make a neat hem. **

8.  Give it all a good press and you're ready to go!

**Press with the hottest iron temperature your fabric will allow.  Trust me, pressing between each step makes sewing so much easier and gives you the best finish.

NB: all seam allowances are 1.5cm unless otherwise stated.

Just on a side note: this "trace around existing garment" method only really works for loose fitting, shapeless clothes.  If you are new to sewing and try it for something more fitted you'll be frustrated and disappointed.  An experienced seamstress can draft a pattern, but again that requires far more expertise than this method. 
If you are new to sewing, and my shonky instructions make you scratch your head (I apologize because they make sense to me!) then buy a pattern.  A purchased pattern will give you exact measurements and precise instructions.  For a budding seamstress I think patterns are a good way to start, it will build confidence and technique.  Unless of course you're the "jump in and give it a go type", then this method will work just fine!! 


  1. Wow congrats! You're a real artist, love how you got this lively and smart long dress. I can imagine so many occassions to wear such a comfy and practical dress. Great work!!

    Paty from antes Alta que sinsilla

    1. Thank you so much Paty! This dress will be on high rotation this summer! x Allison

  2. Another fabulous duvet cover garment! The sleeves are so flattering and I always love slits with my maxi dresses. Oh...and don't even get me started on the wonders of having pockets with dresses. The way the polka dot print goes from large to small is really great - very appealing to the eye. Bravo!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Beth! I promise, I do appreciated fine fabrics, I love them, I do! However you'd never know it!! I do have some projects coming up using beautiful fabric that did NOT come from Ikea! x Allison

  3. I like how the polka dots change size! Very flattering dress! Nicely done!


    1. Thanks Ruth! I couldn't resist the fabric & knew it had to be a dress! x Allison

  4. I love this dress and how the patterns of the dots changes!

    Thank you for joining TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you next week. Have a great weekend!


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