DIY Hint of Vintage Maxi Dress

Maybe I have been watching too much Downton Abbey (I love love love it) or maybe it was this Anthropologie Dress that caught my eye, but drop-waists have been on my mind.  For some reason, I am really drawn to the silhouette.  (I think for sure the late teens/20’s versions, not the 80’s!)  Not to mention, they are one of the top trends for Spring 2012.

So when I was thinking about what I wanted to sew this month, I sketched out this dress:

and with a couple of evenings of work, created this:

 I made a mistake and it should be a couple of inches longer..
 It’s my new pajama dress! Yes, it is that comfortable…
I wanted it to be a more spring-y color, but I only had enough fabric in a few choices. This was the best of the lot…Maybe next time I will make one in a fun color!
Want to make your own?

-You will need approximately 2 yards of 60″ wide knit fabric, plus a small amount of contrast fabric.-

First, lets get started making your pattern.  I use medical exam room paper (you can buy this at a medical supply store) and it is perfect.  Not too flimsy, but you can still see through it.

If you don’t have a skirt to trace, you can use this tutorial. I suggest making half the pattern and cutting on the fold so it is even. Don’t worry about the waistband yet, we will get to it later.

We now are going to alter the front bodice pattern to allow for the contrasting strip down the middle:

So now you have a skirt pattern, a bodice back pattern, a bodice front pattern, and the center strip pattern piece.

Cut out two skirt pieces  on the fold, one bodice back on the fold, and two bodice front pieces (Lay out this pattern as if it would be cut on the fold, so you don’t get two rights or two lefts).  Also cut out your center strip (in contrasting fabric if you like).

The next step is to make your arm bands and neck binding.  

*For the arm band pieces, I measured the arm opening (on the pattern) for both the front and the back, added it together, and then subtracted 1″. Then I added the seam allowance, which is 1/2″ total when using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

So for example, my arm holes were
7 1/4″ long.  Added together, that makes 14 1/2″.  Subtract 1″ equals 13 1/2″. Add 1/2″ and your total band length is 14″ long by 2″ wide.
Cut 2 of those.

*For the neck binding, I used the total neck measurement of the pattern front, the middle strip and the pattern back, added it together, and took off 2 1/2″ (Super stretchy fabric) so it would be nice and tight.

So for example, my neckline added up to 28″ and then I took off 2 1/2″ so I cut a piece that was 25 1/2″ long and 2″ wide.

Now you need to cut out your waistband.  Measure your waist.  Then subtract 1″. Add 1/2″ seam allowance.
That is the length of the band, and it should be 6″ wide.

Once all of your pieces are cut, its time to sew!
* 2 skirt pieces
* 2 bodice front pieces
* 1 bodice back piece
* 1 center front bodice contrast strip
* 2 arm band pieces
* 1 neckline binding piece
* 1 waistband piece


* For a good tutorial on sewing on knit bindings click here.