Maxi-Dress Sew-Along

Ashley at and Amy at are hosting a maxi dress sew along.  Since this blog is so new, I am excited to try new things with it.  Plus with my desire to expand out of jeans and t-shirts, this challenge came at a great time for me.

fashion_formula_skirts_20150626100136I chose the Fashion Formula Skirt Vol. 3  pattern from Serendipity Studio.  What I love about this pattern is that there are SO MANY variations!  3 different lengths, 12 different styles. This pattern is really great as it is more like a tutorial than a pattern.  There is nothing in the pattern to cut out.  Just charts to help you figure out what yardage to get for each variation and clear hand drawn directions illustrating each step.

After studying all the different options, I finally chose the 34″ length in variation 11. I love the pleats and how they hide a surprise color splash.  I could have gone longer with the length but with this being a summer maxi challenge, I didn’t want the hems of my skirts dragging in fresh cut grass.

twill-fabricI knew I wanted a fabric with a bit more hand than quilting cotton. So looking at the variety of 54″ twill we have in the shop, it was tough to pick just one.  Finally, I picked this Ty Pennington Dahlia print.  It is heavy enough to hold up as anything from bags to pants but light enough to wear year round.

But what to do with the pleats? I liked how the sample had the pops of color that were hiding in the pleats.  We have some amazing fabric from Japan that begged to be used.

JapanFabricThe fabric is stripes of coordinating colors that fuse from one color to the next.  I thought that this would cause an interesting effect if the pleats blended as they went around me. Now the trick is that there are 12 pleats but only 9 colors and I didn’t want any abrupt change if the gradient didn’t start and end with the same color.  So I rearranged and played with the pleat colors until I found an arrangement that would work.  Solid-Solid-Flower and I managed to get the colors to work as they fused into one and other all the way around.

colors in fashion formula skirtWhew, finally able to sew! After I assembled the skirt, I realized how heavy it is. What I thought would be good for spring though fall will actually work well as a year round skirt.  What a nice bonus! I also realized that with as solid as the fabric is, I didn’t like how it would act with a loose elastic waistband.  It called for a more fitted feel.  I took in each panel until eventually I lost 8″ of width from the waist.  I then added the waistband and elastic and did a blind hem to finish the skirt.

I still need to make a top to go with it, but one of my standard tops works well for the moment.


Pattern Review:  I love long skirts and this pattern provides them in spades.  I will make this pattern again.  Plus since all the skirts are based off a basic “recipe” that is easy to memorize. I can just put a note in my phone so I always know how much yardage I need for the skirts.

There are some things I will do differently next time though. I will do the longer length.  Though I like this length for summer, I think a longer length will work better with boots in the winter.  Another thing I will change is to remove the elastic waistband in favor of a more fitted waistband with a zipper.  Then I think I could wear it with more of a variety of tops including ones that tuck in.  With the elastic waist I feel that I need my shirt to cover the waistband.  It might just be my personal preference though.  Another thing I would change is I would put in a pocket for my phone. But that is all I am saying about that.  Overall, I love this pattern and even more I love this skirt.  Thanks Amy and Ashley for motivating me to make it!!

Maxi Dress sew-along

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