If there is one thing I love, its a good maxi dress. I am far too short, and wide for such a thing, but the comfort factor far outweighs any society expectations. And really, there is no disguising my size. I figure, I can’t hide it, may as well decorate it.
A friend pointed me to this designer, a new indie pattern company. I am fond of anyone who drafts for plus sizes, and better still if the design is wearable. The initial sew along design is a freebie; who doesn’t love freebies?
But, close to three metres of fabric is expensive to waste if it goes wrong, so I decided to make a toile. Yep I know, not a step I usually take. I just made the pattern length. I will extend to a maxi for the good version.
But, I am not going to make things easy on myself. After the clean up and organisation of my stash, I “found” a big length of rayon jersey. This fabric is a cow; moving as you cut, stretching out as you sew, getting wavy regardless of tension settings, and generally just behaving badly. A super quick sew, took longer, because I reinforced the neck edges, shoulder seams and waist edges with bias stay tape. It was worth it for the firm feel to the seams and edges, but not what you are supposed to do with a toile.
Initially I traced of a 4xl, grading out to a 5xl for the skirt. I think like a lot of plus sized people, I believe I am bigger than I actually am. The bodice was significantly too big, and needed close to an inch taken off the side seams. I also have too much fabric in the skirts at the sides, causing a fold over. I have pulled the pattern back to a 3xl graded to a 4xl for the hips, and I will see if that works ok next time. I am tempted to pull the shoulders up by a 1/2inch or so, but I actually like the neckline where it sits, so may just wait and see. While I hemmed the sleeves, I didn’t bother with the skirt hem. I would have to reinforce the whole hem, or it would be wavy and ugly. The viscose doesn’t fray, so I plan to just leave it as it is. I am not convinced with the back opening. The fabric is stretchy enough to go over your head easily. Its a visual aspect I suppose, but I am thinking I may leave it out, and instead shape the centre back to allow for my short waist.
The sleeves are an interesting exercise. They are open, almost all the way to the waist edge, and when you look in, you get a great view of side boob and bra. But, the fullness pretty much ensures you don’t get too x-rated. There is an option to sew a seam up from the waist edge, providing some shaping around a larger bust as well. It does ok, although I may lengthen the seam a bit for the next version.
I will sew this dress again, next time in a maxi version I think. I may also experiment with a tunic length. It clings a little at my tummy, but then, pretty much everything does that, so I just plan to ignore it.