The SoHo Maxi Dress Tutorial
If you’re stopping by from Noodlehead, welcome! Anna is one of my very favorite blogging friends, and I’m thrilled that she asked me to be a part of her Sewing With Knits Mondays series. I hope you’ve been following along each Monday on Anna’s blog and also Shannon from Luv In The Mommyhood’s blog – they have both shared some great tips and had some super guests joining in. No reason to be afraid of knits anymore, ladies!
existing fitted knit tank top
2-2.5 yd knit fabric (60″ wide)
2 packages 1/2″ wide elastic
1 package double fold 1/2″ wide bias tape
A Couple of Tips Before We Begin:
- I recommend checking in the “fashion fabrics” section of JoAnn or your local fabric store to find a great knit fabric. Stretch fabrics are usually found in the jersey knit section in most stores, but often nicer prints more suitable for fashion are found in other areas and mixed in with the polyester/rayon fabrics. You have to search a bit more, but it’ll be worth it if you find something you love. My fabric is 96% polyester and 4% spandex, and was a great quality. A touch of spandex makes any fabric a dream to work with.
- If you have a serger, use it! Although you’ll need a regular machine for parts of this dress, sergers make life easy when sewing with knits.
- If you don’t have a serger, no problem! Use your regular machine and a ballpoint needle (trust me, it’s important!). For seams, many newer machines have a stretch stitch option, or you can also use a long and narrow zig zag stitch to accomodate the fabric stretching. For top stitching, you can also use a long straight stitch.
- As you sew, try not to stretch the fabric, or it could result in puckers. Allow the feed dogs to guide the fabric through, and you’ll end up with nice smooth stitch lines.
- Because knit does not fray, finishing seams is not necessary.
1. Lay fabric out, right side up, and fold each selvage edge to the middle.
2. To cut our dress front and back, we’ll use an existing knit tank top. Fold the top in half, matching side seams, and place on fabric. To allow for gathering, we want our dress to be 1.5 times the width of the tank. My tank was 7″ from side seam to front fold, so I moved the tank out an extra 3.5 inches from the fabric fold.
4. Determine the width you’d like your dress at the bottom. For both maxi dresses and skirts, I like the bottom width to be around 50″-60″. Since we are cutting both the front and back pieces out of one length, if you want the bottom width larger than 60″, you’ll need extra fabric to accomodate that. Divide the width by 2 (since we’re working on a fold) and mark that, perpendicular from the hem.
5. Adding 1/2″ for seam allowance, cut around neck, underarm, and side seam of tank front. Continue on, joining up with bottom width mark. Before cutting, ensure that your dress will be wide enough at the hipline, plus a bit of ease. Since we added 50% to the width of the tank top, this should be enough to fit most hips, but it never hurts to double check :).
6. If your tank was pointed at the top like mine, trim the point to flat, to allow for the 3/4″ straps plus 1/2″ on each side (for seam allowance) to be inserted later.
7. Mark underbust (where bottom of your bra sits) on fabric, where elastic will sit under bust. If needed, you can try your tank top on to find the exact area to mark.
8. To cut back piece, fold tank top at center back, matching side seams. Adding 50% to tank back width, place tank fold parallel to fabric fold. Adding 1/2″ for seam allowance, cut around top back and side seam of tank back, as you did for front piece.
15. Flip ruffle strip over to right side of dress and gently press in place. Do not slide iron on fabric, simply steam and press using a light heat setting. Pin rufle strip to front and back of dress.
20. Fold one strap in half lengthwise and stitch raw edges together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
22. Repeat steps 20 and 21 with remaining strap.
25. Try dress on and determine back strap placement. Pin straps in place (it helps to have someone help you!).
And make some plans – you’re going out tonight!
Thanks, Anna for letting me be a part of such a fantastic series!
I love this dress!! Very well done – great fabric too!!!
Thanks for the tutorial,how about working with cotton fabrics.
You can do this with cotton fabrics. But it won’t have the stretch that Jersey knit has. You’ll have to add more seam allowance. And if you want the same look as the pic here, I’d strongly advise for a hidden back or side zipper.
What a great dress! I will have to make one for myself.
I love it!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:
Nice and easy. Thanks for sharing.
Love this! Thanks for sharing the tutorial. And that fabric is amazing!
Abby – This looks awesome on you. Great work. I have seem that fabric in JoAnn’s for a while and I always admire it and scheme up a project for it. Your dress is beautiful – like you.
Ooh you are a genius! And beautiful too. What a stunning dress – great job!!!!!!
thanks again for joining in abby, the dress and you are amazing! :)
Great dress & tutorial! love it!
Great idea and done out of Poly/Rayon it’s a wash and wear :). I hate ironing!
Love this dress! Great job!
xoxo, Ashley J @ mommybydaycrafterbynight.blogspot.com
This is so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!
What a great tutorial! I would love to make one of these!
So pretty. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m your newest follower and I can’t wait to look around your blog.
I absolutely adore this dress! It’s so gorgeous and looks so comfortable! This is definitely going on my to-make list!
Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [09 Aug 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria
This is such a cute dress! I totally can’t wait to make it :D
Beautiful beautiful! I love it!
I love your version of a maxi dress. These long, flowing dresses are everywhere right now – it’s nice to see your creative take! I’ll be adding this to the AllFreeSewing.com site soon.
Thanks and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
This is such a cute dress, and you make it look good too! Nice work and thank you for the inspiration!
I love the dress!! Great job! :)
really really cute & such a fun fabric!!! thank you :)
the dress came out beautiful. great job
Um, really Abby, you’re amazing! We’ve missed you down here, especially lately when we’ve had everyone together! I think we all agree that you need a little family trip down south. :) Plus I meant to comment on the pictures you did of your sister’s family–you did a great job. I admit though I was hoping to see some of you and “all” your boys though when I saw the title! Take care!
Adorable! And your instructions make me think I might actually be able to do it!
This is just a whole bunch of Awesomeness! : )
I love the fabric!!!!!
I love this!!
You sure have some talent there missy! Beautiful maxi dress! I’d love for you to link up at my Tuesday Tutorials Link Party! :)
This dress is fantastic and so “in!” Well done!
I am a new follower and would love for you to link up at my Savvy HomeMade blog party at http://www.homesavvyatoz.com/2011/08/14/blog-party-3/
I look forward to blogging with you!
love your blog. This dress is amazing. I’m so impressed. Wearing the belt with it looks great, so many times I think the dresses look too baggy, but this looks great on you. I just started a link party on my blog today and I’d be honored if you had time to link this up! http://caribbeanmissionarywife.blogspot.com/2011/08/t-time-21-and-link-up.html
That dress looks SO comfy!! Thanks for sharing @’Sew Cute Tuesday’!
I LOVE this! You are so amazing when it comes to sewing. I may have to get better at my machine before I attempt this one though. ;)
By the way, I am hosting my first link party, and would love to have you link this up to it–
Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with over 19,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: http://www.dailycraft.com/thank-you-for-crafting/. Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!
Just wanted to let you know that I have featured you on my blog. If there is anything you would like me to remove, please let me know
Really cute & such a great fabric! I’m featuring it at this week’s Craftastic Monday party. Please stop by and grab a Featured On button. Thanks for linking!
Great job on the instructions and matching picture! You have picked such an exotic fabric you made it work. You are a pretty young women and the figure to go with it. You made it look so simple. Excellent, I cannot wait to make it.
This is my first visit to your site, but I wanted to let you know I really like your tutorial! The belt MAKES the dress! It takes it from being shapeless to stylish!!
I couldn’t stop looking at this dress, it shouted that it belonged in my wardrobe. However, Minnesota is already getting fall/winter weather to I’ll have to make it more of a cold weather jumper. I’ll choose a heavier jersey knit in autumn shades for one thing. I think I’ll use wider straps also to give it a wintery look. Lastly I will shorten it to mid-calf to make it less formal. I am wheelchair confined so not every dress or skirt will work for me. This will be the exception though. Now my problem is getting to the fabric store & finding the perfect material. Congratulations on your wonderful design! Annette
I really like this dress, but I do have a question. I do not have a serger but am looking to invest in one. Do you have any recommendations on what to look for when purchasing a serger?
You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really one thing that I think I might never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely wide for me.
If you want to launch your own business with your sewing skills, it will be an advantage if you take classes. You should learn more about the terminologies used in sewing, equipment to be used, techniques, as well as how the business runs. You don’t want to go to a battlefield unprepared. Learning how to sew is a fun activity that you can do as a hobby or as a source of income.
i love maxi dresses and ruffles so this is PERFECT! can’t wait to make one! love the fabric you used too!
Love the dress :)
I made a list of Maxi dress tutorials on my blog <3
You’re in it, hope thats okay :)
Love it! Very good constructed tutorial. I would definitely add this to my ‘must do’ list. Maybe I will do the bias tape with garter outside to add design.
The dress is beautiful and I like it. Thanks for the tutorial.
Thank you how much I love that Sager it as soon as it’s easy. :-)
great tutorial – so glad someone pinned this. I’m going to try this with a very lightweight batiste – what do you think?
The SoHo Maxi Dress is perfect for even a beginner sewer.
esbro rinewThis a great idea and I never thought it could be so easy to make. I have been sewing for years and I never tried to do something so easy. You did a wonderful job.Great dress!
Thanks for the inspiration once again.
this is sooooo helpful..thax alot..
This is a very lovely dress…
Just found this and I AM IN LOVE! I have been following your blog for some tome but obviously haven’t looked hard enough! I hope you can see me in a version soon! ;)
Hi Again! :)
I am doing a small round up of some of my favorite dresses and would love to include yours by adding a link and picture. Please let me know! :)
I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned.
This tutorial is great and really easy to understand. I love the fabric you chose! I did a little maxi dress series and would love if you linked up your dress!
This is such a cute dress, and you make it look good too! Nice work and thank you for the inspiration!
I finally buckled down and made this dress!! Thank you for the inspiration and the great tutorial. http://www.bearrabbitbear.com/2012/05/i-will-wear-it-in-public-challengethe.html
How stinkin’ cute =) I love it and love the fabric!
Visiting from Lil Luna
Super tutorial! I love it and am now following your blog!
Visit me if you ike at http://LoveItSewMuch.blogspot.com
I have 3 yards of that exact fabric sitting in a drawer in my sewing room (for over a year now!), I guess it was just waiting for the right pattern to come along and now I have it! Thanks for the great tutorial, can’t wait to see how my dress comes out!
Thank you so much Abby for uploading some of your patterns & tutorials into SewSet! I have featured a couple of them on the homepage as today’s top patterns!
You work, as always, is just lovely.
SewSet.com & MeSewCrazy.com
Thank you so much for your photo tutorial,its very inspiring! I love how you wear a white sleeveless tank underneath the dress too! Its a great touch of class! I never thought to accessorize with a chunky belt. Please continue to share with us :) Leah
Great dress. For beginners (or easily frustrated like my granddaughter) if you know you are going to be wearing with a belt, it isn’t absolutely necessary to do the under bust elastic. Just try to adjust the extra fabric evenly under the belt.
I featured you today on Blissful & Domestic. Stop by and check it out!
Just made this dress today. I ended up moving the straps a little closer to the center for a better fit, but super easy to follow, and I love the ruffle. Thanks so much for the tutorial!
Soooo pretty! Has anyone tried this in a non-knit fabric?
Thanks just what I need at the moment
I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this
website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to
find out where u got this from. thanks a lot