Maxi dresses are some of my favorite things to wear, especially in the summer. For this maxi dress, I wanted the top to be fairly loose, with a bit of a dolmon sleeve. I didn't want to make it too fussy with an inset sleeve, so the dolman style top worked perfectly for the look I was trying to achieve. I made the elastic waistband hit right at the natural waist, so that it cinches in at the smallest part of your waist to keep it from getting lost in all that loose fabric.
I've dressed this skirt up with heels, but I prefer to wear it more casual with flats (I have been living in these, such a great price!) and a cross body bag (I think it helps tone down the pattern a bit).
Check out some of my favorite sleeved maxi dresses, and make sure to follow the link below for the tutorial!
3 yards of a lightweight woven (no stretch) fabric. I would suggest a rayon challis fabric. It is lightweight (but not see-through), and has a great drape to it
3 yards pattern paper/muslin (optional)
1/4" elastic ( enough to fit comfortably around your waist)
fitted top to use as a pattern guide
Fold your fabric length-wise to start cutting out the pieces. I would suggest creating your pattern with pattern paper or muslin at first to allow for any adjustments. Make sure you plan out enough room for all your pattern pieces (4 total).
Cut out 2 tops. Take your fitted tee, fold it in half length-wise and lay it on top of the fabric, lining it up with the fabric fold. Your dress top will be loose and a bit oversized, so use the top as a guide and cut around it about 1-2". For the width of the top, you will want about 8" wider than your actual waist measurements. Since the fabric is folded in half, you will only need to mark 4" wider than your fitted shirt guide (this will allow 4" extra per side). Have the top hit 1" below your natural waist. My total width measured 23 1/2". At the shoulder, cut a straight diagonal line (mine was 8" long). Cut a slightly diagonal line at the end of the shoulder down to the waist. For the neckline, make one slightly curved for the front piece, and the other almost straight across for the back piece.
Cut 2 skirt sections, with the waist measuring about 3-4" wider than your actual waist measurement, the width at the bottom 16" wider than the waist width, and the length from your natural waist to the floor.
Place the two top pieces right-sides together, pin, and sew the top two sleeves with 1/4" sa, and from the bottom side up 7". Leave the rest of the sides open for the arm holes. After stitching, I serged the edges to finish them off.
Place the two skirt pieces rs togther, pin, and sew up the sides with 1/4" sa leaving 12" open from the bottom two sides up for the slits (optional serging).
With the top inside-out, slide the skirt (rs out) through the neck hole so that the bottom edges of the top and the top edges of the skirt match up (see pic). Pin and stitch all the way around with 1/4" s.a.
Take your elastic that fit comfortable around your waist. Stitch the ends together to for a circle. Then pin all around the waistline that you just attached, right over the seam. Stretch the elastic as you pin so that it is stretched completely when you pull apart the sides of the waistband, and bunches up once you let go.
Turn your skirt r.s. out, and fold the neckline, arm holes, side slits, and bottom hem under 1/4" twice to hem. If you have a serger, I like to serge around all of the edges first, then fold it under. This makes pressing it under a bit easier with a serged hem.