Recent Projects: Maxi Dress

The Pattern: New Look #6980, Design-Your-Look Easy dress pattern. Made view C with the crossover bodice.

The Fabric: A few years ago, I purchased yards and yards (well, probably only 4) of a beautiful tropical-print rayon in shades of vibrant turquoise and magenta pink that I planned to make a dress from—someday. 

About this Dress: I’ve always loved the boho maxi dresses that come around just about every summer, but have never found one that perfectly suited my taste, either in terms of design features or colors or patterns.

But all of a sudden this past summer, I got the urge to make a maxi dress. This could have been because summer 2010 was blazingly hot in the DC area. I remembered I had this rayon in my stash, pulled it out and looked it over, and was struck all over again by the saturated hues and how cheerful and simple and unusual the pattern was (compared to many tropical/Hawaiian prints I’ve seen, that is). Plus—the drape and flow of that wonderful rayon! But I didn’t have a maxi dress pattern that combined both the simplicity of design and construction I was interested in. So I searched online and turned up this New Look pattern and found it at my local Hancock’s. I had in mind to whip it up and wear it to a cook-out the next weekend. Unfortunately, I ended up not going to the cook-out, but I did manage to whip up this dress in less than a week—a record for me! 

It’s not by any  means well-finished, but it’s sturdy. And boy does that rayon feel amazing draping itself around me as I walk! I didn’t make any real changes to the pattern, but I did add self-fabric ties to cinch the wide straps. One of the views shows fabric loops sewed down around the straps, in the same way required by the grey linen dress I made from New Look 6774, but I was looking for something a little quicker. I may replace the simple self-fabric tubes that I just tied around the straps with the pattern’s fabric loops. Or I may not!

The dress looks killer with my wedge-heel gladiator sandals and a white twill jacket.

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2 thoughts on “Recent Projects: Maxi Dress

  1. I’ve just been looking at your dress – I love the design and that fabric is beautiful – I’ve never seen that pattern before in the shops and the colour is great on you. I’ve recently bought the same pattern and want to make view C as well. I just wanted to ask if you had to make any adjustments to the bodice – I’m concerned that the empire line might be too high up and also whether I might need to do an FBA. Did you make any changes to the pattern? From the pictures, I think we would be approximately the same build. I would be grateful if you could let me know before I cut out the pattern.

    • Lynne–thank you so much for your kind words. I hope I can help. I didn’t have to do anything in particular to alter the bodice of this dress. I cut out the size 14 according to my high bust measurement and it laid very well across my chest once completed without any major gaping. The little self-ribbons that cinch the shoulder straps also help keep the fit close through the neckline. The straps on the pattern are very long, so depending on where you want the empire waist to fall (higher or lower) you can simply tack the strap end higher or lower on the back bodice piece.
      I was very surprised I didn’t have to do more to this pattern–although my intention was for it to be a quickie without any special fitting. Luckily I had worked with a very similar New Look pattern previously. You’ll see it on my blog as well: the grey linen sundress. The bodice pieces are essentially the same between these two patterns, yet for the linen dress I had to take some volume out of the neckline in the pattern. I’m not sure why it wasn’t necessary to do so in my maxi dress.
      I have very broad shoulders and back, am slightly narrower across the front chest under the bust, but with a full bust (American DDs/Euro E). This pattern is so easy, that if you’re at all in doubt after reading this about whether you’ll need a FBA, I highly recommend a quick muslin.

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