Maxi Dress Pattern Hack Tutorial

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Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity

So if you follow me on Instagram (@mabeyshemadeit), you’ll remember that I promised I’d show you how to make the maxi dress I wore to SNAP! conference. That day has finally arrived–I haven’t been able to get good photos in it until now.

A while back I found these jersey sheets at Target on clearance, and I snatched them up. I think this one was a Full and only cost me $7. If you’ve priced jersey knit before, you know that $7 for SEVERAL YARDS of fabric is a great deal. I haven’t calculated how much yardage there is, but I have so much left after a full maxi dress that it’s amazing (I didn’t even touch the fitted sheet and there’s a bunch left of the flat sheet). I’m still excited about my find, as you can tell.

So I had in my mind that I wanted to make a maxi dress from this sheet set and spent some time thinking about how I wanted it to look. I bounced back and forth between a cross-over yoke and a simple scoop neck, and finally went with a scoop neck because the necklaces I have to wear with it would look better with that neckline. Awesome way to decide, right? (Side Note: I often decide my outfit based from the shoes I feel like wearing that day. I know my priorities.)Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity

Anyway, after I’d decided on a scoop neck, I needed to think about how to make a maternity-friendly maxi dress that I’d still be able to wear afterwards. I want to wear it for a long time! I also wanted to use as much existing hem from the sheets as possible–because I’m lazy like that and because it was 2 days before SNAP! and I still had a TON of things to do to get ready. With those factors in mind, here’s how I created my maxi dress.

Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity

You’ll Need:

Making a Maxi Dress from a Sheet

  1. Decide where you want your bodice and skirt to meet on your body. Since I’m pregnant, I pretty much had to have mine meet right under the bust for it to look like, but if you’re not pregnant, you have more options (hurray!).Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity
  2. Lay out your pattern pieces on your jersey knit, and cut a front and back bodice piece. You’ll make your bodice as long as you decided in Step 1. This meant shortening the bodice in my case.
  3. Cut out sleeves (if you want them) and any other parts you may need for the top of the dress (the Penelope Peplum calls for facings and interfacing in addition to the sleeves). I made sure to use the sheet hem as my sleeve hems too.
  4. To cut the skirt, you’ll need to do a little figuring first. I used 3 measurements to get my skirt shape. First, measure from where you want the skirt to start (under the bust for me) to your desired length (I wanted mine to hit the floor). That’s how long you’ll need to cut your skirt. Next, I took a maxi skirt I already had and used the bottom width to figure out how wide to make the bottom of my skirt.  Third, I measured the width of my bodice back because I didn’t want gathers in the back of my dress so the top width of my skirt needed to be the same as my bodice width.Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity
  5. With those measurements, I cut my back skirt piece, using the sheet hem as the bottom of my skirt.
  6. For the skirt front, I wanted/needed some gathers to add detail and to accommodate my growing belly so I couldn’t just use the same piece. Instead, I took the same length and bottom widths, but to accommodate for the gathers, I needed to make the top of my skirt piece wider. I laid my folded back piece on top of my folded fabric (again using the sheet hem as the bottom) and cut so the bottoms were the same but the front piece was wider at the top. If you don’t want as much gathering as I needed, slope the top to more closely resemble the back piece.Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity
  7. Now we’re ready to sew it up! Sew up your bodice as instructed in your pattern, but don’t hem the bottom.
  8. Sew a gathering stitch along the top of your front skirt piece (here’s a great way for getting perfectly even gathers), and gather it until it’s the same width as your bodice front. Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity
  9. Right sides together, sew your front and back skirt pieces together along the sides.
  10. To attach the skirt to your bodice, put the right sides and raw edges together (so your bodice will be inside your upside-down skirt), pin and sew your bodice and skirt together, matching side seams.
  11. If you want your dress to look more professional (I love it this way), serge all the raw edges, but it’s not necessary as the knit won’t fray.

Ta Da! You did it! Other than figuring out my measurements, this maxi dress was super fast to put together–basically it’s the same as making a modified peplum (which my pattern was to begin with). Simple, easy, and impressive.

And I was so comfortable the whole time I was at my conference, so I was thrilled with my maxi dress-from-a-sheet transformation. And at 32 weeks it’s still going strong.Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity

Now the photo shoot is a different story–I’m such a dork when it comes to photos! So while we were out in the street, a truck came by and the guy gave me a thumbs up…just a lot embarrassing, but you have to be able to laugh at yourself, right?

Maxi Dress Tutorial | Mabey She Made It | #maxidress #tutorial #upcycle #maternity

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30 Comments on Maxi Dress Pattern Hack Tutorial

    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM (1 year ago)

      Thank you Anne! It’s been an incredible couple of days with the help of your link!

      Reply
  1. Stephanie
    Monday, May 19, 2014 at 8:46 AM (1 year ago)

    I have sooo many of those sheet sets it is embarassing – they went down to $4 something at my store! The dress looks so great, I love the way you styled it.
    Stephanie recently posted…Why I CreateMy Profile

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:40 PM (1 year ago)

      $4? That’s awesome! I’d have grabbed more if they’d had them–they only had 2 colors when I was there but I’ve used them both now! And thanks for such a nice comment!

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM (1 year ago)

      Ha! Just think of all the great maxis you could have if you hacked all your favorite top patterns…wow. :) Good thing I have more sheets!

      Reply
  2. Lindsay Shaffer
    Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 7:00 AM (1 year ago)

    This is great! You know I want to go to Target RIGHT NOW to check the clearance aisles, right? Thanks for the tutorial!!
    Lindsay Shaffer recently posted…Gracie Dress TutorialMy Profile

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM (1 year ago)

      Lol, that’s the danger of Target, Lindsay! You always find great stuff, even if it’s not what you went for. :)

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:33 PM (1 year ago)

      Aww, thank you Kathleen! You’re so sweet!

      Reply
  3. Virginia
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM (1 year ago)

    Beautiful dress. I’m passing this along to my daughter who sews. I’m now following you on Instagram!
    Virginia recently posted…Scooter: A DIY Table MakeoverMy Profile

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Virginia! I love the compliment and that you’ve decided to follow–Instagram is my favorite!

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 2:54 PM (1 year ago)

      Aww, thank you, Erica! Love and miss you!

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 2:53 PM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Rachel!

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 2:52 PM (1 year ago)

      Thanks, Amy! Congratulations, and this dress has been so perfect for feeling cute during the last trimester (which is hard to do)

      Reply
  4. Kathy
    Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 7:12 PM (1 year ago)

    that is amazing Lisa! From a sheet! Great job!

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9:18 AM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Kathy! I love how soft and comfy it is!

      Reply
  5. Nienke
    Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 10:50 PM (1 year ago)

    It’s awesome! Looks good on you and the tutorial makes it sound very simple. Of to find some cheap sheets… (that could be a problem where I live)

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9:17 AM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Nienke. It was a much faster project than I’d originally thought, which made me happy. Plus with clearance sheets I knew I had room for error, which always helps in the confidence area. :)

      Reply
  6. Tina
    Monday, May 26, 2014 at 2:16 PM (1 year ago)

    REALLY cute—— and I love the clever use of your sheets! Good on ya! I have a question….. did you pre-wash and how has the dress fared after laundering?
    Tina recently posted…Comment on Ten Days Creative by FrancisMy Profile

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:04 PM (1 year ago)

      Hi Tina, thanks for your comment! Yes, I prewashed the sheets so I didn’t get any shrinkage after I sewed and so far it’s held up great. I wear it often and adore it.

      Reply
  7. Sharlyn
    Friday, May 30, 2014 at 8:17 AM (1 year ago)

    Fantastic dress! Congrats on the little one!

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:41 AM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Sharlyn!

      Reply
  8. laura londergan
    Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:13 AM (1 year ago)

    Super cute dress – love that it’s made from a sheet & I bet it’s super comfy & soft! I only wish I had enough hours in the day to sew things, I so miss it! Sorry I am just getting to this – saw you over on SNAP Show & Tell & wanted to comment before now but been a crazy week! ;)

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Monday, June 9, 2014 at 8:30 AM (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Laura–aking time for sewing can be tricky. I’m so glad you came to say hi!

      Reply
  9. Lisbeth White
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 10:06 AM (1 year ago)

    This is adorable, and is exactly the dress I’ve been craving in my late 2nd trimester. I think it’s the kick in the pants I need to try my hand at sewing knits! Go big or go home, right?

    Reply
    • Lisa
      Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM (1 year ago)

      That’s awesome, Lisbeth! I hope you give it a try–it’s truly so comfy you’ll love it!

      Reply

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