I’ve gotta say; I love how this tiered Maxi-Dress for me turned out!
I’ve wanted to make one for myself since I finished the little chevron dress I made for my daughter. The design of this maxi is really a combination of my boho maxi dress and the sweet summer sundress.
I picked up this pink chevron knit from Girl Charlie a few months ago and finally finished putting the dress together. A dress like this is really easy to make, with no patterns to cut out, just a few measurements and a few straight cuts. (and multiple fittings, ha!)
(Hubby has been chopping up a dead tree in the background. It doesn’t make for the prettiest photos, but it was one of the few spots left in the yard where I could get a tiny bit of sunlight and not be seen by people driving by…)
Would you like to make a Maxi Dress for yourself? Here are the instructions:
Materials needed for the Tiered Maxi Dress
- +/- 3 yards of 54+ inch wide knit fabric
- 1/2 inch elastic
- ball point needle (a walking foot helps too)
- ruler, scissors, measuring tape
- basic sewing supplies
Step 1: Get measurements and cut fabric.
- Measurement A: For the length of the bodice, measure from your armpit to where you want the bodice to end. Add 2.25 inches to this measurement.
- Measurement B: For the width of the bodice: measure around the fullest part of your bust. Add 4 inches to this measurement.
- Measurement C: For the main tier length, measure from where the bodice will end to where you want the dress to end. Add 1.5 inches to this measurement.
- Measurement D: (you might want to wait to take this measurement until you have put most of the dress together) Measure from the bottom of the 2nd tier to where you want the dress to end. If you are planning to hem the dress, add .75 inches, if not, only add .25 inches to the measurement.
- Bodice: Cut the bodice to measurement A by measurement B.
- 1st Skirt tier: Cut the main skirt tier according to the diagram below. (Cut two pieces)
- 2nd tier: I recommend waiting to cut this piece until you are ready to attach it. That way, you get the perfect length for you.
Step 2: Assembling the bodice and main tier:
Right sides together, sew the side seam of the bodice together. No need to finish the seams today since we are working with knit fabric.
To create the top casing, fold the top edge of the bodice over 1 inch. Sew around the top, 5/8 inch from the edge.
Leave a 1.5-inch opening to slide the elastic through.
Right sides together, sew the side seams of the main skirt tier together.
Step 3: Add the middle/waistline casing:
Line up the bottom of the bodice and the top of the main tier, right sides together.
Sew around the skirt/bodice 1 inch from the edge.
Open up the skirt and bodice (right side facing down.) Fold the 1-inch seam allowance over so it faces up (toward the bodice.)
Sew along the raw edge of the seam allowance, 3/8 inch from the edge. (This creates the casing.)
Don’t forget to leave an opening to slide the elastic in.
How the casing looks from the front:
Step 4: Measure, cut, and add the elastic.
Measure above your bust-line, right under the armpit.
Subtract 1 inch and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement. Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the top casing and secure the ends together with the safety pin.
Measure around your waistline (at the point where the bodice and skirt come together.)
Subtract 1 inch and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement. Use a safety pin to thread the elastic through the top casing and secure the ends together with the safety pin. (This is it for now, we will make final adjustments after the bottom tier is added.)
Step 5: Measure, cut and add the final tier.
Try on the dress and get measurement D. (From step 1.)
Cut the final tier to measurement D by 90 inches wide. (You may need to piece together 2 pieces to get this width.)
Gather the top edge of the 2nd tier and attach it to the 1st tier. (If you need help gathering, see the instructions in step 3 of my sweet spring sundress tutorial.)
If desired, finish this seam edge with a serger or zig-zag on a regular sewing machine. Press the seam allowance up and top-stitch along the edge.
Step 6: Final adjustments.
Try on the dress and make adjustments as needed to the elastic. (The final tier adds weight to the dress so you may need to tighten the elastic.)
Use a tight zig-zag stitch and sew the edges of the elastic together.
Trim any excess and close the casings.
Make sure the fabric is evenly distributed along the elastic, and then make a stitch, right through the elastic, at the side seams. (This will keep the elastic from shifting around too much.)
Hem the bottom tier if desired.
My Mom thinks I can ditch the sweater (those were her exact words, ha ha.), but I’m not so sure. Maybe, if I can find a minimizing strapless bra. (update, I finally found one!)
Let me know if you make one! You can share your pictures and links in my private Facebook sewing group.
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.