How to make a shirred maxi dress: (Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to…
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I’ve gotta say, I love how this tiered Maxi-Dress turned out! Ever since I finished the little chevron dress I made for my daughter, I’ve wanted to make one for myself. 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 got around to putting the dress together. A dress like this is really easy to make, 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…)
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.
Cut the bodice to measurement A by measurement B.
Cut main skirt tier according to the diagram below. (Cut 2 pieces)
Sew around the skirt/bodice 1 inch from the edge.
Sew along the raw edge of the seam allowance, 3/8 inch inch from the edge. (This creates the casing.)
Don’t forget to leave an opening to slide the elastic in.
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 saftey pin to thread the elastic through the top casing and secure ends together with the saftey pin.
Measure around waistline (the point where the bodice and skirt come together.) Subtract 1 inch and cut a piece of elastic to this measurement, use a saftey pin to thread the elastic through the top casing and secure ends together with the saftey pin. (This is it for now, we will make final adjustments after the bottom tier is added.)
Step 5: Measure, cut and add 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 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 distribute along the elastic and then make a st right stitch through the elastic at the side seams. (This will keep the elastic from shifting too much.)
Hem the Bottom tier if desired.
My Mom thinks I can ditch the sweater, but I’m not so sure… (Those were her exact words, ha ha.) I do plan on hemming the dress one inch. I haven’t gotten to that yet, I have to change out all the threads on my cover stitch machine, which is a pain. (Unless I want a turquoise hem…)
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