Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Maya Top Maxi Dress

On my social media, anyway, May is THE month for celebrating homemade wardrobes. The last few years I've wanted to join in but with my focus mostly on historic clothing I didn't have much to contribute. This year I decided that I will participate, although in a small way. While I don't have homemade outfits to wear every day I decided to challenge myself to make at least one garment a week to replace something worn out in my current wardrobe. I have sort of run out of sewing momentum and so this is a nice way to keep me productive and focused. (Except for this week. This week has been totally crazy busy!)

The first week of May spring became very summer-like all of a sudden and light clothing became very much needed. I had a favorite summer sundress that has seen many better days. I got this from a thrift store a while ago and have worn it nearly to death the past few summers. I loved it because of the colors, the print, the fact that it doesn't wrinkle and it's floaty and comfortable to wear.
From last summer - I loved wearing this dress!
The last time I wore this dress the thin shoulder straps pulled off yet again and the fabric on the top was fraying more where they needed to be sewn back on. The straps were adjustable with plastic rings and those snapped off on one side. Not to mention, the dress was too large when I bought it and I took it in hastily with uneven darts at each side seam. It was time to retire this favorite dress and make something like it, but better!

I had purchased the Maya Top pattern earlier this year and had bought a length of border printed poly crepe from Wal Mart for a maxi dress. I decided to combine the two to make a great sundress that would be good for the rest of spring, all summer, and into the fall.

The Maya Top has only two main pattern pieces, the front and back. The sleeves are cut on, which is a fantastic feature, the from the shoulders down the garment is not fitted but has a great drape. I had just enough fabric to lengthen the Maya top into a maxi dress, continuing the angle of the side seam down to my desired hem length, but I did cut the back in two pieces instead of one with a seam at center back due to layout on my fabric.

The fabric was pretty horrible to cut. It moved, wiggled, stretched and shrank and was altogether a pain while trying to cut it out. It was a little easier to work with when it came to sewing together. To keep everything tidy, I sewed the shoulder and side seams with french seams. The hem was finished with a narrow hem and the sleeve hems with some cotton crochet lace. I added a visible facing out of the last of the blue linen left from Benjamin's Boone Frock and edged the facing with the same lace. Instead of facing the neckline I bound it with self fabric and added black ribbon ties to close it.

I added self fabric belt ties at the bottom of the facing to give a little
waist definition. 
It has the same loose, floaty feeling of my old dress and the same non-wrinkling, sheer kind of fabric, the same kinds of colors. A plus: No tiny shoulder straps! I like the coverage of full shoulders much better. No visible bra straps! ;)

I still couldn't bear to part completely with my old dress so I cut off the skirt panels and decided to make them into a kaftan-style top. It can be used as a swimsuit cover up, or, as I have been wearing it lately, as a summerweight cardigan over sleeveless dresses. I'm so glad I found a use for this pretty fabric! I even reused those horrid shoulder straps for the front ties. :)

So, for Me Made May Week 1: A Maya Maxi Dress!


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