Dream Maxi Dress

One of my make nine projects for this year was to recreate a maxi dress I bought from H&M a few years ago (4, maybe 5?!). A lot of dress patterns I like have gathered skirts, and although I love the bodice, the shape of the skirt just does nothing for me. However this maxi dress has box pleats, and I love the shape on me. I feel great in it!

Casual ‘lift selfie’

So obviously I have set myself the task of recreating it! I studied pattern drafting at university so I have a good idea of where to start, although I wish I had paid a little bit more attention back then!

I skipped the initial process of creating a block and used a pattern I have adapted many times now for various garments (Simplicity 8545). I kept the bodice the same and made the following adjustments:

  • Lengthened the sleeve and used this to draft a bishop sleeve, then added a cuff
  • Lengthened the skirt by 12inches and marked pleats instead of gathers.

I am super happy with the results! It’s the exact shape I was aiming for.

Next time I will start with a bodice block and mark everything without seam allowances so I can get the darts and pleats matching perfectly (they are a couple of millimetres out, but I don’t mind!). I might try adding extra pleats to distribute them more evenly. I’m pretty happy with the sleeves so won’t change them too much.

I am extremely pleased with my invisible zip, it had to make an appearance in here.

I really enjoyed this process, and can’t wait to improve on the design next time. It has inspired me to do some more pattern drafting, and I am going to give kids patterns a go as well. I need to figure out what print to go for next… I have no idea where to start!

My make nine projects so far have done exactly what I was aiming for. I am building on my skills and seeing how much I have improved in the last year, and learning new ones too.

Sharlene x