Tuesday, June 30, 2015

One, Two, Three, Four Maxi Dresses in a Row...

I want to start the conversation about these dresses talking about my body, my perceptions of my body and how I choose to dress it.

See the thing about sewing for yourself and then posting your pictures on the internet is that you've opened yourself up to criticism as well as praise from others. But here's the thing...the criticism, whether about your weight, your shape, or how you choose to dress your body, is just someone else's opinion.  

They haven't walked in your shoes. They don't know your experiences and how it affects how you see yourself. They can't even participate in your day to day life experiences, to see whether the dress or garment will work for you. So in actuality it's just an opinion or as dictionary.com defines it - "a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty."

I say this because I truly believe that I look better in long, straight garments. Yes, I'm learning that a closer fit works well for me but I will never IN MY OPINION look good in a dress with a bodice and a gathered waistline. To me, it emphasizes my bottom half and not in a flattering way.  My bottom half is the part I want to de-emphasize. But that's me...and my opinion and the opinion that counts the most since I'm sewing for myself.

A little about the construction of these dresses~
So with that said, these last three dresses are made using McCalls 6559. The ITY knit maxi dresses fit completely different than the ponte version did.  For one they are lighter and the fabric was a little more challenging to cut. Two, it's gonna take me a little to wear them alone...they will probably be worn with a sweater or topper over them for waist definition and to cover some of that arse I'm rocking! Because that sure didn't seem to have gone anywhere when I dropped a few pounds!

Otherwise the construction is exactly the same as the black ponte one except I did not serge the seams.  Why? They are knits and won't ravel. The distinguishing thing about these maxi dresses is solely the fabric.  I made three of them out of distinctive prints so that the prints speak loudly enough that most people will probably ignore the similarity of each dress.

Red/brown/black polka dot version ~
Somehow the neckline stretched out a little with this one.  I could have tamed it but I liked how it forms a slight v so I let it be. The neckline and armholes are finished with a line of stitching as is the hemline. This one does not have the bias fusible stay tape added to it.

One more thing...this is an ITY knit from my fabric collection purchased from Fabric Mart. I bought 3 yards at $5.99 per yard so total cost to make was $18. It is the lightest of the three maxi dresses.





Bold printed version ~
The challenge of this dress was cutting out the border print so that it wrapped around my body. I wanted the print on the same side on the front and back...and remarkably it worked. I've had it go epically wrong in the past, so I'm really thrilled this one is fine! To me that's the interesting factor of this maxi dress. 

More fabric from the collection from Fabric Mart (it's hard to beat their sales!) was used to make the dress. This one cost $5.99 per yard and again I bought 3 yards so total cost to make was $18.






The border print version ~
I cut this one using the border print at the bottom of the dress.  A simple use of a great border print...but again making the print the central feature of the maxi dress. This dress is a little shorter than the other two because of the distinct border print.  It had large 2" white bands at the top and the bottom of the print so I lost inches at the bottom of the dress but gained some interesting details at the top in the front and back.

This ITY knit is a little heavier than the red/brown/black dotted one, which is really light, and the bold printed fabric which was a medium weight ITY. The fabric is also from Fabric Mart and cost $4.49 a yard, and I purchased 3 yards so total cost for this one is $13.50.





Conclusion ~
All of these will work well for my upcoming vacation and were cheaper to make than purchasing them from retail.  They were also fast to sew, seriously fast! I made all three of these and the ponte one that was in the last post in two days! They will even wear well to my day job with a topper.  

I want to make a couple of linen or cotton voile high/low maxi dresses next. I even have a pattern picked out. I just have to rumble through the fabric collection to find some interesting prints. I may be a little late to climb on board this fashion trend but I'm here now and I'm going for it! 

...as always more later!





62 comments:

  1. My favorite is the maxi with the pink paisley print. That being said, all are very nice, and easy to wear for vacation or work. I enjoy reading about your sewing choices and your confident approach to dressing your body. It's very inspiring.

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  2. These are so beautiful dresses!!!

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  3. You look fantastic in these beautiful dresses. I always look forward to seeing your creations. You are so talented.

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  4. You look lovely in all of these. I love when you get creative with how you use border prints. It makes for such interesting garments in the end.

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  5. Well, you rock this pattern! Have a great vacation :)

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  6. Wow, this are all fabulous. Your use of the border prints is really creative and you get great results. Enjoy that vacation!

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  7. Your dresses are beautiful...especially the polka dot...my favorite. You're not too late to climb on board with this fashion trend...at least I sure hope not because that's what I've been making! People out this way didn't get into maxi's too much until this spring...now I'm seeing them everywhere. Yay!!!!

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  8. Your efforts have been so worth it! Love those maxis on you. That pattern is such a versatile one. It would easily adapt to a v-neck version , which would look stunning on you & even to maybe a knotted at the bottom of the v making all eyes on your top half & your bum is not half as bad as you think!I love the print versions. Its not many people that can really carry them off & you do it well. Have a great week.x

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  9. Totally agree. You should sew to your taste. Besides, people who're negative may not have style you aspire to anyway, even if they have same body shape.

    As for long dresses on you I wonder if it's the same sort of visual trick as Japanese kimonos. I always wonder how Japanese women in kimonos look trim even when they're not, especially when their thick & stiff obi belts would theoretically widen their waists. I think mabye it's because the belt actually help the vertical silhoutte dominate visually, so one ends up looking taller/slimmer. It's just one style option though. Other silhouettes can look damn good too!

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  10. I love them all , but I'm a border print girl myself so I love how you used that in a different way. Great job & love that you live life as you are. wish we could all do that.
    Where do you get the iron on bias you used on the arm ?

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  11. I love all these iterations--you look so comfortable and cool. Very nice work!

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  12. Awesome wardrobe additions.

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  13. I just came to say that the print placements are SPOT ON. I love them

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  14. I can't pick a favourite, you look great in all of these. Gotta love a maxi dress, they're so comfortable.

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  15. lsn't it great to sew up a pattern that you know will be flattering and fits? All of your cute maxi dresses will pack well and be perfect for your vacation plus all summer long. Karen

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  16. All your maxi's look great. The border print version is my favorite.

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  17. Love them all! Especially the blue border print, though.

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  18. Just beautiful!!! I love them all!! The fabrics are amazing and your use of the border prints is so clever!!! One of my favorite patterns!!!

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  19. They all look great on you. I Especially like the border prints.

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  20. These are great! I was going to ask if you could wear them to work. It's certainly different from your last job! These are great and I too love the large print dress best. You've really laid it out to advantage. Very striking.

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  21. I've wanted to sew a maxi dress like these forever. Now I'm even more determined to make it happen after seeing so many amazing versions from you. You look great!!!

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  22. dressing is about the "art of illusion" and is defined by the person wearing the clothing - we all have great things we like about our bodies and things that we hate. You are spot on about "opinions" and you need not incorporate anything anyone says into your sewing or your resulting wardrobe. The dresses look nice - you did a great job with the prints maximizing the effect.

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  23. Well done!!! You are looking wonderful!!!

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  24. So nice! The border print on the side dress is my favorite, followed by the border print on the bottom. I love border prints! And I have to say - based on the swatch of the red/black fabric you showed on IG, I didn't think I'd like that one, but I really do! They all look fantastic.

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  25. Beautiful dresses! This is one of my favorite patterns too. I've used it for every female member of my family, except one daughter who doesn't like maxi dresses on herself. You elevated this pattern to new heights with your placement of the border prints. Great job!

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  26. All of these dresses are lovely. You look great in the maxi dress. Enjoy your vacation!

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  27. You picked some great prints for your maxis. They look great on you.

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  28. Since Feedly imploded, I've lost contact with a lot of my favorite blogs, including yours. I have to say that you look great! I am so pleased that you're happy and looking wonderful.

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    1. What? Feedly is not working now? This is news since I use bloglovin' when I use it! *LOL* I'm so old school that I still read from people's blog rolls as well as my own!

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  29. Love all of them.. But, the border print is my favorite..Oh so pretty.. Excellent sewing job. Hope you have a wonderful vacation.

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  30. All of the dresses are beautiful,fantastic and look good on you.

    For one minute I thought I was in church Amen.:)

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  31. You continue to amaze me. All three dresses are perfect for work or pleasure. Try the star with stripes. It looks very nice too.

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    1. Rita that's a nice idea but there's no way that I'm putting a big ole star on the side of my body that points to my belly...uh-uh no way! *smile*

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  32. Great dresses and you look Maaahhvelous!

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  33. The dresses are lovely! I've always admired your sewing skills and how well your choices flatter your shape.

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  34. My favorite is the red/brown/black combination.

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  35. Carolyn, I've followed your blog for some time now...it's one of my few favourites ;)
    Reading that some choose to critique your makes boggles my mind. You have been an incredible source of inspiration. Your enthusiasm and creativity brightens my day; there's always something your up to that makes me happy. I love the definition of the word 'opinion' you provided, I'm going to write that down!
    All your pics are genuine, not affected in any way, just pure and honest...so refreshing :)
    I admire your spirit and am thankful you decided to share your journey.
    Enough gushing...except...you look fab in those maxis!

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  36. Those are all pretty. I stopped posting my pictures because I don't like the criticism. I believe as you do that a gathered waist emphasizes the lower parts, and for someone who isn't twig thin, that isn't good. Congrats on the weight loss, even though it forces you to part with some much loved clothing!

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  37. I am a maxi dress fan and I love your print fabric - they look fantastic. They will so versitile with different toppers (that sounds like ice cream!)

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  38. Since no one has spoken up for the red dots, I'll say that it's my favorite. All the placements of the design elements are smart, but I really like that diagonal look going in the red one.

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  39. You have been quite busy! All 4 dresses are wonderful.

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  40. I think you look wonderful in your maxi dresses...you know what? You look another stone (what's that in U.S. lbs...I don't know) lighter.....I think the extra length is so becoming on you....and as a 5' nothing size 20 I agree that gathered waists are a no no.
    Well done and have a great vacation!

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  41. Love them all! You look absolutely amazing wearing these. The two on the far right are my favorites.

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  42. I love these dresses! I'm going to to definitely give this pattern another try in the sleeveless version and maybe add a little to the side seams. I want mine to skim my body like yours do, my original ones were too fitted for my taste.

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  43. I love every single one of them!

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  44. Well that's a whole holiday wardrobe sorted. I am off on Saturday and struggling to even make an extra pair of shorts - so I am in awe of your productivity. In my opinion, which is of course, just an opinion is that it is very important to feel comfortable and yourself in your clothes. But I feel that all of these have the effect of lengthening and slimming you. The long black column is especially good with the lighter cardigan. But all of them are great, especially where you have managed to organise the fabric creatively. My personal favorite is the black with the white lacy border print. I also like the way the horizontal line works on the red number. These are just very flattering, nice to wear, easy to pack items. Super work Carolyn.

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  45. You are such a master at making beautiful dresses using border prints. All three dress look fab on you.This style is very flattering. Have a wonderful vacation!

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  46. These are beautiful. And for what it's worth, I really like your style! I personally do not like how I look in dresses that gather at the waist for the same reasons you mention. Good for you for knowing what works for you and sticking to it!

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  47. You look - and are - SO AWESOME!
    Especially in those ahmaaazing op-art red polka dots ;-)
    sincerely,
    Ae

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  48. Love all the dresses on you Carolyn - and I totally agree with what you said about "opinions"... bottom line "If you like it, then wear it" :-) :-) :-)

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  49. Lovely, easy dresses! Great options for summer!

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  50. I love these!!! You made each one as unique as you are. I know you feel more confident with a topper on, but these fabrics make these dresses look great on you and the patterns are the attention getters, not your curves and bumps. I think you should feel confident and classy because that is the image you are portraying. Have a great vacation!!

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  51. I think you have to wear what you feel confident in whether it matches with "the rules" or not. These dresses look great, I love wearing maxis in the summer and I don't think they are going anywhere just yet so you are not too late!

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  52. Love them all especially the one with the blue border print!!

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  53. I think these dresses look great on you, especially the red and black version -- the diagonal line effect of the print is very flattering. And I am TOTALLY JEALOUS that you found such great deals on your beautiful fabrics! I only ever find ugly fabric on sale! It's like they hide the good stuff when they see me coming... :-) Have a wonderful vacation in your pretty new dresses!

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    1. Rebecca - I highly recommend Fabric Mart for amazing knit fabrics. Almost every interesting knit in my collection has come from there. They run amazing sales and their fabric turns over quickly so nothing is stale there. Try them for awesome inexpensive but high quality prints.

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  54. I think you look fabulous. For what its worth, the border print dress if my favorite of the four. I plan to steal the idea of using both ends in one lovely dress.

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  55. These are so good! I love them all, but I *think* the red one is my favorite!

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  56. I totally get how you feel about dressing your body. I lost a lot of weight several years ago and now have "flags" on my upper arms--and there is NO way I'll go sleeveless! I think you always look lovely in your clothes!

    Gail D.

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