Sunday, May 03, 2020

A Black & White Maxi Shirtdress

As I stated before my cut pile is doing nothing for me right now...nothing!  I found when I pulled some different fabrics and started using them my sewjo came back. This fabric was one of the ones that sparked joy...

This linen/cotton blend was purchased from Fabric Mart's online store last year or the year before. I don't remember but it was a recent purchase because it's in the new fabric piles. 

I was really excited to work with this fabric because the maxi shirt dress I envisioned would be different from the print, chambray/denim and stripe fabrics I've previously used. I thought I had enough fabric until I laid it out. And then the angst began because it's shorter than I expected meaning I had to change to my vision. I HATE when that happens!

Supply List ~
3 yards black/white cotton/linen print from Fabric Mart
.5 yard black cotton shirting
1.5 yard black bias binding remnant
12 5/8" black & white buttons from the collection
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller and Farmhouse Fabrics

Design and Construction ~
Initially I made the decision to make the collar, undercollar, and front facing from black shirting. I wanted to emphasize the black in the print. However, I was short on fabric for sleeves. At first I cut the sleeves using half print fabric/half black shirting but when I put the bodice on the dressform, I realized that they wouldn't work for me.

I really liked it sleeveless.  Since I'm planning to wear it this summer, sleeveless will work so I went with black binding for the armholes.

Not having enough print fabric for pockets, I cut them out in the black shirting. However, when it came time to sew the skirt together, I omitted them.  I'm not really a pocket person, so won't miss them.  I add them to the dresses as they speak to me. This one wasn't speaking loudly.

I always add the interfacing to the bodice of the dresses. When I was making the skirt bodice with a separate button band, I didn't add interfacing because I turned the band three times. More than enough fabric to hold and stabilize a buttonhole right? On my last three makes, I've interfaced the skirt just once - this time. For the cotton sateen the fabric was more than stable enough, the chambray was a toss-up and I went without.  But this linen/cotton was too light and unstable not to interface the front band.

A couple of other design decisions...
I topstitched the collar and undercollar in white thread to tie the look together.

I added some red coloring (sharpie marker after performing a wash test) to several of the flowers on the dress, just because I thought there should be a little red in in it. I like the occasional flashes of red when the dress moves.

After those decisions, it was a simple sew since I've made this so many times before.  Though I can tell you that I'm done sewing buttonholes and buttons for a while.

A Few Pictures ~

I love the drape and flow of this one. It's definitely unlike the previous ones. I have one more to share but I've already moved on. Another maxi dress will be coming to the blog soon since I've made six in total. always more later!


  1. That red sharpie...brilliant!!!! I love these maxi dresses; they look so fun and comfy.

  2. Love your new maxi on you! A wonderful convergence of fabric, style and design decisions to create something unique to you that fits beautifully. :-)

    Of course, I almost can guarantee that if I tried the Sharpie trick, the final result would be a mess of bleeding ink--despite the successful laundering test! Just the way my life tends to work. (sigh)

    It's a wonderful make and it looks like summer! Hope your weather cooperates and you are able to enjoy it for several months this year. :-)

    Summer has arrived in the low Sonoran Desert. Temperatures zipped from about 80F (26.5C) degrees to 100F (37.5C) degrees in less than two weeks. Low humidity, which makes it bearable. Not looking forward to arrival of humidity in July and August. Yuck! lol


  3. The red is genius! Shirt dress swag to the maxi! This is my fav!!!!

  4. I really like this entire look. What a great idea to use a red sharpie to introduce hints of color. Very nice!

  5. I can see why this dress makes you happy. Looks terrific.

  6. LOVE the black collar with white topstitching! This dress is so perfect!

  7. pretty, I love a black and white print like that. always looks so sharp

  8. Oh my gosh those little pops of red! Genius! I never would have thought of it but it looks fantastic. As always, love hearing your thought process as you put another winner together.

  9. The drape of that fabric is lovely! Do you remember what the fiber content is?

  10. The collar is both face framing and elegant; that little bit of white thread elevates the dress into "bridge sportswear".

    1. Testosterone - I haven't heard the term "bridge sportswear" in awhile! Do department stores even have that designation anymore? Thank you for calling my dress upscale made me smile!

  11. In spite of (or maybe because of) your dress came out perfect! So cool and refreshing for summer.

  12. I just love how you have found a pattern you like and made so many variations of it. That is my current aim with a short sleeved top, I am experimenting with a few different ways.

  13. I agree that the pops of red added by the Sharpie are just perfect! I will file that tip away...your dress turned out beautifully!

  14. Very nice touch with the Sharpie. They are great tools in the sewing cave. I hear you on the cut pile. I did that years ago and would just lose my enthusiasm at that cut stage if I didn't sew things immediately as the fire of passion for the project was flaming. Now it's one at a time and go for it. I am glad you grabbed those fabrics and got your mojo back and ran with it. That's what's important in these times of isewlation.


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