Maxi Dress Tutorial

I made a dress today.

Has anyone else been inspired recently by watching "Fashion Star"?
I have.
It has been fun to see the unique designs each week. I love that the maxi dresses are so popular this season because I think they are just fantastic!
Well, as luck would have it my sister gave me some beautiful fabrics this week to "play with".
Since I was feeling inspired I decided to make myself a maxi dress. And here it is:
 I didn't have a pattern so I just did what comes naturally.... I made it without one. These are the two pieces of daisy fabric. they are soft and textured, with lace in between the flowers. The fabric is very forgiving because it has a bit of stretch and elasticity to it.
 Since the pieces were finished on the edges with a beautiful scallop detail I didn't have to hem for the top and bottom of the dress. Yay! The two pieces were approximately 50" x 33".

The first thing I did was pin the pieces, right sides together and sew them together (basically making one long tube). I used a slight zig zag stitch since my fabric is a bit stretchy.

Next, I put the tube on and measured where I wanted to create a high waist line (for me it was 9" down from the top.

And this is where I got to do something really fun called shirring.
It is a wonderful technique that I will definitely be using again! I got all of my information on how to do it from this wonderful website called Make it and Love it .
Click here to see: http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2011/11/sewing-tip-shirringsmocking-with-elastic-thread.html

I did six rows of shirring along the high waist line (starting 9" down from the top and making rows using my presser foot as the guide for spacing each row)

I also added shirring to the top of the dress, this time doing 3 rows so it wouldn't be loose and gape open when I bend over or whatever. ;)
Then I added a couple of very simple black velvet and lace straps.


Now, remember when I said the dress was one long tube when I first put it together.
Well, after all of the shirring was complete I had to try it on again for fitting and it was rather loose. So I pinned it to the desired fit and then, with the dress inside out, I sewed a new seam on each side to create a more snug fit in the top and waist allowing the new seam to gradually taper back to the original seam at the hips. Then I trimmed the excess fabric. *Note: remember to add a zig zag stitch to finish your seams if you are not using a serger. This will secure your edges and prevent excessive fraying.

 Since my fabric was a bit sheer I needed a full length slip or under-dress to go with it. Fortunately, I had just the thing that came with another long sheer dress I own....perfect! Yay!
 Here is the scalloped detail along the botttom edge.
So pretty.
I must say, I'm in love with how this dress came out....and so was my husband ;)

I made it in one afternoon and wore it out on a dinner date the same night!