DIY: 30 Minute Maxi

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Maxi dresses are one of my favorite styles for Spring & Summer.  
They are effortless, breezy, stylish, and incredibly easy to dress up or down. 

I have always loved the look, but my height posed a challenge to finding a long-enough dress. Last year, I gave up and decided to make my own, and I ended up loving the results!  

Last weekend I decided to whip together another maxi with this super colorful fabric, and I have already worn it more times than I can count... 

This dress is amazingly easy, and with basic sewing skills & a sewing machine you could easily finish within 30 minutes.  With zero sewing skills it may take about an hour or two, but thats still less time than it takes to navigate the mall!

Fabric - 1 to 2 yards depending on your height
1 tank top, t shirt or blouse 
Sewing Machine
Scissors & Pins

- You need fabric that is long enough to touch the floor and wide enough to very loosely wrap around your waist
- The easiest way to measure for the skirt is to wrap the width of the fabric around your waist, and measure the length from your bra-line to the floor, adding about an inch for seam allowance. Have the store employee cut the length based on the height you just measured!
- You can use any type of top you want, it just depends if you want it sleeved, sleeveless, fitted or loose..
- I highly recommend using jersey knit; it doesn't fray, so there is no need to hem the bottom!  Hallelujah!
- Instead of trying to fit the waist perfectly, I usually just pop on a belt to do the work for me.
- The directions below look really long, but I was just trying to be detailed.  Don't be scared!

1. Gather all your supplies!
2. Measure on your top where you want the skirt to begin.  I usually put the top on and measure from the armpit down to my natural waist, and mark it.  Use a measuring tape to make sure both sides are even. Measure twice..cut once!
3. Use scissors or a rotary blade to carefully cut off the bottom portion of your top
4. Voila!  You have created the top of your maxi dress!

5. Lay out your skirt fabric hot dog style (long ways) and carefully pin the sides together.  
6. Sew the sides together to create a long tube.. aka, the skirt.  I wanted a slit, so i left the bottom two feet of the tube open.  
7. This is the trickiest step... Turn your skirt right side out. Turn your top inside out.  Good? Okay. Slip the inside out shirt onto the skirt as shown in the photo, which the bottom of the top near the top of the skirt. The nice side of the skirt fabric should be touching the nice side of the top. Make sure to match up the part of the skirt you want in the front of the dress with the front part of the top.  I wanted my slit on the side, so I lined up my top appropriately.  Now, carefully pin the sides, fronts, and backs together to make sure the pieces stay lined up (Just use 4 pins - 2 on the sides, 1 in front, 1 in back). Make sure to just pin the top to the skirt, and not the skirt to the skirt. 
8. Go around the skirt and carefully make pleats in the skirt so that it is the same diameter as the top.  The 4 pins from step 7 will help keep the gathering consistent as you go around the waist. To make a pleat, just pinch a small amount of skirt fabric, fold it over to one side, and pin in place.  If one area looks too bunched or spaced out, just remove a couple pins, and re-do the pleats in that section. 

9. Take some time to make sure the pleats are even all the way around, and that the top didn't get bunch up on the other side from your pins. Trust me- the pleats don't need to be perfect, the gathering can disguise many mistakes!!
10. Carefully sew the gathered skirt to the top & you are done!  Maxi dress complete!

Questions, comments, concerns?! 
Let me know!

See the original post here!


  1. I LOVE this!!! I am from the group giveaway by the way.. just creeping :) I am 6' tall so I am always looking for long dresses. I need to try this! so excited!