Bias Maxi Dress tutorial March 27, 2014 – Posted in: Sewing, Tutorials
I am so excited to be sharing in the Straight Lines and Angles series at If Only They Would Nap! Jess is my sewing soul Mama, since she too has a crew of 4 tiny humans ridiculously close together in age, and they’re the same approximate ages! She’s been a treasure to have in my corner and I’m so blessed to call her my friend. She’s showing off her amazingness in the Project Run & Play competition!! Head over really quick and vote for her super sweet Sharp as a Shark outfit! I’ll wait.
Voted? Sweet! Now let’s get back to my straight lines and angles dress!
I’ve been wanting to make this dress for some time and I was so happy to finally have a reason to devote the time to figuring it out. Summers are hard for Sofia–for some reason when she gets hot, her back gets hot. And once her back is hot, she’s pretty much inconsolable until she can cool it off. At home that involves removing clothes, but that’s obviously not an option in public! I’ve been thinking of ways to offer her modest, backless clothes for this summer, and while that probably seems like an oxymoron, I’ve done it twice now!
She’s very into maxi dresses and I’m very into bias tape, so combining them seemed like the recipe for dress perfection.
I adore this dress! The bias is made from the same print as the blue fabric but in a different color way. It’s a very lightweight cotton that seems like it will be so cool to wear when the weather is unbearably hot.
This sweet bias maxi dress took no time to sew together. And I pulled it off in a size 5 out of just one yard of fabric!
To make your own bias maxi you’ll need to first make your bodice pattern piece. To create mine I first took a few measurements.
I knew I wanted the pieces to overlap, so I measured 1.25″ to the side from the middle of her ribs right at the base of her sternum (there’s a little hole there you can feel). To get measurement A I started there and measured up towards her opposite shoulder as high as I wanted the piece to go.
Measurement B started in the same place but went straight across the body to the midpoint between her front and back. And measurement C starts at the side and goes up to the point of the bodice piece, then wraps around the back of the neck, high across the back, and attaches to the opposite bodice piece at the side.
Translated onto paper it looks like this (this is a size 5). Funny enough, the top angle is about 50*.
So I cut my pieces out of the fabric as mirror images. Remember to flip your pattern piece so you don’t end up with 2 of the same side!
Then make several yards of bias tape. You could buy it, but that would take some of the whimsy out of the dress. When I’m sewing bias over bias, I like to cut some out of the middle to reduce bulk.
Sew 2 pieces to the straight sides of your bodice pieces.
Attach a piece of bias your C measurement to the armhole side.
Cut your side at an angle (I did this the wrong way first. Do what I say, not as my picture shows. Cut it so it’s pointing to the back like \ instead).
And attach the end of the bias that comes from the opposite bodice piece.
Make sure your pieces of bias are flat and crisscross properly.
Mark the center of the dress and make sure each bottom point is off 1.25″ so the front pieces overlap. Baste in place. Set the top aside.
For the skirt I simply cut the fabric off even and used the rest of the yard. I serged the top and bottom and leaving the selvege, placed right sides together and sewed down the long side. Press the seam open and fold down 1/2″ and iron.
Place that seam at one side and mark the opposite side with a pin. Your skirt is now two halves.
Run a wide gathering stitch along the folded down edge of one half. Place right sides together, match edges, and sew the bodice to the skirt at 1/2″ seam allowance, so you’re stitching on that iron crease.
On the back half, stitch at 3/8″ seam allowance and create a casing. Feed a piece of elastic through the casing (I used 7.5″) and tack down in each side seam. Follow the stitching around and top stitch the gathers to the dress along the front.
Sew a hem in the bottom and you’re ready to go!
Thanks so, so much for having me, Jess! I really love my angular bodice accentuated with straight lines of bias. It’s the perfect stylish summer dress for my sweet girl and her hot back!
Make sure you check out the other amazing looks in the series and enter for your chance to win a great prize pack!!
Karie S. March 27, 2014 - 19:14
how cute!! Love it!
Marina March 30, 2014 - 19:11
That’s a really pretty dress. The fabric is perfect as well…..
Emiy April 11, 2014 - 22:00
I love this… such a sweet dress! I just want wanted to let you know that I’ve put together a post called 20+ free sewing patterns for kids and this is part of it!! I’ve spread the word all around and I hope you will see some extra visits ;o) Emily
Kathy June 12, 2014 - 22:02
Beautiful! I’d love to make one for my granddaughter (size 5!), but don’t have her here to measure. What length did you use for the straps? I could make them a bit longer and put in some elastic, but I don’t want to go too short. 🙂
Melissa June 13, 2014 - 12:07 – In reply to: Kathy
Let me measure them and get back to you, Kathy! 🙂
Kathy June 14, 2014 - 00:22
Thanks hon! I know Lexie would love a dress that looks like Mama’s! 🙂
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