Easy Maxi

Starting with pre-smocked fabric makes this project easy breezy.  

1.  Measure: chest, straps, front and back length (optional to make it hi-low hemline)

2.  Based on how much the smocked fabric stretches, you may want to reduce the chest measurement 2-5", once you have that circumference, add 2" total for seam allowance (this accounts for french seam at center back). 

3.  With the fabric folded in half, I cut the center back seam straight down, but this is where the dress could be cut A-line and flare out a bit. 

4.  Next mark the CF height and the CB height and draw a curve blended line connecting them. Be sure to have a 90 degree angle at the CB so the hemline doesn't turn out pointy.

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5. Mark 1" for CB seam allowance, then measure from there to CF fold line and mark the side seam. Having these markings, you can mark placement of straps.  I did 2" in from CF and CB.

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6.  Cut straps to size (adding seam allowance).  If they are thinner ribbon, you can fold each end under 1/2" or if they are thicker, you can use bonding tape and bias tape to clean the strap edge before attaching it to the dress.

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7.  Sew straps one at a time to back then loop down and sew the same strap to front.

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Tip: If using non-bulky straps, you can place it bad side to bad side (raw edge of strap placed 1/2" below the top edge and stitch, then flip it up and stitch again), this will conceal the raw edge of the trim.

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8.  Sew CB seam via french seam (this is to keep it clean and avoid fraying without using an overlock machine).  5 needle stitch or single needle with overlock finish is the easiest if you have those machines, in camp we only use a single needle.  

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A) line up CB seam bad side to bad side and stitch 1/2" seam allowance.

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B) Iron seam open

C) Trim off each side separately down to 1/4" 

*Skipping this step makes the end result bulky and messy. 

 

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D) Finish the french seam with a stitch at 1/2" good side to good side, concealing the raw edge completely. 

9) Hem the bottom either by turning the edge up twice and doing a pin hem (requires a little bit of skill if you chose hi-low) or orvelock the edge, do a basting stitch and gather it, then flip up and stitch.  This is because you are sewing on a curved hemline, if the hemline is straight, this step will not be tricky. 

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End result in 3 different fabrications: 

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A looser fit is achieved with the style that has a few rows of smocking at the top and a few more at the waist. 

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Since this was smocked in the entire bodice, it needed more width, for this fabric I would only reduce the chest measurement by 2" to avoid the tighter fit. 

I offered to make it looser for her, but she refuses to take it off for now! 

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Third style uses a cotton, making the dress one again pretty snug, so with this fabrication I would only reduce the chest measurement by 2". 

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She also didn't find these ribbon straps comfy, so I changed them out to the poms (see below) 

 

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