Well, I did it again. I made another one of BurdaStyle’s Twisted Maxi Dresses out of one of Mood Fabric’s silk jerseys. And, there was no oops about it. I got so much use out of my first silk jersey maxi dress this summer that I just had to make another to carry me through fall and winter. Silk jersey is a delight to wear (seriously, I feel like I’m in pajamas when I wear these dresses yet they both look really pulled together), and the gathers in the front of this dress make it perfect for expanding over my ever-growing baby bump.
This time around I used this taupe and black geometric silk jersey print. To winterize the pattern I shortened the length and added sleeves. Both modifications were fairly easy. I simply chopped many, many (too many!) inches off the hem to convert the dress into an above-the-knee length, and I wrote about how I modified the pattern to fit sleeves on my personal sewing blog here.
Sewing with the silk jersey was straightforward. I tend to switch back and forth between my regular sewing machine and my serger depending on what I think a particular seam needs, and this silk jersey handled itself beautifully in both machines. The hardest part was thinking about pattern matching, particularly along the center front seam of the dress. This seam is typically hidden in the gathers, but my baby belly is now large enough that the gathers are almost non-existent! Therefore, I knew this seam would sit front and center every time I wore this dress this season. Perhaps I could have fudged the pattern a bit and cut the front out on the fold, but since it does slightly taper in as it goes up, I just went for it. I cut each piece on a single layer, paying careful attention first to matching the horizontal repeat, and then to making sure the stitching line on the seam was falling symmetrically down the vertical pattern. When stitched together, the seam creates a vertical row of ovals that are thinner near the top, pretty close to perfect near the center, and wider at the bottom. Can you see it in the photo above? Finding the seam is probably easiest near the hem where the ovals get wider. But, overall, I think the fabric’s print and the pattern’s gathers and drapes still hide it pretty well.
Since I shortened the dress, I also shortened the ties by the same amount. I liked the way the long ties looked in the maxi version, but sitting on them over and over often made them come untied. The shorter ties aren’t nearly as dramatic, but they’re cute and functional, and I really appreciate that they stay tied!
I think my added sleeve works really well to pull this dress into the fall and winter. I used the Sewaholic Renfrew three-quarter sleeve pattern (which I’ve made loads of times in the past – see here for an MSN example), and I know I’ll get lots more wear out of this dress with sleeves, especially this season, than I would if I’d tried to make it work sleeveless.
Finally, about the hem – though I am really pleased with the little bit the hem band adds to the dress, it was not part of the original design. Even though I measured twice before deciding how much needed to be cut off to convert the maxi dress into an above-the-knee length dress, my measurement still ended up being off. When I tried on the dress when it was mostly together, I was shocked and a bit embarrassed by how short it was. Now that I’ve reached my mid-thirties, I’m finding it’s harder to pull off short skirts! The easiest solution seemed to be to add a hem band, but I was not about to try to match the printed pattern. So, I dug through my stash and found some of Mood’s black jersey leftover from my Cavalli Cowl. A quick serge later, and my dress was just the length I wanted. And, it had a cute hem band to boot.
My husband and I had such a fun morning taking these photos since we used it as an excuse to explore a new area of Seattle. When we left our house, we knew it was going to be windy, but we hadn’t realized just how windy it would be near the water. Here are some of the outtakes to prove that we were nearly blown over!
And, one final shot of the growing baby bump. I wonder how big it’s going to be next month?!