Maxi dresses. They are all over for summer fashion and so comfortable and easy for anyone, any body type to wear and feel great in. While gathering inspiration I saw so many maxi skirt and maxi dress tutorials they inspired me to make my own, maternity style of course!
Being so far along in my pregnancy (36 weeks in this photo!) I also wanted something that would transition to my post-delivery body and allow me to nurse easily in.
I decided to create a Maternity Maxi Tank Dress. My first stop was to purchase a tank top. The beautiful berry colored tank was on clearance at my local Target for $5. Perfect! Second stop was finding a fabric. I cheated a little bit as I had had this Sis Boom fabric in my head for a while waiting for an excuse to purchase it and make something from it. Luckily when the fabric arrived the tank top matched perfectly! To give me enough to work with I measured around my “waist” 1 1/2 times. I ended up ordering two yards to be safe and put a little of this delicious fabric in my stash.
Next step is preparing the tank top for sewing. I put the tank top on and marked with pins where I wanted the skirt to sit when sewn on. Turning the tank top wrong side out I laid it on a nice flat surface. A lot of the maxi tank dresses I’ve seen have some puckering or rippling where the skirt attaches to the tank top. Not a big deal but I really wanted a professional looking, handmade-not-homemade finish.
To fix this I used a strip of knit fusible iron-on interfacing about 3″ wide and ironed it in the area where the skirt was going to attach to the tank top. Using knit fusible interfacing still allows the tank top to stretch but also adds some stability to the fabric so the rippling is lessened or is completely non-existent.
The final step in preparing the tank top is to mark on the interfacing a sewing line for your skirt to follow. Using a ruler I created this line approximately 4″ from the bottom of the armhole. Your line may be a different measurement from the arm hole based on where you made your original skirt markings from trying your tank top on.
Now for the skirt! I’ve never been a gathered waist girl. Especially at a time when I do not need the visual bulk of gathering adds I opted to create this maternity maxi tank dress with a pleated skirt top. Also, as I mentioned in the beginning I want to be able to wear this post-delivery so pleats for me are a much more flattering option both ways. Begin by sewing the fabric right sides together from selvage to selvage. Finish the seam.
Find the center of your skirt top and mark it with a pin. The center of your skirt top will be directly opposite of your seam. With wrong sides together sew 2″ from the top of your skirt down parallel to the fold and create a box pleat. From this first pleat measure 5″ on each side of the pleat and mark with a pin at each location. These will be the two new fold lines for two new pleats. For each new pleat keep wrong sides of the fabric together and fold at the pin. Sew 2″ down from the selvage and 1 1/2″ away from the fold. Continue creating these box pleats until you have used up all the fabric.
Press the box pleats flat and baste 1/4″ away from the selvage to hold in place.
Match the stitching line on the top of the skirt to the line you drew on your tank top making sure to have the wrong side of the skirt pinned to the right side of the tank top. Pin the skirt to the tank top stretching very little where you need to. This little bit of stretching will act as the ease so the dress allows you to move but still holds the shape and size you originally measured for.
Sew in place along the basting line on your skirt. Don’t worry about the selvage, we will be covering that up with the tie! This gives us the benefit of the full width of the fabric for the skirt.
From the bottom of the skirt tear or cut a 3 1/2″ wide strip of fabric. This will create a straight hem and give you the fabric you need for the tie. Un-sew the seam you created so you have one long strip. To create the tie sew this strip right sides together and sew 1/4″ down the long side of the strip to create a tube. Turn the tube right side out and gently push the unfinished edges into the tube approximately 1/2″. Press the tube flat and stitch the ends closed about 1/8″ away from the edge. Pin the center of the tie to the center back of the tank dress covering the selvage completely. At this point you can cut the bottom part of the tank away or leave it. I left it for extra belly support and plan on cutting it after baby arrives to make it cooler for the summer!
Topstitch the tie in place 1/8″ from each edge of the tie beginning with the side of the tie that lays on the skirt and followed by the side of the tie that lays on the tank top. Back stitch at the center front to secure the tie in place. Hem your skirt as desired. I serged the bottom so it is nicely finished and will do a traditional hem post baby so I get a more even hem for the life of the dress. If this were going to be a maternity dress only for me I would do the traditional hem to finish it.
You’re dress is ready. If you have some scraps visit the raw edge rosette tutorial post and create a fun hair accessory!