sunshine poured out maxi dress tutorial

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I love the color yellow. I think it could even be called the happiest color. Just making this dress made me feel like I was working with sunshine. And as much as I’m sure everyone else could say the same thing, I think I got the best color for Color My Summer.
yellow maxi dress
With a baby due in October, I’m claiming this as the summer of the maxi; so what better combination than my favorite color and favorite style of the season? This tank-styled knit maxi dress was very simple to make with a few added details to make it stand out. The stripes of white and yellow at the bottom make me smile every time I look at the them and the layered strips of white and yellow fabric across the chest make it very flattering and dress it up a bit. And since I have to accommodate a growing belly, my dress has ruched sides. This  dress could be made just straight, or if you have a little something to cover up, with less of a ruche than I did.
I used two yards of the yellow knit, half a yard of the white, and coordinating thread.
tank maxi pattern
If you don’t already have a tank style maxi pattern (which I definitely didn’t), it’s simple to create your own pattern. Use either your favorite tank pattern or trace around a favorite fitting tank, and then extend down from the waistline (or just before it starts to curve in if it does that) for an a-line. I used freezer paper for my pattern because that’s what I had on hand. I like that it’s sturdy and lasts from dress to dress. Cut it to 11 inches short of the length you like. If you’re ruching the sides, just add an extra five inches of length to the front piece. Repeat this for the back of your dress so you’ll end up with two pieces.
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For the stripes, cut out one five inch wide band of contrasting fabric and one seven inch wide band (only my 5 inch band is shown here because the 7” one was added as an effort to lengthen the dress and I’m so glad I did!) and then cut them into two pieces matching the widths of your front and back of the dress. For the decorative lines at the top, cut out a few strips of 1.5 inches in the contrasting color and 1 inch in the main color. (I was going to originally use a more mustard color, but then didn’t like the contrast so I changed my mind. That’s how sewing goes for me!)
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Measure six inches up from the hemline of the skirt pieces and cut.
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With right sides together, sew the 5 inch white band to the main pieces of the front and back of the dress. Then, again with right sides together, sew the bands of yellow that you cut off to the white. Finally, attach the 7” white strips to the dress.
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With the front of the dress laying flat, line up the 1.5” strips of white fabric in diagonal lines in a pattern you like. I ended up later removing the bottom line because I thought having the last one be the one that crosses the whole dress was the most flattering. Then lay out the 1” yellow strips and pin everything down.
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Using a wide zig-zag stitch, sew the strips to the dress. All the decorative elements of the dress are now done! If you are ruching the sides, sew a gathering stitch starting about 7 inches below the arm to about 10 inches lower on both sides of the front of the dress. Line up the front and back of the dress at the arm holes and hem, and then tighten your gather until they are the same length.
Sew the dress together at the sides and then the shoulders.
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I used a twin needle for my hem and finishing off the neck and arm holes. I love the professional finish it gives to a knit piece.
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You can see the double line of stitching here along the neckline. A twin needle is not complicated to use at all—just check your machine’s manual for how to thread the twin needle.
yellow maxi 2
And then enjoy wearing your comfortable, stylish, cool dress!
I’d love it if you’d stop by my blog, Made it on Monady sometime, and if you make your own Sunshine Poured Out Maxi, I’d LOVE to see it!
Thank you so much Kirstin, Jordan and Delia for letting me be a part of Color Your Summer II!

Want to see more of Jill? She is an amazingly talented sewist with quite the arsenal of grown up girl clothes tutorials (love this Petal Top and this Raw Ribbons Tank), some fantastic maternity tutorials (love this maternity maxi dress and these maternity skinny jeans!) and a party planner in her heart (love Jace’s Things That Go birthday party). She is pregnant with baby #2 (a little girl!) and I predict that Made it on Monday will soon be brimming with teeny dresses and bloomers and headbands- so excited for her. Jill is also a great writer and story teller (and just an amazing woman, have I mentioned that) and she writes about life, faith, parenthood and marriage at Satisfied with Adequate– I’d highly recommend stopping by!

LOVE. this. dress! Be certain to check out more yellow goodness (the little messenger!) at delia creates today!

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  1. This is fabulous!! I love the diagonal stripes on the top ~ I thought they were rays of sunshine when I first saw the picture 🙂 and they are so flattering.

    1. Tracy, SO fabulous, right??? And doesn’t Jill not even look pregnant? Gorgeous. 🙂 Can’t wait to make one for me! 🙂

    2. Tracy-I hadn’t even thought of that but I wish I had, especially considering what I called the dress 🙂 Thanks so much!

  2. Oh Kirstin! Thank you so much for having me and for your sweet words! I’m having so much fun seeing all the colors 🙂

  3. That’s my cute sister in law!! Love her and her new sweet lil lady growing inside!! I totally agree she is an amazing seamstress and she always looks adorable in her fun outfits she makes!! I could never pull off a maxi dress, thanks to my shortness! 🙂

    1. Anna- you are one lucky girl to have Jill as a sister in law. And I bet you could pull off a maxi dress! 🙂

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