Thursday, June 30, 2016

pin to present: side slit maxi dress + linkup

I've been obsessed with making a maxi dress since I found this deceptively-simple looking tutorial by Elle Apparel. I just love the short-sleeves, the soft drape of her fabric choice, and Leanne looks freaking amazing. She nailed that dress.

blue maxi dress DIY_pin to present

Let me begin by saying, I'm not a sewer. When I do decide to attempt to sew something, it takes both my husband and myself (and YouTube) to get the machine setup and threaded. I've really only made pillows and curtains, with crib bumpers being my most challenging project. So, perhaps a dress was a bit overly-ambitious, but I decided to dive into it anyway, and after a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears (and a few curses sprinkled in), I have my version of this slide-split maxi to show you!

blue maxi dress DIY 6

I started off following the tutorial from Elle Apparel, but had to make modifications along the way due to of our differences in size and because I totally screwed up the skirt. Leanne recommends 3-yards of fabric, but since she's a lot smaller than me, I opted for 4-yards of this pretty challis fabric from Craftsy. (The cotton version of the print is still available on their website, or fabric.com has the rayon I used.) Glad I ordered extra, because I ended up using almost all 4-yards! I also decided to be a rebel and not to use paper/muslin to make a pattern, which proved to be a mistake later on.

I made the top exactly as Leanne did by folding the fabric in half and using a T-shirt as a guide. But because of our differences in size, I couldn't cut out the skirt as she recommended. I ended up not accounting for the fabric being flat instead of folded, so it was angled on one side and straight on the other. Opps. After a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth and dramatically lamenting that it was all ruined, RUINED, I figured out a way to fix it, so my skirt ended up being more straight than flared like the original. And don't even get me started on adding the elastic. (So much pricked fingers and blood involved.) Leanne also recommends adding eight inches in width to both the skirt and top, but I ended up with more like three-to-four inches thanks to the skirt screw-up. Which actually worked out better in the long-run, because the extra fabric probably would have been too much on my curvier frame.

blue maxi dress DIY 5
So why go on about the struggles this project gave me? I want to be real here, and not just show a pretty dress and be all like "look what I made, it was so easy." 'Cause that would be lies. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the tutorial, it's all operator-error.

The whole time I made this dress I was convinced it would be a pintrosity - so many mistakes along the way - I seriously questioned my sanity throughout the process. Because I didn't have a clue what I was doing, it took waaaaay longer to make than I thought it would - finishing of all the hems being the worst and most tedious. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't fun to make. But, it ended up all coming together, and I actually really like the final result, despite all the grief it gave me! It's cool and comfortable, the fabric is light-weight and has a nice drape, and I love the color and pattern. I learned how to turn a hem and how to do a blind-stitch hem (thanks YouTube) and I finally figured how to thread that darn sewing machine by myself. And I got a pretty dress out of it.

Does that mean I'm ready to make another one anytime soon? Absolutely not, but I am dying to make this kimono, coincidentally also by Elle Apparel. I must be a glutton for punishment, but I'm convinced it's got to be easier than this dress, right?

blue maxi dress DIY 4
Dress: made by me (solid blue option, patterned option)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Clutch: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Sandals: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties (exact pearl wire), Loft (similar drusy) and Kreations (similar initial)

blue maxi dress DIY 3 blue maxi dress DIY 2 blue maxi dress DIY 1

I'm so excited to co-host Anne's Pin to Present linkup this month! Anne was also so nice to feature me today on her work-to-weekend guest series, where you can see how I styled this dress with a blazer for work an a fedora for the weekend, as well as learn a bit more about what exactly I do for a living.

Have you made anything fun lately? Share your DIYs, food, crafts, or anything Pinterest-inspired, for the linkup! (Please use good etiquette and link to my or Anne's post in yours and be sure to visit other pinspirations too.) 

//  Sharing on The Mix Summer Fashion linkup.  //

12 comments:

  1. Still super impressed by this. Thanks again for sharing and for co-hosting!

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    1. I had fun. Happy to co-host anytime. :) Thanks again for asking me!

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  2. Sewing can seriously be so frustrating sometimes but it is SO worth it when it works out! I think you did amazing and I just love the blue color of that fabric.

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I'm really happy with the dress even if the process was a beast. :) I did end up making that kimono I mentioned at the end of the post and it went MUCH smoother. Probably the more you sew, the easier it gets!

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  3. My sister in law is a mad woman when it comes to making outfits; I never quite got the knack but I hope to learn!

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    1. My stepmom is fantastic as well. I wish we lived closer so I could get her advice when I (inevitably) jack something up! Nice that your sister-in-law can give you some advice and pointers! :)

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  4. I'm SO impressed by this, and your struggles make it seem like I can try it too - helps it feel more real and achievable to see the bumps along the way, I think!!!

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    1. That was my hope anyway. I hate when people present something and act like it was the easiest thing in the work to make (not a dig at Leanne since it probably was super easy for an experienced sewer like her!) then you try to make it and it's disaster!

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  5. OMG, I'm gonna take a shot at making this. What in your opinion would be the best fabric for this?

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    1. Oooo...you should! I used a rayon challis fabric (same as Leanne in the original post). It was pretty easy to work with and feels great once it's all done up. I'm (not so) patiently waiting for the Rifle Paper Co. fabric line to release in August, dying to make something in this gorgeous floral print: http://www.hawthornethreads.com/fabric/designer/rifle_paper_co/les_fleurs_rayon/birch_floral_rayon_in_navy

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  6. You did a GREAT job and I LOVE your dress. Sewing can be a challenge but have a pretty custom piece that looks that great can make it worth the time.

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    1. Yeah, the end product was definitely worth it, though it fought me hard the whole way!

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