Wednesday 12 July 2017

How To: Floral Chiffon Overlay Maxi Wrap Dress

What kind of devil possessed me to go forward with a project involving chiffon, I will never know. I got strong Kooples vibes from this tiny floral print and our Italy trip was a week away, so I set aside my fears and went for it. And it worked!

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Chiffon and lining fabric (I used beslon) - 3 m each  |  Scissors  |  Pins  |  Thread & sewing machine  |  Bias tape  |  Not in image but also used some narrow, white cotton ribbon

I. Here's what my top pieces looked like. Cut in both the lining and the chiffon fabric. Apparently forgot the vertical measurement, that would just be measured from your shoulder line down to your waistline. Measurements match my size EU36/US 4 but since this is a wrap dress it lends itself to a EU38 as well.
.. And the skirt back piece. Chiffon is a slithery sucker so it looks here like the piece was totally deformed, in reality it was cut straight, I just didn't have the patience to make it sit neatly on the table. The chiffon piece was essentially just a rectangle, the long side corresponding loosely to the width of the lining piece hem line. I gathered it later at the waist to match the lining's waistline.
And finally the skirt front pieces. Again, chiffon refusing to lie down nicely.
II. To begin, I pinned the lining pieces of the top together at the shoulders and the sides, right sides facing, and repeated same for the chiffon. The lining top pieces I sewed together with just a straight stitch and a zig-zag, and another top-stitch.
For all seams on the chiffon, I did French seams. That means first placing the fabric wrong sides facing and sewing close to the edge:
Then flipping it so right sides are facing, and the sewed seam is inside:
..And sewing again so the first sewed seam creates a finished edge on the reverse side. If you're a little careless like me and have some threads sticking out the raw edges, you might then see this, which is easily fixed by just snipping those threads so the seam becomes nice and clean.
III. Once done completing the shoulder seams and side seams of the two layers of the top, I tried on the lining and noticed I definitely needed a dart:
.. Marked it with pins..
.. And sewed the dart on both sides.
IV. Then I took both the chiffon and the lining of the top and layered them, right side of chiffon facing wrong side of the lining, and pinned the edges together (only along the two diagonal edges that wrap at the front and the V at the back, leaving the arm holes be for now).
Then I sewed the layers together along those pinned edges, about 1 cm from the edge:
To finish that seam, I took my narrow cotton ribbon and pinned it along the edge I had just sewed like so:
.. And zig-zagged over it to help finish the edge and give it some firmness.
I also clipped the bottom of the V at the back to remove the tension.
V. Then I flipped the chiffon on the other side so its right side was facing out, pressed the seam I had just sewed with low heat, and edge-stitched it on the right side. Since I had made darts to the arm hole of the lining, I now had some extra chiffon in that area, which I fixed by adding a basting stitch to the bottom half of the arm hole, and gathering the chiffon just a tiny bit to get rid of the excess.
Then I sewed the chiffon and the lining together around the arm hole as the marking below indicates.
VI. Next, I also added a basting stitch to the waistline of both front parts of the top, gathering just a bit to match the width of the front piece of the skirt:
VII. Then I constructed the skirt. Pinned the three parts of lining together, sewing to attach, and repeated the same with French seams for the chiffon pieces.
VIII. Next I finished the front vertical edges with a double fold.
IX. And gathered the chiffon enough at the waistline to match that of the lining, sewing them together at the waist.
X. At this point I finished the arm holes of the top using the bias tape and this technique. The only difference being, I did not machine sew the final step, but hand sewed the bias tape on the reverse.
XI. Almost final step was to pin the top to the skirt, and sew them together:
.. Which seam I also finished with bias tape pinning it along the edge, sewing in the fold line:
And then wrapping the raw edge of the seam with the bias tape, and sewing it in place to conceal the seam.
XII. Last two things I did was to adjust the length of the dress - I clipped the lining hem a bit so the chiffon was longer and also made two long strips that I attached at each side seam on the waistline, to create a belt to wrap tie the dress up with.




  1. This is absolutely gorgeous. I so wish I was this creative!

  2. These measures are for what size?

    1. Sorry Daniela, I usually put my size in the posts but totally forgot.. I am a EU 36/US 4. 175 cm tall and waist 70cm.

  3. It turned out beautifully! I'm terrified to try making things with chiffon since it's harder to finish up edges. I love the slit in the dress, hope you had fun on your vacation!



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