The It Takes Two Solution

My Maxi Dress

One of my favorite current summer styles is The Maxi Dress. They are cool and comfortable and they create your own wind on your legs as you walk. They also have a wide variety of styles which allows for versatility. I found this one at Marshall’s for $12.99.

The problem with this maxi dress (and most maxi dresses) is that it is low cut and sleeveless.

I could either spend $10 to$15 to buy a shirt to go under it (usually not a very cute solution) or I could spend $20 to $30 and buy a tank top and jacket to go with it. I live in Florida. The average temperature in the summer here runs between 90-105 degrees with a whole lot of humidity to go with it. The last thing I want to do is layer my clothes.

Two of the Same Dress

I have another solution. It is what I call the “It Takes Two Solution.”I buy two of the same dress and make them into one. That way I don’t have to layer anything.

The first dress (dress A) I try on and make sure it fits me how I want it to. The second dress (dress B) I get in the largest size available. That way I have plenty of fabric to work with.

The first step was to turn on old episodes of Friends. The next step is to come up with a plan. Because I was working with a striped print, I decided to keep it simple and I really like the the crossed front  how it was.

The Plan

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Once I had a good idea of what I wanted out of the project, I got to work with my seem ripper. I took dress A and detached the top part of it just above the two inch mid strap. Then, I took dress B and started cutting into the skirt.

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This is were the tape measure comes in. I measured from just under my bust to  my shoulders. Then, I used the top part that I removed from dress A as a guide for cutting  2 left fronts, 2 right fronts and 2 backs. I cut 2 of everything  so that I could have an inner lining and an outer section. I could have used a different fabric for my inner lining, but I had enough of this so I didn’t bother.

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I sewed the shoulders of the inner lining fronts and backs together. I sewed shoulders of the outer fronts and backs together.

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Then I pinned the inner and outer pieces together with the right side facing in and sewed around the neck line.

Then I turned it right side out and used my Iron to iron down the seems and smooth down and match up all the corners. Keeping the pieces ironed can help a great deal.

Iron it out

I hemmed and gathered the sleeves and then pinned and attached them to the shirt. Using the top part that I removed as a guide, I made two small gathers in the front of the top part that I made and then attached it to the bottom of the dress.

Small Gathers

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It is good to note that when working with a knit fabric like this, it is wise to zig zag all your edges.

Faux Tank Top

My final step was to take a small piece of an old black T-shirt and create a faux tank top. Using that much stripe can be a little bit too much so I kept the neck line low so I could add a solid color to break it up. I just cut a 4×6 inch piece from the hem of the old shirt and then I hand sewed it to the inner lining of the dresses lower neck line.

All done. The dress took me 6 hours or about 13 episodes of Friends to put it together. It cost me $25.98. I wore the dress the next day. The high was 93 degrees and I felt comfortable and cool in my new non-layered Maxi Dress.

For more Sewing projects. For more on Sewing

The final Product

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12 Responses to The It Takes Two Solution

  1. Cindy says:

    This is a great Idea I actually have that exact dress that I wear with a t-shirt under. Do you think there would be enough material on a long Maxi dress to cut it to knee length, which is always more flattering on me. and make the top half from the bottom half? I am just starting to sew but I want to take on this project one time

  2. nate says:

    We just talked and I was showing our site to Becky and found this one!!! Wow so cool . Becky loves it to

  3. Pingback: Cotton Top (Another “It Takes Two” Project) | Thoroughly Modern Mormon

  4. Sarah says:

    Wow I love this solution, I love maxi dresses too but I’ve always hated the whole wear a t-shirt under it thing, it’s just so not flattering. This weekend I actually found a dress at the thrift store and did a total redo on it, it looks like something from Modcloth or Shabby Apply. I’m in love…and so glad I took pictures:)
    Wearing It On My Sleeves

  5. Karie says:

    Wow Natalie! You are amazing! You make me want to learn to sew.

  6. Maureen Fedail says:

    Natalie, you’re so stinkin adorable!!! I’m so glad there are talented girls like you who can inspire others to stay hip, yet comply with a higher standard! You rock girl!!! Now if I could only sew like you!!!!!!!! I’m still having a hard time remembering how to even thread my machine…. :-0

  7. maggie says:

    wow! very impressive. A little too intimidating for me, but you are an amazing seamstress!

  8. Sarah says:

    I love it! And I would have just layered it because I wouldn’t have been brave enough to sew myself some sleeves, but this is fantastic! More please!

  9. Kersten says:

    It turned out REALLY cute! I will definitely have to try this next time I find a maxi dress I like. I have a cute pattern for a maxi that I want to make, but I want to to add sleeves to it, maybe I’ll see if this will work out for that.

  10. Vicky says:

    I love this, I’m totally going to make one for myself.

  11. Liz says:

    I love it!!! You are so awesome!! I’m excited to see more of your fabulous ideas. I loved the dresses you made for the girls from Kirk’s shirts and your skirts. Darling!

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