Simple Maxi Dress Tutorial


    Maxi dresses have become a wardrobe essential for any fashion-conscious woman. It’s a floor or ankle-length informal dress that is usually flowing at the bottom or cut to flow over the body. These dresses are usually made out of cotton or polyester and come in different necklines, patterns, and colors.

    Maxi dresses are well-loved because they are free-flowing and comfortable. The length makes it comfortable for people to walk and move more freely than when you’re wearing a shorter dress. This dress can also accentuate any body type, depending on the cut of the dress.

    The good thing about maxi dresses is they are so easy to make on your own. Just gather a piece of comfortable fabric, and with minimal sewing skills, you can make your own dress!

    Simple Straight Maxi Dress

    Here’s a simple maxi dress tutorial that’s straight-cut and fitting for all body types. If you want it to hug your body a bit for shape, add a large belt.


    • 2 to 2 ½ yards lightweight jersey knit fabric
    • Sewing machine
    • Thread of the same color as the fabric
    • Fabric scissors
    • Pins


    1. Fold the fabric in half, with the wrong side out. Where you fold is the left side of the dress. The length of the fabric must be as long as the measurement from your toes to the top of your shoulder, with a little bit more room to play around. Leave extra fabric at the bottom.
    2. Pin around the left, top, and right sides. The bottom will serve as the opening where your feet would go.
    3. Sew up the top, left, and right sides using your sewing machine. Use a zigzag stitch that will allow the seam to stretch with the fabric and not rip. Consult your owner’s manual to see what number produces that kind of stitch. Your dress should look like a huge pillowcase when you’re done.
    4. Cut the neckline and armhole in a slightly curved manner. Measure from the top seam and find the center for the neck hole.
    5. The size of the neck hole is up to you. Start with about 8 inches, then adjust it accordingly if you want something looser and bigger. Stay close to the seam when you cut the armholes, but the neck hole can curve down as much as you want it to be.
    6. Try it on to see if the armholes and neck holes are big enough. Cut and adjust according to your liking. Double-check the length as well.
    7. Make regular stitches and back stitches where the stretch seams end.
    8. Turn your dress right side out. You don’t need to hem any of the edges because jersey knit doesn’t fray, but you can always hem the edges if you prefer.
    9. Try it on, then wear a belt, a tie, a ribbon, or a scarf to cinch the waist in.
    10. Tie or secure the belt around the waist, then gently un-tuck the fabric around the top and bottom of the belt.

    Halter Top Maxi Dress with Draped Center

    If you want something a little bit more stylish than the other dress but easy to make, this one is for you. This DIY maxi dress comes with a beautifully draped front and high neckline. The front drape makes it a comfortable silhouette that’s feminine enough and can be worn almost anywhere from beach vacations to dinner dates. It’s an easy, casual dress that will make you look effortlessly put together.


    • 1 ¾ yard two-way stretch knit fabric
    • 1” fold-over elastic
    • Basic sewing machine
    • Hand needle
    • Thread of the same color as the fabric
    • Grid ruler
    • Fabric scissors
    • Pins


    1. Cut out a piece of fabric that’s 55” long and 66” wide. Fold it in half so that it becomes 33” wide across the top.
    2. Pin the fabric at length and sew the long side closed to make a wide tube.
    3. The fold line would be at the center of your dress at the front. Measure 15” from the fold line and mark it with a pin on either side of the fabric. Using a hand sewing needle, gather the fabric tightly to create a drape to add style and dimension to the front of your dress.
    4. Use 1” fold-over elastic, and sew the ends of your elastic together to form a loop that can easily fit over your head.
    5. Measure an inch outwards from either side of your gathers to attach your elastic with a sewing pin. Sew them together.
    6. The center back of the dress should be marked by the seam you made at the beginning. Measure 1” out from either side of the seams, then pin your elastic to the back. Sew into place.
    7. The dress is now ready to try on!

    Easy Tee Maxi Dress with Elastic on Waist

    You may not be comfortable wearing a maxi dress without sleeves, so here’s a maxi dress that you may want to try making on your own. Sleeves can be a bit overwhelming for a novice sewist, but it shouldn’t stop you – this one is easy to make for beginners. All you need is a T-shirt that fits you well so you can create a pattern, and the hard part is over.


    • 2 yards of wide knit, stretchy fabric
    • 1 yard of ½” elastic
    • A T-shirt that fits you well
    • Thread of the same color as the fabric
    • Basic sewing machine
    • Fabric scissors
    • Pins
    • Tailor’s chalk (optional)


    1. Fold the fabric in from each side, so the selvage edges meet in the middle. There should be a fold on the left side and a fold on the right side, and the folded parts should run the length of the dress.
    2. Fold your T-shirt in half lengthwise and line it up along one of the folded edges of the fabric. Make sure to smooth out the shirt flat.
    3. Use pins to trace around the shirt. You can use a tailor’s chalk to draw the pattern if you need more precise markings besides the pin. Add seam allowance on every side, except for the neckline. Trace all the way around the shirt together with the sleeves. Curve in right below the sleeve, then angle out. Trace a straight side seam all the way down the side of the dress. The traced outline of the dress should be about 60 inches long from the top of the shoulder to the hem. If you’re a bit tall, you can give a little more length allowance.
    4. Cut out the piece of fabric from your traced parts. This will serve as the backside of your maxi dress.
    5. Repeat procedures 2-4 on the other side with a mirror image. On this side, cut the neckline lower and trace the front neckline of your T-shirt.
    6. After making the cut (you must have two maxi dress pattern pieces), you will have some extra fabric left below. Cut a neck binding piece that’s about 1.75” high and 28” wide.
    7. Cut a casing piece that’s about 1.25” high and 50” wide.
    8. Now, it’s time to sew your maxi dress together. Take the two maxi dress pattern pieces and lay them on top of the other. Sew across the shoulder seams.
    9. Sew the side seams, starting from under the sleeve until to the bottom of the dress.
    10. Once you’re done with the basic construction of the dress, it’s time to add some elastic. Put on the dress, grab your elastic, and stand in front of a mirror. Tie the elastic around your waist and move it around to see what sort of waistline looks best on you. Mark the place where you want the elastic to go with pins.
    11. Now, you need to make a casing to thread your elastic through. Cut a long strip of knit that’s 1.25” high and long enough to go all the way around the dress at the waistline.
    12. Fold over ¼” inch along both the long edges of the casing and iron. Carefully pin the casing all the way around the dress and back to the front. Cut it when it meets itself, then fold each short end and iron. You must have about ½” opening in between the ends of the casing in the middle front of the dress.
    13. sew the casing to the dress outside around the waist. Sew along with the top first and do it very close to the edge. Use a long, straight stitch and stretch the fabric a bit as you sew.
    14. Do the same along the bottom of the casing, and keep it close to the edge as well. Go slowly so you can keep your stitch lines straight.
    15. Thread the elastic through the casing so that the elastic hides inside the casing. Cut it to a length where you can make a ribbon to tie a bow in front.
    16. Once the elastic waistline is attached, you can finish up the hem, neckline, and sleeves. For the sleeves and neckline, you can fold them up to ½ inch, iron, and sew with a double-needle, zigzag, or stretch stitch.
    17. Finally, hem the dress to your desired length.


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