easy DIY maxi dress with just one seam! | sewing tutorial

you can make this gorgeous maxi dress by sewing just one seam! click through for easy sewing tutorial.

I love how cool and comfy maxi dresses are – I could wear them every day in the summer (anything not to have to put on jeans when it’s 90+ degrees out!) A few weeks ago I posted an easy to sew maxi dress tutorial, but today I have an even easier maxi dress how-to for you – would you believe this dress only takes one seam to make? If you can sew one line, you can make this dress!

you can make this gorgeous maxi dress by sewing just one seam! click through for easy sewing tutorial.

It’s made using a pretty shirred Ikat print fabric from Joann (you can find it online here). I fell in love when I saw it in the store – it’s super soft, flows beautifully, and the print is gorgeous. The top of the fabric is already gathered up (shirred) with stretchy thread, making turning it into a dress ultra simple. I was put off at first by the price tag – 28 bucks a yard – youch! But then I thought about: I’d only need one yard and could use a half off coupon. When I realized I could sew a single seam and have a pretty new summer dress for $15 and 15 minutes of work, I was sold!

The material is a rayon challis, which is soft and drapey. It’s gathered like a tube top all through the chest&ribs, then is loose through the waist and hips, which, for me, is a good thing. The photos above were taken when it was quite windy out, so here’s an indoor one to show you how it falls.

you can make this gorgeous maxi dress by sewing just one seam! click through for easy sewing tutorial.

You could certainly wear it without a shirt underneath if you aren’t worried one of your many children will yank on it and pull it right down 🙂 I like to use a safety pin or two to pin the dress to my shirt so I know it’s not going anywhere during the day.

Here’s what you need to know to make your own one seam maxi dress:

First, buy your fabric. If you usually wear a M or L tee, one yard will be just about right. Fold your fabric in half with right sides together as shown below. Sew a seam down the other side, matching raw edges together. Go back and either serge or zigzag the raw edges to make sure none of the elastic threads through the top come undone.

you can make this gorgeous maxi dress by sewing just one seam! click through for easy sewing tutorial.


And that’s basically it! The bottom edge is already finished, so if the length is to your liking there’s no need to hem. If you like, you can tack the seam allowance down at the top and near the hem, like I did on this princess nightgown refashion, but you really don’t need to. Just press the seam and enjoy your new dress!

NOTE: the dress was quite long on me at first (I’m 5’3″). If you’re tall, make sure when washing your dress that you let it dress air dry so it doesn’t shrink. If you’re shorter, like me, just throw that puppy in the dryer! It shrank about 3 inches in length, making it the perfect length for me to wear with wedge sandals (it might shrink a little more after the second wash & dry). If you decide you need it shorten you could always turn it up and hem.

If you do wash it and put it in the dryer, the elastic threads will shrink up, too, making it a little bit narrower in width – but they stretch back out just fine once you put it on! If you sew up your seam and think it’s not tight enough across the chest, give it a wash before you take it in.

you can make this gorgeous maxi dress by sewing just one seam! click through for easy sewing tutorial.



  1. 1

    Becca says

    That’s adorable! I’m nearly 5’8″, but I’d be tempted to shrink it up quite a bit and wear it as a maxi skirt.

  2. 5

    Sarah Helene says

    HOW E-A-S-Y to sew this FAB dress for summertime! You look lovely in the photo shoot! Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen these fabrics at Joanns also.

    • 6

      autumn says

      Thanks so much for your kind words! My son was taking photos of me before school one day and it was super windy and we had to hurry and I didn’t know how they’d turn out…But a few worked!

  3. 7

    Pamela Smith says

    Or you can sew on straps and not have to worry about kids pulling your dress down. Or wearvitvwith a bolero to make it really snazzy

  4. 9

    k8 says

    Thank you for posting this. I got the fabric at Joanne’s this past weekend and I am also 5’3″ so was ready to cut off a good 3-inches; I will now wash it first. I also got some 2″ lime green bias tape to sew straps.

    • 13

      autumn says

      I bought 1 yard because my bust measurement is 36 inches, and once I sewed it together and washed and dried it the fit is great – it’s nice and stretchy, though, so you don’t need to be exact. So I’d recommend taking your bust measurement and buying that much.

  5. 16

    Alejandra Martin says

    I make these every year from Joanne’s and I love them. Another option, which is what I do, find a 1 – 1.5 inch ribbon in a matching color and sew in straps. 🙂

  6. 17

    Tricia says

    has anyone seen a fabric similar? I’m new to sewing and the link is dated, so wondering if there is another fabric comparable you would recommend. Cute! thanks for sharing!

  7. 20

    Candace says

    I purchased some of this as well, and you are right, it does go together so easily. Because the “panel” was so long, I cut some of the length off and will use this to make straps. I too was not so comfortable with the thing just staying up on its on. This could be worn over a t-shirt and still be cute. I saw the post on using ribbons. I guess if I didn’t have enough at the bottom, I would do that. Just love these blogs.

  8. 21

    Tammy says

    Super cute i did it wit a tank top came out really well had lot of complements on it 🙂 thanks for the tip!!

  9. 23

    Nicholle Evans says

    This is certainly the easiest dress you could ever make. They even make this fabric for girls. You might want to put straps on the girls dresses you could also use matching ribbon.

  10. 25

    Jessica says

    I LOVE this, I just picked some shirred fabric for 60% off over at Joann’s today and HAD to have it. Now what to do with it?

    I love this dress and I love that you put a T under it… could you sew the dress to the shirt so it’s all one piece? If so, could you explain what stitch/method I would I use as if I were 5 years old? (By the time I sit down to my machines my brain is mush.)


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