Summer is when I do the most sewing for myself. That’s because I always want new skirts and dresses when it starts to warm up, and both of those are generally easier to sew than, say, jeans and jackets. Last summer I made a maxi dress using my free easy tee pattern – it was super easy to sew and very comfortable, so it got quite a lot of wear time. A few of you asked if I had tried a dress like this with a woven (non-stretchy fabric), so when started getting warm this spring that’s what I did.
I stuck pretty close to the easy tee maxi dress tutorial, with just a few changes to accommodate the woven fabric, since the tutorial was written for use with a knit. First, I made the dress hit just below the knee instead of maxi length – with no stretch in the skirt it might have been hard to walk in at maxi length.
Next, I added a placket in the front to make sure there would be plenty of room to get it over my head. In retrospect, I think the neckline is roomy enough as is that I could have skipped this step. But it’s kind of fun to leave the placket unbuttoned and wear it open for a little variety:
NOTE: I used this great tutorial from Melly Sews to sew in the front placket, and that was the first thing I did once I cut out the fabric.
The third change I made was to cut the sleeves a little longer and roomier, and the top of the dress a little looser. I just wanted to make sure the dress would still be plenty roomy even without a stretchy fabric. This is how it looked when I used the easy tee pattern to cut out the pieces (red dots show my cut lines):
A little extra room, and enough length to turn the shirt into a dress. I cut two pieces of what you see above (both on the fold) – one for the front of the dress and one for the back.
Other than that, I sewed up the dress just like you see in the easy tee maxi dress tutorial. With one more little change – instead of making a casing to run elastic through to cinch the waistline, I just sewed elastic right to the dress from the inside at the waist.
If you give this a try, be sure to use a lightweight fabric that’s quite flowy – that way it will drape well and be cool and comfortable in the summer weather!