Inspiration: Maxi Dresses

First off, thank you! This has been one hell of a week and all of your comments and compliments on my red shorts have really lifted my spirits. Our blogging/sewing community is amazing and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. I was completely beaten by some fabric this week and it had me wondering last night why I even bother to sew. I was in a dark place, let me tell you. We’ve all been there and I think that’s why it’s so nice when we can celebrate our successes together. So, thank you!

Despite my deepest desire to stay in bed this morning, I pulled myself together and went to class. Well, the universe needed me to prove that I wanted to be there! I had two delays on the light rail. The first one was caused by a very loud and very violent passenger who decided to start something with another person on the car. When the Muni security officer tried to escort the woman off the train she slapped him. So once we got back up and running not two stops later, our second delay came in the form of a power failure and we all wound up on the platform for 30 minutes while they cleared the tracks. An hour late, I finally made it to class! Thankfully, I didn’t turn around because I had such a great lesson. I finished my final draft for my spring wardrobe wildcard – a maxi dress! There was even some free jersey fabric and I started to sew up a trial run.

Last month, the lovely Ina from Sky Turtle emailed me about doing a project together. Somehow, in the midst of tossing around ideas, we both mentioned that we’d love to wear maxi dresses/skirts but don’t feel able because we’re short. I’m 5’1 so you can imagine how impossible it is to find a maxi dress that fits me in stores. However, I’ve always felt that a person can wear any style of clothing as long as the fit and proportions are right for their body. To test this, we both agreed to make a maxi dress or skirt and unveil the results on Friday the 27th. Until then, I wanted to show you what’s been inspiring my design.

                     Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest


For my garment, I wanted something casual and effortlessly sexy. Right away I knew I was after a flared skirt in a knit fabric. It took about three drafts to finally settle on a where the flare should begin. My first draft had the flare start at the bust. Without much definition at the waist, this design swallowed me and I began to experiment with really body conscious bodices that flared at the waist.


With so much length, I knew that this wasn’t the time to be modest up top so I started drafting scoop necks with a slight razor back.

One of my biggest sources of inspiration has been Cirque Du Bebe‘s version of Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi. She looks so stunning and that print is to die for!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my inspiration. Be sure to check over at Sky Turtle to see what Ina is going to be making!


21 Responses to “Inspiration: Maxi Dresses”

  1. I’m really excited to see this, because I’ve wondered the same thing about maxi dresses on shorter bodies. I probably wouldn’t actually make one of my own, because I think it would limit my movement in a way that would annoy me (I’m quirky that way) but I’m really intrigued by them. And honestly, they’re probably not age-appropriate for me anyway!

  2. That last one is just gorgeous!

  3. I’ve never really “got” the whole maxi dress thing, but those are all stunning, especially the last one – I can’t wait to see what you come up with! And I’m with you Gail – they do appear a bit restrictive. For some reason I’m much more comfortable if I know I can run and/or fling my arms around wildly in whatever I’m wearing!!

  4. Great story! I think there’s something “going around”. It’s been a crazy _ _ _ week for me too, it has left me with a stinky attitude. So happy that it’s Friday. I’m excited to hear about your current project and CANNOT wait to see the results. I’m a shortie, too, at 5′ and really love the look of maxi dresses and skirts (but it’s hard to find the right fit). You’re inspiring me to bust out my sewing machine this weekend and tackle at least one refashion project. Have a great weekend, Lizz!

    • Although I would never wish a bad mood on anyone, it does make me feel better to know that I’m not the only one! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and this week becomes a distant memory! I’m thrilled to hear that you’ll be pulling out the sewing machine. Enjoy, Van.

  5. I totally agree with the proportions remark and body shape. And you do a great job with fitting your clothes Liz, I wouldn’t have guessed you are 5’1 😉 Can’t wait to see your maxi dress!

  6. I’m waiting with baited breath to see the results, being a 5’3 lass who has never worn a maxi in her life! I’ve always felt like I can’t do it, as well. You’re like a full-length skirt pioneer!

  7. i have the same problem: i love maxi dresses but never wear any because i’m short… i can’t wait to see how yours turns out and maybe i’ll try to make one for me too! 🙂 i love this last maxi dress in your inspiration by the way!

  8. Ugh – sometimes a bad week can just swallow you whole! I’m so glad you had a good class and feel like you got your sewing mojo back!
    I’ve really been loving maxi dresses too – they just seem like the perfect ‘something’ to throw on and still look put together. I’m really excited to see your version!

  9. “However, I’ve always felt that a person can wear any style of clothing as long as the fit and proportions are right for their body” – me too.
    And this is the fun part of making clothes for yourself.

  10. Oh wow, so sorry about your bad week. I was really feeling discouraged about sewing earlier this week– like nothing I’ve made recently has turned out well. But I’m making some slow progress fitting my Iris shorts, so I’m starting to feel a little better.

    I htink you will look cute as can be in a maxi! I can’t wait to see it! I love the idea of a flared hem.

  11. I can totally relate to your felling on failure. It is such a blow to work so hard on a project only to have it not work out but I read this article from the Wall Street Journal that made think of my failures differently. I hope it helps you and I hope your maxi dress turns out better than your failed project.

  12. wow, the fabric on that last dress is awesome. that’s one of the cool things about maxi dresses – they make a great canvas for an awesome print. sorry about your bad commute! its bound to happen sometime but i’m glad your class seemed to make up for it. 🙂

  13. That last dress is gorgeous! I’m not a maxi-lover, as it just feels weird on me, but I do like them on other people.

    Way to ride out the transit woes 🙂 I feel your pain, though it makes for some hilarious character studies.

  14. Ohh these are all really pretty! I LOOOOOVE maxi dresses… I know people think short dresses for summer but I always think maxi length is cooler and much more summery 🙂 Good luck and have fun! 😀

  15. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! I’m 4’11” and a maxi dress is usually off the menu. Well… to be honest I have one maxi dress in my closet from Gap (at least 4 years ago)and I only wear it to my local farmer’s market.

  16. I Like that on you! Very flattering & a Fun design…!


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