Upton Maxi dress

Back on my honeymoon, I was 3 weeks away from my sewing machine and I started dreaming of what I would make when I returned. The fabric haul I brought back helped, of course, but I also dreamed about the fabric I already had, including this lovely bright print:

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It’s definitely reminiscent of African wax prints, but I am not 100% sure if it is one. I forgot to ask and, quite frankly, at $5/metre, I doubt it is a wax print. Every wax print I saw while I was in the Netherlands was around 15 euros a metre or more and looking briefly online I see similar prices. I saw so many gorgeous wax prints in the Netherlands:

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I wanted to buy them all. As a result, my mind wandered back to this fabric I already had. I bought 5 metres of it without a clear idea in my head of what I would make, but it was only $25 so I just did it. I was 100% after my trip that it was screaming to become a maxi dress. Then Cashmerette released the Upton dress and Ashley announced the Maxi dress sewalong and I knew: an Upton maxi dress.

I’ve never worn or even tried a maxi dress on before in my life. I had a strange notion that because I was short and fat, it would make me look even shorter and fatter. Now I don’t give a flying beep about that. I just want to try new styles and stretch my fashion wings. So a maxi dress is perfect for getting over that fashion fear.

Usual disclaimer: I didn’t test the Upton pattern, because the timing was off for me, but I did receive it for free.

I’ll go into a more extensive review when I actually sew the entire dress, but for my maxi dress, I only used the bodice, didn’t even line it, completely ignored the instructions, and can only speak to how that worked out. I made two muslins for the bodice. One I tried the 24C/D graded to the 26 at the waist.

Another I made the 22G/H graded to the 24 at the waist (that one wasn’t even IG worthy!). Then I measured myself again and chose to make the 24G/H graded to the 26 at the waist and it was perfect:

Next version, I will narrow the shoulders and maybe do a forward shoulder adjustment, too.

I made extra darts at the armholes to get a good fit. I had this opinion that armhole darts are not ideal for some reason and should be avoided, but unless I am working with princess seams I really need them to get a good fit everywhere. My high bust to full bust to underbust ratio is extreme and my shoulders are narrow. With princess seams, I’m always shaving off a bit where the armhole meets the princess seam. It works well without a dart there for princess seams, but in a darted bodice, that extra dart at the armhole works so much better for me. Any flat pattern adjustments won’t quite get the right shape, because we are 3D beings. In patterns with sleeves, it’s a bit different as the sleeve generally pulls that extra fabric in, but in a sleeveless bodice with darts, I’m all for that armhole dart. It just looks better on me.

Again I had a horrible time with my zipper. I need more practice, but also my machine just does not want to work with zippers. It won’t feed them through for whatever reason. It’s not bulky and there is no thread in the way. It just hates zippers. I’ll figure out what the issue is eventually or get a new machine, but in the meantime I am trying to figure out how to perfect my lapped zippers. I’ve looked up many a tutorial and am ready to get better at it. I changed the zipper from a back zipper to a side lapped zipper. My mobility in my shoulder is pretty limited and I definitely have an easier time with the side zipper.

I’m slightly ashamed of my sewing on this dress. Neither of the waistband seams meet in the right place and the zipper is a bit of a mess. But there is no way I am ripping it out to make it perfect. The print hides everything so I will just wear it as is. I didn’t take any pictures of the mistakes either because they don’t really matter. If you zoom in on some of the pictures, you’ll probably see them anyway. If you really want to be like that.

For the skirt, I just gathered two panels of the fabric from selvage to selvage and attached them. I also added pockets because why wouldn’t you add pockets. I should have checked the skirt pieces on the pattern for pocket placement because they sit just slightly too low. I can still get my hands in, but for getting anything out of the bottom of the pocket, it’s a bit tricky. Trickier when you have mobility issues with your shoulder.

I also made a Muse Patterns Jenna cardi. My many versions of these are worn all the time. I got this pink knit content unknown from the thrift store. It’s a perfect addition to my wardrobe since I have many dresses that would work with it. Pink is totally a neutral for me. I don’t have buttons on it yet and am definitely wearing it around until I find the right ones. The cardigan fits with the stashbusting sewalong theme for the month of seasonal change and will help transition my dresses into the fall nicely. I can’t believe I am actually thinking about fall. I’ve pulled out a bunch more patterns for seasonal change so I am hoping to do some more fabric stashbusting. I’ve got one shelf in my stash almost half gone! It feels great! Almost all the fabric from my honeymoon is sewn up. Knits get sewn really fast for me. I’m trying to focus on wovens more lately, though, so I can stashbust those.

Prepare for a bunch of pictures of my maxi dress!!!

Jenna Cardi and Upton Maxi Dress

Jenna cardi and Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Upton maxi dress

Excuse the picture dump, but I am stoked about the dress. I made it with v-neck back and front and finished the armholes and neckline with bias tape.

I’ll review the Upton dress properly when I actually make it in full.