Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but #maxisewalong2017 wraps up tomorrow!!! Get your makes in by noon Eastern time for a chance to win a pattern from By Hand London or a $50 gift card from LA Finch Fabrics. Speaking of those lovely folks, let’s talk about my dress…

I took these early in the morning, pardon the puffy face.

As I mentioned last week, I opted to use the Orsola dress pattern (lengthened) and some very lovely rayon from LA Finch Fabrics. I toyed with the idea of changing up the skirt portion, to kind of of give it a similar shape to last year’s maxi, but opted to keep the original shape. I’ve been sewing a lot of 70’s style wrap dresses recently (you’ll see those soon), so I kinda wanted to switch it up with a more modern look.

To get a maxi length, I added 23″ inches to the skirt portion. There are no guidelines for where to lengthen the Orsola, so use your best judgement. Anywhere between the notches and where the skirt curves should be fine I’d think? It was a bit difficult to measure myself for this, admittedly the skirt is a bit too long. I have on heels in these photos but it still needs to taken in a bit. I also opted to skip the skirt facing, purely out of laziness. Let me tell you, BHL put a skirt facing in this pattern for a reason. Getting this hem to lay flat was a BITCH, and in some places, it really doesn’t even do it. Whatever dude. I also opted to skip the stay stitching on the bodice, à la Elisalex, to give the back a bit more drape and flow. Thanks for the inspiration, lady!

My favorite part

I used two different rayons for this, a solid black rayon challis and a lovely rayon voile. I love love love these! The challis has a bit more structure and it isn’t quite as drapey or silky. While the voile has more drape and feels heavenly, it frays like crazy. The challis also presses a bit better than the voile. Both are lovely, luckily I have enough left over to make tops from each!

I really enjoyed this make, and of course, this sewalong. I really hope you’re all enjoying it too! Check out Instagram tomorrow around 3:00pm Eastern time, I’ll be doing a live drawing for winners. As a last reminder, submissions are due tomorrow, July 27th, at noon Eastern time. You can submit your makes by using the tag #maxisewalong2017 on IG, posting in the Facebook group, or e-mailing me directly. As a note, if I haven’t liked or commented on your maxi posts on social media, I haven’t seen it! Please make sure your account is public, and feel free to tag me, sewnbyashley. Happy sewing 🙂

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks


We’re just 8 days away from the end of our sewalong!  I’m blown away by the submissions so far, you guys have some serious skills.  Last week we went over somefabric ideas, and the week before, pattern ideas. This week, I felt like it was time to finally talk about what I’m making, along with some options that were so nearly chosen. First off, pattern…

Surprise surprise, it’s from By Hand London. It may seem bias because they are fabulously sponsoring us, but if you follow my posts at all, you’ll notice the bias is nothing new. Orsola fits in so beautifully with my summer wrap dress obsession, it was really a no brainer. That said, Orsola does not come drafted as a maxi length dress. I will be lengthening the skirt, and maybe altering the shape a bit à la last year’s maxi. But then again, maybe not. I do think Orsola has a beautiful skirt shape, there’s something more “grown up” about it to me. What do you guys think? I have 8 yards of fabric, so definitely enough to do whatever! Speaking of fabric…

I opted to use two fabrics from LA Finch Fabrics, another fantastic sponsor. I had a really hard to choosing fabrics and resisting my natural urge to wear all black. As a compromise, I decided to do the bodice in a very nice black rayon challis and the skirt in the lovely rayon viole pictured above, which appears to be unavailable at the moment. Blargh! When I told you guys I was obsessed with rayon, I wasn’t lying!\.

Originally, I’d planned to do the Anna dress in the black rayon challis I mentioned above, with some neckline embroidery. Being totally honest, I decided against Anna because I was afraid of embroidering rayon. I’ve not done much of it, and I just don’t quite have the balls yet. I also toyed with the idea of doing Anna in a print, such as…

This blue rayon challis. I love the print and the geometric design, but in the end, blue + geometric was just too far out of my comfort zone. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit!

To see everyone’s makes so far, check out our Facebook group or Instagram, I’ll be sharing your makes all through out the sew along. #maxisewalong2017 wraps up July 27th 12:00pm eastern time, so get your submission in before then for a chance to win a prize from Finch Fabrics or By Hand London!! Stay tuned for the live prize drawing next week! Happy sewing 🙂

Maxi Sewalong-Fabric Ideas

Maxi Sewalong-Fabric Ideas

How are you maxi dresses coming along? We’ve already had a few submissions, and they are stunners! You ladies are a talented bunch! For those of you that haven’t begun your dresses yet, have no fear. Last week, we talked about pattern ideas. This week, I want to go over a few fabric ideas for those patterns. Half the battle and all, you know?

For starters, lets talk about my latest obsession, rayon…

Rayon challis is my very special favorite right now. Rayon is a natural fabric and as such it breathes, which means so much during the summer heat! Challis has a nice “wobble” and just flows beautifully. This fabric is from our lovely sponsor, LA Finch Fabrics. Charlie Caftan, anyone?

You could also choose something with a bit of stretch, and still be in the rayon category. This crepe, also from LA Finch Fabrics, has 1% spandex, giving you that little bit of wiggle if you’re nervous about fit! Could totally see an Anna Dress in this print!

Not all crepe has stretch, though, so make sure you look for that. The fabric pictured above has no stretch, but OMG THAT PRINT! I sooooo want to see Vogue 9253 in this one!

The last rayon I want to talk about is rayon voile. Super soft and flowy, voile would be perfect for 7119.

Another favorite fabric of mine is cotton lawn. This lawn is from Robert Kaufman and also available at LA Finch Fabrics. I’ve made the Lonsdale out of lawn in the past, and I have to say, it’s one of my most worn garments.

Last year I made Simplicity 7484 out of linen, and it was just perfect. This organic cotton has a similar hand would be just stunning.

Polyester crepe is less favored with me, but oh my look at that print!!! While I don’t find polyester to be as breathable, crepe is still very floaty and airy. Linens, cotton poplin, and tencel (among others) would all also be great options. If knit options are more your bag, Amy at That’s Sew Amy will be sharing some knit inspiration with you later today!

For more inspiration, check out our Facebook group or Instagram, I’ll be sharing your makes all through out the sew along. #maxisewalong2017 wraps up July 27th 12:00pm eastern time, so get your submission in before then for a chance to win a prize from Finch Fabrics or By Hand London!! Stay tuned, next week I’ll be talking about my fabric and pattern choices. Happy sewing 🙂

Maxi Sewalong-Pattern Ideas

Maxi Sewalong-Pattern Ideas

I am so excited to see your maxis already rolling in! You guys are killing it. For those of you who haven’t selected a pattern yet, no worries. I’ve got some great woven ideas for ya! If knits are more your thing, head on over to That’s Sew Amy for some inspiration. Enough chatter, let’s get to the patterns…

The Anna Dress from our lovely sponsor, By Hand London is an obvious choice. This pattern is mega popular with sewists of varying body types, so you know it would look great on you. Also, I would LOVE to see a sheer version of this. Seriously. Make one so I don’t have to 😉

I had to include the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns because it’s a stunner and I need one. Also the styling on this model is just everything.

My love for the Sewaholic Lonsdale is well documented (here and here), but I’ve never made a maxi length version! It’s on my list, perhaps it should be on yours too? The Saltspring , also from Sewaholic, is another great option!

Vogue has some great options this season as well. Pictured above is 9253, but I’d also love to see 9259 as a dress.

Picture is from clarysage

If vintage patterns are more your thing, maybe give Simplicity 7484 A try. I made it for last year’s sewalong and it’s one of my most worn garments! Several Etsy shops carry it, highly recommend!

Speaking of past maxis, McCall’s 7119 is super cute and such an easy sew. I’d definitely recommend this one to a beginner.

If you were stumped before, I hope you’re feeling a bit more inspired now! If deciding on a fabric is holding you up, stay tuned, next week we’ll talk fabric. Don’t forget, the deadline isn’t until July 27th at noon, so you still have plenty of time to stitch up your garment. I have to say, I’m jealous of whoever wins the prize fromFinch Fabrics or By Hand London. I’ll be sharing your makes on Instagram and in the Facebook group throughout the sewalong, so make sure you check there! Happy sewing 🙂

*this post contains affilate links*

2017 Maxi Sewalong is here!

2017 Maxi Sewalong is here!

Amy of That’s Sew Amy and I are super stoked to announce the return of maxi dress sewalong! We’ve got some great sponsors this year, and I can’t wait to reveal my fabric and pattern to you guys! SPEAKING OF SPONSORS THOUGH…

We are mega happy to announce LA Finch Fabrics as a sponsor this year! They’ve kindly offered a $50 gift card to one of drawing winners. How cool is that?? Free fabric is the best fabric, amirite?

The ever lovely ladies at By Hand London are also a sponsor this year. If you know me, you know how much I love their patterns. That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to give away a By Hand London pattern, of the winner’s choosing.

If you’d like to display a badge on your blog, use the above image or imbed using this link. Look for blog posts from Amy and I in the coming weeks, we’ll be posting fabric and pattern inspiration for ya! And of course, reveling our own selections, way stoked about that! Below are some rules and information, please do feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns!

What is considered a maxi dress? A dress that falls to the ankles.

Will there be a winner? At the end of the sewalong, I will draw two winners live on my Instagram. No contest or judging, just sheer luck!

Who can participate? Everyone and everyone! You can submit your photos of your dress by using the hashtag #maxsewalong2017 on Instagram, by posting photos to the Facebook group, or you can e-mail me directly. Whatever you feel most comfortable with! If you do a blog post for your maxi, please let Amy or I know, we love to see your makes!  If you share your maxi on social media, please use the hashtag #maxisewalong2017 so I can see it!  Your account will also need to be public, for the same reason.  I can’t enter you in the drawing if I can’t see your submission 🙂

Time frame: The sewalong will run from July 1st to July 27th (my birthday), be sure to send in your picture by noon on July 27, 2017 (EST)!

Why? For the fun of it!  I love seeing all your makes, so much inspiration!

Rules: Dress must be for you. It has to be made within the time frame above. You can use any pattern you wish or draft your own. Adding embellishments to a current maxi dress will not count. The dress can be as formal or casual as you want. You have to submit pictures of your finished dress. I know taking pictures of your self can be uncomfortable, so you definitely don’t have to be wearing the dress in the photos – but it makes it more fun!

Social Media: Use hashtag #maxisewalong2017 on social media to see what everyone else is up to. Post inspiration and progress photos for everyone to see.

Maxi Sewalong Showcase and Winner!

Maxi Sewalong Showcase and Winner!

The 2nd annual Maxi Sew-Along with That’s Sew Amy has officially come to an end. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who participated and to 5 Out Of 4 Patterns for being our sponsor. I had a lot of fun this time around and hope you did too! Below, in no particular order, is a showcase of all of our great participants – thank you so much! (If we left anyone out or credited you incorrectly, please e-mail me!)


Michelle from Little Heart Threads made Patterns For Pirates – Essential Tank in maxi length:

Caroline from Church Sexy made 2 Lille’s from Greenstyle Creations dresses:

Melissa from Mahlica Designs made McCall’s 6559.

Carmen from See Carmen Sew made a  FABULOUS vintage Vogue 8974:

Lindsay from Doodle Number 5 made Sis Boom’s Jenny bodice mashed with Love Notion’s Bluezette skirt in a killer print:

Andie from Sew Pretty In Pink made the Upton Dress from Cashmerette:

Sarah Jane made a lovely tropical Anna Dress from By Hand London:

Amy from Sew Luxy made McCall’s 7161, and it’s just stunning:

I made vintage Simplicity 7484:

And Amy of That’s Sew Amy made the most kickass 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Journey Dress:

Honorable mention to Catherine for participating but she wasn’t able to fully finish it. I wanted to add her here because that stripe matching had to be a headache! She did great though


Everyone did such an amazing job! I love seeing which patterns everyone picked and the final garment – congratulations on amazing work

A winner has been choose at random. Amy wrote down all the participants names and put them in a hat and picked one:




And the winner is….


CONGRATULATIONS Amy from Sew Luxy!! You’ve won a FREE pattern of your choice from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns! Amy will be getting in contact with you shortly 🙂

Thank you so much to everyone and we will do this all over again next summer!

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-My Dress (Simplicity 7484)

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-My Dress (Simplicity 7484)

I'm still trying to figure out photos, hush.
I’m still trying to figure out photos, hush.

How are your maxis coming? I wrapped mine up yesterday, and I have to say, I fucking love this dress. I’d say it’s up there in my top 5 favorite makes. I was really unsure about a vintage pattern, as I’ve never sewn one, but I’m really very happy with the results. It feels a bit Mistress of the Dark glam, you know? Right up my alley!

And who doesn't love a backless dress?
And who doesn’t love a backless dress?

The fabric is a black linen (possibly a linen blend, I can’t remember which one I grabbed) from Joann’s, and the pattern is Simplicity 7484, circa 1976. When I was sewing it up, I was worried that the linen would be too heavy, a maxi length wrap skirt does use a lot of fabric, but I think it came out well. It’s not fluttery, but I love the structure it gives. The pattern includes pockets, which is always a win in my book. The pattern also includes a ruffle at the hem, which I omitted. I’m just not a ruffle girl. To compensate, I did add 6 inches to the bottom of the skirt.

This is why I don't smile in pictures, folks.
This is why I don’t smile in pictures, folks.

It was a bit strange, sewing up a backless dress. It twisted my brain up a bit, but I just went slow and worked through it, I think it came out fine. The pattern calls for elastic along the side back of the bodice, which I totally thought was the front. Derp. Makes more sense along the back, right? There’s only one princess seam on the bodice, and I do think I could stand to take that in just a bit. Wrapping tight does help, but nevertheless, it needs fixing.

Blurry yet sassy pose. The humidity struggle is real, kids. The foggy lens are a problem.
Blurry yet sassy pose. The humidity struggle is real, kids. Foggy lens are a problem.

Speaking of wrapping, I had some problems there. This is the fourth wrap dress I’ve made, the others being here, here, and here. So far, all of them have featured a small slit in on side seam, to slide the tie band through. With this pattern, that slit is located on the waistband. I don’t know if I did something wrong here or if it was the pattern, but this slit was WAY too narrow. It took some widening on my part to get the tie band through. It’s a minor thing, but frustrating and worth mentioning anyway. Overall, though, it’s a great pattern. You should make this dress. As far as vintage patterns go, it’s pretty affordable and easy to find. No excuses!

Can you tell this is my favorite angle?
Can you tell this is my favorite angle?

Have you finished your #maxisewalong2016 dress yet? The deadline is fast approaching! I can’t wait to see all your makes. To enter, make sure you either: join the Maxi Sew-Along Group, send me or Amy an email, or tag your photos on social media using the #maxisewalong2016 hashtag. Happy sewing! 🙂

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-My Pattern

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-My Pattern


How’s the sewa-along going for you guys? I’ve already seen a few completed makes, so cute! We’ve got a little over a week left before the end date, August 17th. Seemed like it’s about time for me to announce my pattern choice, right? I must admit, I’ve had a hard time selecting a pattern this year. I told you guys in last week’s post that I’d originally planned to do the Sewaholic Lonsdale, and I still intend to make the maxi version, but I decided to go the vintage route for this…

Picture is from clarysage
Picture is from clarysage

Big surprise, another wrap dress! My love of cleavage is no secret, and there’s no better way to get that than with a wrap dress. I really did try to avoid it, though! But then Gertie posted an insanely awesome backless vintage pattern dress. Vogue 7375, don’t look for it, you can’t find it. After going deep into the wormhole searching for that pattern, I started stumbling upon vintage backless maxi dress patterns.

How cute are these vintage instructions?
How cute are these vintage instructions?

This will be the first vintage pattern I’ve actually made, so cross your fingers for me! My pattern arrived precut, so no debating the tracing/cutting of the pattern. So far, I’m really enjoying the vintage details. The pattern calls for elastic, which I was unsure of originally. But then I realized the elastic goes on the bust edges, to help hold you in. I love that, and there’s no way in hell I would have thought of that myself.

Pardon the terrible photography.
Pardon the terrible photography.

I also love that the seam/cut lines are so clearly marked. Not that I have problems figuring out seam allowances, but it’s still a cute touch. I’ll be sewing this up in a lovely, breezy black linen, without the ruffle. I know black isn’t usually considered a summer color, but I am what I am. Has anyone else decided to go vintage? All the makes I’ve seen so far have been absolutely lovely, can’t wait to see yours! Happy sewing 🙂

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-Pattern Ideas

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along-Pattern Ideas


The #maxisewalong2016 is in full swing!! How’s everyone doing? Stumped on which pattern to choose? Never fear! Amy and I have scoured the internet for some pattern possibilities, in both knits and wovens. We’ll start with wovens here, because they’re my personal favorite…

Sewaholic Patterns
Sewaholic Patterns

I’ve made both of these patterns before, though not the maxi dress versions. In honesty, the Lonsdale was my original pattern choice for this sewalong, until I decide to go vintage. Both patterns are a breeze to sew!

By Hand London
By Hand London

Off the shoulder peasant dresses seem to be in fashion this year, and my favorite pattern maker, By Hand London has a great DIY pattern tutorial. Their Anna dress is always a favorite, and I am in love with this sheer version. Hubba hubba.

McCall's Patterns
McCall’s Patterns

McCall’s also came out with some great beginner maxi dress patterns in their summer collection. M7405 and M7404, I’m talkin’ about you. I am such a sucker for a sheer overlay! Let’s not forget about Amy’s favorite, knits…

5 Out Of 4 Patterns
5 Out Of 4 Patterns

This one is from our sponsor, 5 Out Of 4 Patterns. For pregnant mommas and nursing mommas, this pattern comes with nursing and maternity options included! Sounds like a win/win situation to me, ladies. And don’t forget, this year, one random participant will win a free pattern from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns!

Patterns for Pirates
Patterns for Pirates

Patterns for Pirates is a favorite pattern maker of Amy’s and they have several knit maxi options! Above is the sunshine dress, but they also have the boundless dress. Definitely worth checking out!

Closet Case Files
Closet Case Files

Closet Case Files also has a very breezy looking jumpsuit/maxi dress pattern, I can’t hate a pattern with pockets already drafted!


What are Amy and I sewing? We’re keeping that under wraps at the moment, but you’ll see soon enough, promise 😉 I hope we gave you some inspiration, I can’t wait to see what all of you make!! Don’t forget to post in the Maxi Sew-Along Group, and to use #Maxisewalong2016 on social media! We don’t want miss anyone! Happy sewing 🙂

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along Is Back! #Maxisewalong2016

The Maxi Dress Sew-Along Is Back! #Maxisewalong2016


I know it might be a little late in the summer, but anytime is a great time for a maxi dress! Who doesn’t love a good, comfortable maxi dress? Last year we had a lot of fun sewing up our dresses and chatting in the a Maxi Sew-Along Group. Make sure to join the group if you plan on participating in the sew along. Once again I’ve teamed up with Amy from That’s Sew Amy and we’ve got a sponsor. The sew along starts now and ends August 17, 2016 EST. I’ll post the showcase on August 19, 2016. And there is a BONUS! This year a random participant will receive a FREE pattern of your choice from 5 Out Of 4 Patterns! You can also use coupon code maxisewalong2016 at checkout on their website to receive 20% off your pattern order, good through Tuesday, July 27 (EST). They currently have one maxi dress pattern: Journey Tank and Dress, but they have a few others that are screaming to be hacked into a maxi. Check out all the details below. (Note: you do not have to use one of their patterns to win the free pattern or participate in the sew along)

Various images from Google Images
Various images from Google Images

What is a sew-along? Where a group of people get together and sew the same pattern or garment style together. In this case it would be a garment style: maxi dress.

What is considered a maxi dress? A dress that falls to the ankles.

Who can participate? Everyone and everyone! No need for a blog, you just have to be able to send in a picture to be posted to the showcase and entered to win the free pattern.

Will there be a winner? There isn’t a winner, just a group of sewists having fun. After everyone has submitted their dress picture(s) (either by e-mail or post in the Facebook group), I will draw a random name for the free pattern.

Time frame: Start sewing now and be sure to send in your picture by August 17, 2016 (EST) by either e-mail or post in the Facebook group.

Why? Sew-alongs help motivate and push you to try new things. Also, you get to make new friends and have fun at the same time! Win/win!

Rules: Dress can be for you or someone else, any age. It has to be made within the time frame above. You can use any pattern you wish or draft your own. Adding embellishments to a current maxi dress will not count. The dress can be as formal or casual as you want. You have to submit pictures of your finished dress. You don’t have to be wearing the dress in the photos – but it makes it more fun!

Social Media: Use hashtag #maxisewalong2016 on social media to see what everyone else is up to. Post inspiration and progress photos for everyone to see. You can use the below photo on any social media.


If you want a smaller icon to post on your blog:


-Make sure to e-mail or post in the Facebook group on or before August 17, 2016 (EST) with your finished garment photos.
-Be sure to let me know what name/website to credit your photos with.