DIY Maxi Dress

I got the itch to start sewing some clothes again the other day and started scouring Pinterest for some inspiration.  I found a few great tutorials on some simple dresses that I sort of combined to make my own little version.

It cost me $9 and a couple hours to make this sweet dress and I’ve already had a ton of compliments on it at school.  Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

  • a tank top or t-shirt
  • 2 yards of a jersey/knit fabric
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread

I started by digging through my closet for an old tank top.  I found this adorable old Arden B. top that I haven’t worn forever and thought it would look great with my navy fabric.

Step 1: put on your top and mark a spot right under the bust.  Take it off and measure the same length up all around the shirt where you will cut.

Step 2: Cut your shirt.

Step 3: Make your waistband.  Some of the tutorials I saw did this part differently so it depends on the fabric you use on how you will tailor this.  Since I used a jersey fabric with some stretch to it and because things can slide over my chest without much difficulty {if ya know what I mean} I just measured the exact size of my waist to make the band.  I cut a piece of fabric off the 2 yards that was about 4 inches wide and wrapped it around under my bust to know how long to make it and sewed the ends together.  If you use a stiffer fabric or have some more area to get over when putting the dress on {you lucky duck}, I would suggest either an elastic band or adding a zipper.

Step 4: Attach the band to the tank top.  I slid the tank on and put the band on also to make sure it was going to fit and sit where I wanted it on my waist.  Then I pinned it together and sewed those pieces {after I took it off, obviously}.

Step 5:  Make the skirt.  I had already cut a strip off the skirt for the waistband and saved some scraps for another project so my skirt wasn’t the full two yards.  You can use more or less fabric depending on how full you want it.  To start the skirt, I gathered the top by sewing a straight stitch {using my longest stitch setting}.

Step 6: Pull the thread through and bunch the fabric to gather.  Once it was gathered, I wrapped it around my waist to make sure it would fit {adjust as necessary by making your gather looser or tighter} and then sew it to the band.

Step 7: The final step is to sew the side closed and hem the bottom of the skirt and it’s done!

And just because Pudge is so sweet and I love to sneak a pic of him whenver I can loved it too:

It’s incredibly comfortable and cute too.  To me, that’s the perfect outfit.




I’m linking this up with 30 Handmade Days.


  1. Hi, Jessie

    Love the dress. Super cute!


  2. Love it!!!

  3. Great idea Jessie! Super cute!

  4. I love this tutorial! I’m going to have to try to make one soon. I’m pregnant and find maxi dresses to be so comfy. :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Your dress is so cute! I love how you did a thicker waist band.

  6. Love it Jess! Super cute!

  7. This turned out beautiful. Love it!

  8. Your dress turned out great! I’d love for you to share this at my linky party – Make it Great Monday! It opens Sunday night. (

  9. I love your dress!! I’ve been wanting to make one for so long. Yours turned out beautifully. I’m a new follower! :)

  10. Hey Jessie! This tutorial is AWESOME! I will be featuring it on my blog Wednesday! Have a wonderful week!

  11. this is definitely a motivator to learn how to sew (with a machine!) :)

  12. Cute dress…but super super cute doodle!!! I have two labradoodles and i love them!!!

  13. Hi Jessie.
    Was just looking up DIY maxi dresses and came across this. It looks awesome! I’ve only ever sown 1 thing and i’m kind of self taught but i was just wondering if you could do it without the waistband? I am fuller in the hips so i like maxi dresses to flow from my waist or under my bust otherwise i tend to look bigger. Have you got any suggestions?

    Regards Kristie

  14. Wow! This is such a great idea! I don’t consider myself to be a very tall person (5’6″) and yet I have the hardest time finding maxi dresses that have the length that I want. Can’t wait until the summer so I can try this out!

  15. Love the dress :)
    I made a list of Maxi dress tutorials on my blog <3
    You're in it, hope thats okay :)

  16. Such a cute dress! I wanted to let you know that I featured it on my blog!

  17. Hello! It would be an understatement to say that I love your dress! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I am 5’2″ and normal maxi dresses you see at stores are WAY to long on me, often by 5″ or more! I can’t wait to try this dress so I can make it the perfect length for me! Thanks for much for the inspiration!

  18. Gloria saucedo says:

    Love the DYI and the dress!
    I want a tank just like the one in this tutorial. where can i find one?

  19. I just found this post and your blog and I’m loving it! :D Sewing has intimidated me–really, just the bobbin–and I haven’t done it in a long while. BUT, I’m going to start again. This is just my style… comfy and cute! Thanks for the tutorial.

    Pudge is a. the cutest name for a dog EVER and b. an adorable pup! :)

  20. love this! i tried [and failed] to make a maxi dress yesterday but your tutorial is a lot easier to follow! thank you!

  21. samantha says:

    I love this dress! to bad im no good at sewing! :( you could definately market that dress and gets lots of buys!

  22. Definitely want to try to make a maxi dress myself!!

  23. This is a great tutorial. It turned out so beautifully. I have been making my own maxi skirts, but I have yet to try out a maxi dress. You have inspired me. Thanks!

  24. I have a ton of tank tops that I never wear…I want to do this! Looks so easy, but then again better said than done :)

  25. Love your dress!! I just posted about one I made. referenced your blog in mine. I love how yours sits on your natural waist. Maybe next time I’ll do that instead of making it empire waisted. Love the blue.

  26. This is too cute! You are so clever…instructions are great! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Hi! I absolutely love this dress. I’ve never really been into dresses, always been the tom boy type. But as soon as i saw these maxi dresses, I decided they were just too cute to pass up! So, I started looking around and they are some what expensive! So, Thank you soo much for the tutorial! It’s fantastic! :)

  28. I love the colour and also 1 qn: what if i just want to create it just as a maxi skirt and that band sits on my hipbone instead? What should i take note of?

  29. Hanna B. says:

    I was wondering if you could make this with a fabric other than knit. Could you make it with a cotton calico fabric instead? Or would it not fit the same way? I want to make one with chevron print, but everywhere local is sold out of the knits, but have tons of cotton calico with chevron. Do you think there would need to be any adjustments, or would it just turn out with a little bit stiffer skirt (which is fine with me!)? Thanks!

    • Hi Hanna!
      I think you could use other fabrics. Just make sure that you leave a little extra fabric to get it on and off because it won’t have the extra stretch that knit has. A chevron print would be super cute!

  30. Do you have a pattern at all for this dress? I’ve never sewn before, and was curious if you had a pattern to follow? Really love this dress.

  31. I’m in love!!! I bought fabric yesterday but my sewing machine is not working :(
    I would like to try make one by hand.

  32. I was wondering where do you get your fabric at? And I love the maxi dress.

  33. Norma Stanforth says:

    I liked the dress a lot but now i am not able to sew any more but i do crochet a lot. Thank you for showing your beautiful gown.

  34. Oh I love this tutorial!! The dress looks like it came right out of the store! I must try this!

  35. Hi, I just came across your dress and absolutely love it!!! I’m new to sewing (actually have never sewn anything) but would love to try this. How full did u make the skirt?


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