I don’t know about you… but I love a good maxi dress! When Tea and Crystal announced that they were hosting #sewmaxiformothersday again this year, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity to participate! I’ve been stalking quite a few maxi dress patterns recently and with all the ‘isewlation’ sales going on, I may have gone a lil wild! Oops!
One of the pattern companies that stood out to me during my search was Ellie & Mac. All patterns on their website are 60% off right now plus every week they have what they call wacky patterns on sale for $1. Yup you read it right! They also have a rewards program which I’ve been taking full advantage of. Anyway the maxi dress pattern I am reviewing today is called the Tres Belle wrap pattern.
What I know we sewists would appreciate most about this company is the extensive size chart! This pattern goes from xxs-5xl and since it is a knit pattern, fitting is quite simple. There are no finished garment measurements but I am happy to report the size chart is spot on! I made a muslin of the bodice just to be sure but it was totally unnecessary. The measurement chart suggested XL and I am very pleased with the fit. The only alterations I made were a ½” sway back adjustment and I lengthened the skirt 2.5″ which in the end made no sense because of the weight of the skirt. It ended up sweeping the floor so I turned up that same 2.5″, hemming at 1″ and trimming the extra.
This pattern has so many options, I feel like there is a style for everyone! The bodice is a faux wrap with a neckband and then you choose a sleeve length from short, ¾ or long. The skirt options are gathered, half circle and full circle a choice of 4 lengths – tunic, mid thigh, knee or maxi. I chose short sleeve, gathered maxi for my version. I also made the optional sash because the waist was rather loose and I preferred to cinch it in. I do need to make my sash thinner in the future though so I will probably make it half as wide instead.
My fabric is a gorgeous black and white leopard print FTY knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics. It was my first time working with FTY. It definitely wasn’t the worst experience; my serger handled it like a boss and my machine’s twin needle worked a charm for hemming. The one thing I would say is that it is a bit too translucent for my liking especially with the white base. I will have to wear some sort of slip or cami underneath which is not ideal for this warm climate. But at least it’s stunning right?
The only real issue I had was that the waist was quite loose and I didn’t have the clear elastic that the pattern recommended. I thought it would be okay to substitute with regular ¼” elastic but boy was I wrong! I ended up having to seam rip a bit and in the end the waist just ended up being really bulky and still quite loose. It also added even more weight to the skirt which then stretches down the bodice; not what you want to happen to an already translucent fabric! Next time (there will be a next time for sure!) I will probably grade in the waist and just omit the elastic or I will need to source some clear elastic from online.
All in all, I am super happy with this dress and the way it fits my body and I know the changes I need to make next time. I was pleasantly surprised when I read that the pattern was drafted for a short waisted 5’4″ tall person – that is literally me! I can see myself trying the other versions as well; I love a circle skirt! I highly recommend this pattern for beginners – the instructions are clear with good photos and fitting is pretty easy. I’ve already added more Ellie and Mac patterns to my stash and cannot wait to try them all! Did you participate in #sewmaxiformothersday this year? Let me know!