This post is dedicated to those of you who are convinced you cannot sew clothing. Before we start, raise your right hand and repeat after me: “I can and I will!” Because . . . for DIY Easy Beach Style, all you need is a willing hand and a sewing machine. You can do this!
For her very first sewing project EVER, Audra of the Kurtz Corner Blog chose a Maxi Dress that is adorable, easy and quick. It involves one fabric, one t-shirt or tank top, a little sewing time and a Big Smile at the end. Audra did a great job on her tutorial, so take a few minutes to read it through and make notes before you begin.
Four big decisions for your DIY Easy Beach Style Maxi Dress:
- T-Shirt or Tank and what color?
- Fabric to coordinate with your tee or tank and how much?
- Where to trim off the bottom of your tee or tank?
- How long to make the skirt of your Maxi?
Not bad, right? The first one is super-easy. Head for your favorite ready-to-wear store and choose a tee or tank in a color you love. Try it on to be sure you love the fit and start thinking about where you want the shirt to end and the skirt to begin. That tank or tee is all the “fitting” you’ll actually need to do!
After you’ve selected your tee, stop by your local fabric store and pick out a coordinating fabric for the skirt. This is the determining factor for the final look of your Maxi. Super simple and casual might mean a check, dot or stripe. Wild and fabulous could involve a bright, large floral or something bold from Kaffe Fassett. Cheerful and full of whimsy calls for a “novelty” print of fruits, cats or sunglasses. Your dress, your DIY Easy Beach Style, your choice!
Audra chose a knit fabric for the skirt of her Maxi-Dress, but a woven would work just as well. You’ll need about 2.5 yards of a lighter weight, flowy fabric that looks good when turned sideways. The length of your skirt will run from selvedge to selvedge and you’ll need enough yardage to wrap around your body about 1.5 times. Pre-wash your shirt and your fabric before sewing them into a dress.
After the wash is done, try your shirt on and mark where you want to cut it off. Just below your bust? At the waist? Below the hip? Gather up your fabric while looking in a mirror to help you decide. If you own a similar Maxi Dress, gauge your skirt height/bodice length from that.
Read through Audra’s steps on how she made her skirt and think it through. She cleverly folded her fabric in half so the skirt is a double layer. This avoided the need for a hem and prevents show-through but, depending on the fabric you choose, it may be a little heavy. You can easily use just one layer and a narrow turned up, machine-stitched hem. From there, you’ll just follow the tutorial and by the time you can say DIY Easy Beach Style, you’ll have a new Maxi. I predict you’ll be making several of these. I know I will! Click here to get started.
And, now, the piece de resistance! Cute, cute, super-cute matching flip flops!!!
I just flipped (really!) over these when I saw them on the Flamingo Toes blog. The directions and supplies are fairly simple and I can see lots of these in my future, too. Bev is SO clever!
You’ll need Flip Flops, of course, fusible batting, heavy interfacing, cotton cording, E-6000 glue and fabric. The fun part will be deciding what fabrics you want to use! If you’re completing your DIY Easy Beach Style with a pair of Flip Flops, plan to have about 1/4 yard left from your Maxi Dress Skirt for the sole and flower embellishment. I love Bev’s choice of Linen for the top of the strap, but a lightweight denim or chambray would be darling, too.
If you haven’t used fusible batting before, you’re going to love how it adds to the comfort of your Refashioned Flip Flops. It’s easy to use and a staple in my sewing studio. You won’t need much for this project, but I advise purchasing extra to have on hand. I always keep interfacing around, too, because, you never know when a late night sewing creativity bug will bite you squarely in the. . . .hands!
Bev’s instructions are wonderful and well-illustrated with great photographs. Click here and read through before you start so you know where you’re headed and your re-fashion will go more smoothly. This is a “must sit overnight” project, so plan accordingly. I know how we love to do things at the last minute, but you don’t want your flip-flops to glue themselves to the sand because they didn’t get to sit overnight!
This is where the Big Smile comes in as you enjoy all the compliments you’re going to get! I can hardly wait to get started on my own DIY Easy Beach Style. You, too? Let’s go – shop, sew and keep cool!
About the Author
Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community.