Hey folks, this is a post for anyone who's purchased the Maynard Dress and wants a little extra visual info! I wouldn't recommend using this blog post in place of the PDF instructions - as the PDF is filled with clear, easy to understand line drawings. Consider this post supplementary!
If you haven't already checked out the blog post on cutting out the Maynard Dress - you can find it here.
I've used gorgeous fabric from The Fabric Store for this sew-along. I wish I'd checked the fibre content when I was at the shop so I could let everyone know what it is, but my guess would be a linen/rayon blend.
HOKAY. Grab a coffee and strap in. This is quite a long one.
Sewing the Maynard Dress
Place the back piece so the right side of the fabric is facing up. Cut into the slit as marked on the pattern piece. Take the godet, wrong side facing up, and place one of the longer edges against the slit. Ensure the bottom edges of the back and godet line up at the 1cm seam allowance mark. The mark at the centre top of the godet should meet the top of the slit.
Optional: If your fabric tends to fray easily, you may like to apply a patch of lightweight iron on interfacing to the wrong side of the back piece at the top of the slit.
I'm wearing camo for these photos.
Sew the godet to the back piece, keeping a 1cm seam allowance on the godet. The back piece will start off with a 1cm seam allowance, but your line of stitching will taper in towards the top of the slit, reducing the seam allowance down to nothing.
Once you reach the top of the slit, keep the needle in the fabric and pivot the fabric layers around, so you can sew down the other edge of the slit. Make sure the other edge of the godet has been pulled around so it's running along the edge of the slit. As before, keep a 1cm seam allowance on the godet and the back piece will taper out from nothing to 1cm.
This is how it should look from the wrong side.
Overlock or finish the raw edges. I've chosen to bind the edges for a neater finish inside. Press these seams outwards.
Sew an inverted box pleat into the centre top of the back piece by folding the back in half, right sides facing together. Match the notches at the top together and the marker guides further down. Stitch from the notches down to the marker, ensuring you back tack at the start and finish of the seam.
Please note: Depending on the broadness of your back, you may like to reduce the width of the notches and marker guides (giving a smaller pleat), or eliminate this pleat altogether. It will not affect any future steps if you do decide to eliminate the pleat, but it will create more of a gape at the back neck. Some small pleats, darts or pin tucks are ways to bring the back neck in. If you’d prefer a tighter fit around the waist, you can move the position of the markers outwards (closer to the cut edge of the piece).
Please excuse my thread that has blended in so well you can't actually see my line of stitching.
Press out flat so the centre notch meets the seam of the pleat. Baste stitch the top of the pleat in place, 0.8cm from the edge.
Topstitch around the centre of the pleat, 1cm either side of the fold line.
Please note: If you're concerned about the fit of the back, save the top stitching of the pleat until you have had a chance to fit the garment, in case you decide to change the dimensions of the pleat or get rid of it altogether. Less unpicking this way!
Hem all the edges of the back piece with a double turned hem. Fold the raw edge towards the wrong side just shy of 1cm, then fold again by 1cm.
Before hemming edges that are cut on an angle/on the bias, you may need to stay stitch along the edge, or apply stay tape to stabilise the fabric and prevent it from stretching out.
I've stay stitched 1cm from the edge on the angled edges to make my hemming process easier.
Hem all the edges of the back piece and press flat.
Again, if you're concerned about the fit of the back pleat, you may prefer to leave the top edge of this piece un-hemmed - in case you need to go back in and change things at a later step. Shown here with an unfinished top hem.
Make horizontal snips into the notch marked A, about 1.5cm long, on both front pieces.
Fold the edges as shown towards the wrong side by 0.5cm, press flat.
I have stay stitched 0.5cm from the angled edge to prevent it from stretching out.
Fold this extension in again, this time so the right sides are facing together. Fold at notch B, so the corner meets notch C. Stitch along the top edge using a 1cm seam allowance, on both front pieces.
Trim the corner off the edges and any other excess fabric to allow for a neater finish, and turn the extension out to the right side. Ensure the corner has a sharp finish and press flat. In turn, the top edge will be folded a second time and pressed down flat in line with the corner.
You can pin the folded edge of the collar in place until you reach the step where you will be sewing it down.
Sew a pleat into the front right piece, by bringing notch D down to meet notch F. The centre of the pleat (notch E) will be folded upwards to meet notch A. Stitch in place, 1cm from the edge.
Fold the pleated edge of the front right piece, using a double turned hem. Fold the raw edge towards the wrong side just shy of 1cm, then fold again by 1cm. You may need to snip a little further into the cut at notch A, to release the tension to allow the fabric to be turned twice. This will leave a small area of raw edge on the wrong side of the fabric – if you are using a fabric that tends to fray, you may need sew a few hand stitches to contain the edge, or coat the raw edge with a specialised fray-stop spray or solution. Press in place.
Another option is to wedge a small strip of the selvedge within the fold to help stabilise it. It will get sewn down when these pieces are hemmed.
Fold all the remaining edges of the front right piece to create double folded hems. Use the method outlined in Step 3 of the PDF instructions (that come with the pattern) for a neater and less bulky finish to the corners of 90 degrees or less. Once all the edges have been folded and pressed, stitch in place. Follow the inside edge of the fold.
How it will look from the wrong side.
And the right side.
8. Sew an inverted box pleat into the front left piece. Fold the piece in half, so notch G and H are lined up and the right sides are facing together. Stitch 2cm out from the notches.
Take the fold of the pleat, and spread it out flat so the centre of the pleat, aligns with the stitch line. Stitch the pleat down flat, 1cm from the edge.
Fold and press the remaining edges back on the left front piece, using a double folded hem.
Once all the edges have been folded and pressed, stitch in place. Follow the inside edge of the fold.
Remember to stay stitch or use tape on edges cut on an angle to prevent the fabric from stretching out.
How it will look from the wrong side.
And the right side.
Sew the straps by folding the strap pieces in half, right sides together. Stitch along the length, using a 0.5cm seam allowance. Turn the strap inside out and press flat. Tuck one end in and sew down to finish.
Stitch all the straps in place according to the PDF instructions.
Next step is to attach the front pieces to the back. The hem of the front pieces will be overlapping the hem of the back. First of all, line up the front and back pieces as shown. Pin in place. Before anything is stitched down, it is highly recommended to check the fit of the dress.
The line of stitching that indicates the inside edge of the collar extension, should line up with the top edge of the back piece.
You can check the fit by flipping the front pieces over so the wrong side of the fabric is against the wrong side of the back piece.
Align the notches marked ‘underarm opening’ on the front left piece, with the corresponding underarm opening notches on the left side of the back. Overlap the hem of the front, on the hem of the back.
Please note: The bottom hems are intentionally asymmetrical. The edges are not supposed to line up. Pin in place.
When you try this on, you may want to make some alterations. Play around with how much the panels overlap at the side seam if you want to take the width in.
You can shave some extra length off the panels if they are sitting too long for you - I'd recommend starting with the front left piece (the longest) before cutting into any other panels. Shave the length off the longest point of this panel, blending it in to the current length at the other side of the hem. Do this in small increments until you're happy with the proportions.
Below I've shown the process for adding in extra panels to the back/shoulder to create a greater range of arm movement.
These panels will be taken out of the facing section of the pockets.
Depending on how much extra room you’d like at the back, cut a wedge out of the pocket facing, leaving 1cm width at the apex. For this example, the bottom edge of this wedge is 7cm. Finish this edge with a double turned hem. Trim the corner off and neaten the other edges with overlocking (or your other choice of finishes).
Line up these wedges between the front and back pieces in a position that feels most comfortable to you to wear. The hems of the front and back pieces will need to overlap the overlocked edges of the wedge by 1cm.
Once you're happy with the placement, stitch the wedge to the back piece first, following the previous line of stitching. When you reach the bottom of the wedge, pivot the needle around and sew back up along the folded edge of the hem, creating a rectangular shape.
How it will look from the wrong side.
Sew the front piece on top of these wedges, overlapping the hems. As before, sew along the previous line of stitching, and continue stitching around in a rectangular shape.
Stitch the side seams together. The front hem will overlap the back hem. Start top stitching at the underarm notch. Once you reach the bottom of the seam (where the back piece turns into a corner), pivot the line of stitching in a rectangular shape and continue back up, sewing close to the folded edge.
On the left side, flip the strap forward, so it is facing the front and gets stitched down.
Once the side seams are sewn up, it's time to sew the pockets.
Fold the angled edge of the pocket towards the wrong side by 1cm and press in place. I like to stay stitch this line first to avoid stretching the fabric out.
Fold the pocket pieces again, at the notches, so the right sides are facing together. Sew down the sides using a 1cm seam allowance. Trim the corners off to allow a neater finish when turned out. Turn the pocket out so the wrong sides of the fabric are facing.
Fold in the remaining raw edges by 1cm and press in place. Top stitch along the angled edge. Some of the larger sizes have a long pocket- you may like to fold the bottom edge up by more than 1cm if you’d prefer a shorter pocket.
Line up two of the pocket corners according to the markers on the pattern piece. This is just a suggested guide, you may prefer another placement. Stitch close around the edge to secure in place. Stitch another line inside of this to create a twin stitch effect.
And you’re done! The dress is designed to be worn with the right-hand side overlapping the left-hand side.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions or want a hand with other fitting queries!
Can't wait to see your creations. Tag me on Instagram - Elbe Textiles and use the hashtags #maynarddress and #elbetextiles