Drawstring Shift Maxi Dress

Want to learn more about how I made the in-seam pockets on this dress with French seams all around?  Check out my French seam pockets guest post as part of the Great Online Sewing Match over at Sew, Mama, Sew today!

drawstring maxi side | whipstitch
This is the dress I have been wearing over and over and over (and over) this summer.  It’s comfortable, it’s chic, it breathes beautifully in this wretched heat, it hides my flaws but still looks put-together and pretty.  I looooove this dress.  Love.

drawstring shift front view | whipstitchThe pattern is the Drawstring Shift, which I designed for my Summer Dresses e-course.  It’s actually the same dress as the Peter Pan collared version here, but without the collar and with a lot more length–approximately 21″ more length, to be specific.  This version is sewn in that marvelous Robert Kaufman chambray–which, if you can get your hands on some, is like buttah.  I bought this striped one from Hawthorne Threads, and it is absolutely dreamy and worth every single penny.  It drapes beautifully and sews like you’re living in some kind of fantasy land where all your seams press perfectly and your needle never gets dull.  For reals.

drawstring maxi detail | whipstitchThe dress has a deliberately simple silhouette–classic and clean is how I roll, after all.  I wanted something that would look awesome all summer long, but that could also be made in heavier fabrics and worn over fitted tees and under cardigans come fall.  The scoop neckline is flattering on nearly anyone, and the looser fit allows you to move and keep cool no matter what you’re doing.  The drawstring is made of applied bias tape, and makes a soft, blouson shape that I really love–it’s forgiving but still emphasizes my waist, and it gives me lots of options for fit, depending on how I’m feeling about my waistline at the moment (or how many kids’ birthday parties I’ve been to recently where I went ahead and ate the cake even though I’m fighting to take off 8 pounds before my husband takes me SCUBA diving in October).  The tie ends are made of cross-cut strips double-folded using a bias tape maker, and knotted at the ends.

drawstring maxi racerback | whipstitchThe back might be one of my favorite details with this dress: it’s cut in a racerback, and I think it’s one of those little details that’s just subtle enough that it might go un-noticed, but when you DO see it, really adds something softly special to the dress, makes it stand out from all the others.  There’s a center back seam here so that I could maximize my yardage and get the whole dress out of around 2 yds of fabric(ish), but some of my other samples for this pattern were sewn with no center back seam, and both front and back cut on the fold.

drawstring maxi back | whipstitchOnce again, I did all French seams, including around the in-seam pockets that I added.  They’re great for going to summertime parties where you don’t really know everyone, and need something to do with your hands.  They’re also great for plopping your phone in at those same parties when you DO need your hands (probably for eating cake).  And they don’t interfere with the drawstring (which you’ll need for after the cake).

drawstring maxi | whipstitchI can’t even exaggerate a little how much I have worn this dress this summer–at one point, three days in a row (I swear, I washed it in between, honest).  It is so comfortable and makes me feel very stylish, but it is effortless to wear and gets lots of compliments.  Easy to sew, too–only about an hour-plus of sewing time, around what the Laurel took.  But see how much more comfortable I look in this dress than the Creamsicle dress?  Goes to show the power of fabric selection.  It’s like song selection on American Idol–it makes every bit of difference, even if it’s not what people think they’re noticing.

Which do you like better of my two summer dresses so far–this one, or the Creamsicle?

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  • MC
    July 11, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I like this one better. You look so at ease and happy in it. Would you consider doing your dress class in a Craftsy like format? Where we could access the class at any time. I love that about your skirt class. It is great.

    • Deborah
      July 11, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Thank you so much for saying that–about the dress and the class! I’m making some updates to the online classes I offer–I’ll make an announcement through the newsletter once I’ve finalized all the pieces. 🙂

  • Lynn
    July 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    You look lovely!
    The link to the peter pan collar version doesn’t seem to be working.

    • Deborah
      July 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for the compliment, and for the heads-up! Link all fixed now. 🙂

  • Zoe
    July 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Lovely! Would love to see a pattern release for this…. Just sayin’ 🙂