My Perfect Summer Maxi Dress

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

Friends, meet my first favourite make of the summer!

It’s got all my favourite summer features: blouson bodice, maxi skirt with room to walk, slight racerback that still covers bra straps. Easy to wear, polished, but also dramatic enough to be fun!

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Bodice: Jalie 3245, which includes the raglan tee that I’ve sewn a million times, but also this racerback tank that I’m trying out in my search for a TNT tank pattern.
  • Skirt: Closet Case Files Sallie. This pattern is famous for the jumpsuit view, but the skirt is a great summer workhorse that can be paired with any knit bodice!
  • Fabric: ITY from CaliFabrics, ordered before I started blogging for them last year. Sonja from GingerMakes was kind enough to drive this fabric north to me when we met up in Montreal a couple of summers ago!

This dress is actually inspired by one of Jalie’s new pattern releases, the Rova Blouson Tank Dress and Tunic.

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I mean, they had me with this adorable model, who is actually a Montreal piano teacher who teaches Jeanne, the mom-half of the mother-daughter duo that is Jalie. Canadian product, with sizes ranging from child to plus, AND they have a model with a body-type I can identify with, who looks happy and awesome? I WANT IT! Except the Rova is for wovens, and while I did seriously consider that route, we all know I prefer sewing and wearing knits!

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

So, I turned to another Jalie pattern I already owned! I wear a CC in Jalie, which is almost the largest size… but I’ve also sewn this pattern for my little nieces, and the drafting is perfect at both ends of the spectrum, in all the patterns I’ve tried. Pretty impressive!

For this version, I wanted a lined bodice, so that the blouson effect (the vertical ease that puffs over at the bodice waist) is supported by the shorter inner lining, not just elastic or a drawstring. I cut two identical bodices, with the outer layer 1.5″ longer.

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

A double layer bodice can be finished in a few ways: with bands, or clean-finished by sewing the inner and outer layers together. I did a bit of both!

I chose to clean-finished the armscyes, so I added 3/8″ seam allowance when cutting out, and sewed the inner and outer layer right-sides together. I chose a band for the neckline to make sure the weight of the dress didn’t stretch it out. I’m really pleased with how nicely this pattern fits under the arm – no gaping, sagging, or showing bra band!

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

And finally, the Sallie Maxi skirt! It’s basically a maxi-length version of my TNT Comino Cap Skirt, with the addition of side-slits from the knee down. I used this skirt last year in my Paint Daub Maxi, which quickly became a favourite too! I skipped the pockets because, well, I’m lazy!

ITY Maxi dress - Jalie Tank bodice and CCF Sallie Maxi skirt

I’ve got plans to make a knee-length version next, with a curved hemline… and well, get ready for lots of similar summer dresses!

I mentioned that I’ve been looking for a summer tank TNT pattern – this pattern is my front-runner, but I’m always interested in new patterns! Do you have any suggestions with an inclusive size range and good bust shaping? (I once bought a tank pattern only to realise the front and back were identical, and surprise! That didn’t work out on me!) Thanks for your ideas!


28 thoughts on “My Perfect Summer Maxi Dress

  1. First: Brilliant to cut the inner layer a little shorter to support the blouson effect and the weight of the skirt. I had forgotten about that little trick…
    On the subject of a tank:
    Itch to Stitch is offering the Lago Tank for free. http://itch-to-stitch.com/product/lago-tank-digital-sewing-pattern-pdf/
    or given your love of Cashmerette (I am working through my first one now)
    What about going down a size and using her woven one or making a sleeveless version of Concord (armhole adjustment if necessary.)?

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    1. I tested the Lago tank, as it happens – didn’t love the fit so wasn’t going to blog about it, but I think I will do a quick little post on it soon! Cashmerette is a great idea!

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    1. Yes! I’ve loved this fabric for years but I was overthinking how to best use the directionality… I decided against any fancy multi-directional pieced patterns, and I’m glad I went simple!

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  2. Gillian!!!! I LOVE the dress!! I love the pattern, I love the fabric, I love the colors, I love the vertical lines in the fabric, I love the raserback w/o bra straps (:() showing. And YOU are as always cute as a bug. Have to go, need to find similar fabric at the fabric store, off I go!! Thanks bunches!!

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  3. The only thing I didn’t agree with is no pockets 😩😩. Lol! I find the neckline, darts, shoulder, everything really of the Ella tank from Liola patterns is perfect for me, it is a woven but I have also made it in a knit. Your dress is absolutely stunning, and I bet it feels great!

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    1. Hahaha – I took the pockets out because I don’t care about them! Sorry to horrify you! 😛 I”ll check out the Ella tank – thanks!

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  4. I almost bought LN Bluzette to make this very style dress, but decided I already own the Miss Ruby Tuesday from 1PL which covers almost every style knit dress now with its expansion packs, so I could just hack the tank portion of the sleeveless maxi to be blouson. I loved how the racer back from the ITS Lago Tank had such good bra coverage for me, so I’d just transfer that. Isn’t it great when you find features you like in the stuff you already own and can easily mix and match them to create whatever you want? Sewing is such an awesome super power!

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  5. I just love the idea of using the lining to help with the blousing, it’s a super clever trick!
    Love also the final result, it’s a very lovely dress.

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    1. Having the lining in the blouson section makes it all so easy to wear – no fussing, or wondering how it’s sitting… it’s just always perfect!

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  6. Wow, that is a gorgeous, gorgeous dress. Love the fabric and am super impressed with the fit! It looks so classy and so comfortable at the same time. Well done!

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  7. What a great hack! I love the side seam slits, and the overall effect is perfect for summer. I tried the racerback eons ago with that pattern and was kind of so-so about it. I think I just didn’t use fabric I loved and definitely hated the shaped baseball hem. I will give it another go–I have tanks on the brain too right now. 🙂

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