Drab to Fab: Maxi Style

This is another version of the Basic Style crop top dress. Follow this post if you want to make a maxi!

maxi style mainI started out with an ugly (and unflattering) tie die shirt, and all I could think about were maxi dresses for some reason. Ok, let’s be honest… I am always thinking about sewing maxi dresses. They are the best!

The Maxi-Style Dress features a maxi skirt made with sheer fabric, with a knit straight skirt underneath. You’ll be learning how to make both in this tutorial, as well as two long slits on each side of the maxi skirt. Personally, I think this makes maxi-skirts/dresses look really cute, but you can skip this step if it’s not your style!


Drab to Fab: Maxi Style

Skill Level: Must know how to sew using a sewing machine at a beginner/intermediate level.


1 top, prepared following the directions HERE (Under “Prepare the Top”). Prewashed

1-2 yards of knit fabric (prewashed to eliminate any finished garment shrinkage)

2 1/2 yards of sheer fabric (prewashed to eliminate any finished garment shrinkage)
Sewing machine (threaded and ready to roll)


Basic sewing gear

Serger (optional)


You will be drafting up a pattern for two skirts. A basic straight skirt which you will make following the directions here . Before cutting out the final skirt pattern draft, you’ll will be adding a few more lines to make another pattern (in a pattern! It’s basically Inception) for the maxi:

  • First 3 black lines: These are made following the directions here.
  • 4th black line: This line’s total measurement is the waist (that was divided by 4) + 8″.
  • Blue arrow (straight skirt length): Length from the waist, to how long you want your straight skirt, + 2″.
  • Green arrow (maxi sheer skirt length): Length from the waist, to the floor, + 2″.
  • Red arrow: Length from the waist to hips (as stated here).
  • Red corner mark: Gives your skirt a pleasing curved effect. Learn the “how to” here.


Cut out:

1. Using your straight skirt pattern, cut two pieces on the fold of your knit fabric (making sure the grain line is running vertically down your skirt.)

2. On the sheer fabric, add the “tail” of the remaining skirt pattern to create the maxi skirt size. Lay this pattern out on the fold of your fabric (once again making sure the grain line is running vertically down your skirt).

3. Before cutting out the sheer fabric, you’ll need to add a small seam allowance. In the example, I am adding 1/2″ all around the skirt, except the fold (that can stay right on the fold line with no added allowance).

Sew the knit straight skirt pieces right sides together along sides. Finish raw edges with serging or another preferred method. Set aside.

If you would rather not have any slits in your maxi skirt: Skip the following 3 steps, and just completely sew up the two sides of the maxi and finish the edges in the same manner as your straight skirt.

Serge (or another preferred method) the raw edges of the two maxi skirt pieces separately. Place the two sheer maxi pieces right sides together. 20150604_105506

Mark where the slit will be on both sides of the skirt:

  • Using the straight skirt pattern, mark where it ends, and the tail of the maxi starts. This will be where your slit will go.
  • Sew the edges, using the seam allowance that you measured for (so I sewed mine using a 1/2″ seam allowance), STOPPING at the place you marked on each side.
    maxi style marking slit

Make the slit:

  1. Press each side seam open. (Use a low setting on your iron if you are using sheer fabric, and always test a scrap piece before ironing the real thing!)
  2. Continue pressing the seam open, even where the sides are not sewn together, and act as if those edges are actually sewn. Pin them down as shown.
  3. Top stitch the slit from the bottom, across the top, and back down to the bottom.
  4. It kind of looks like an upside down “V”. Repeat with the other slit.

slit making maxi


Sew the straight skirt to the maxi:

  • Place the straight skirt with right side out, into the maxi skirt.


  • Pin it all around, matching each side seam. Baste stitch together.



Sew the prepared top to the skirt in the same manner as stated in the Basic Style tutorial, under “Sew the Top to the Skirt”.


  • Hem the straight skirt: You should be prepared- you will need to measure and hem the straight skirt and the maxi skirt separately (I know, it’s a pain to hem two skirts! But it will be worth it!). Measure and hem the straight skirt by following the directions in the Basic Style tutorial (the hemming instructions are at the bottom of the post).
  • Hem the maxi skirt: IF YOU ARE HEMMING SHEER FABRIC you must use a rolled hem. Click those words to see the instructional “how to”(but do scroll to method 2. No need to hand stitch if you have a machine!). Otherwise, measure and hem the maxi just as you did the straight skirt.


I want to see your finished dress! Follow me on instagram and post a pic of yourself with your dress. Use the hashtag: #croptopdress. You might win a free month of sewing lessons. 

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