Maxi Dress Variation: Making Long Sleeves

1:55 PM

Here's a variation for those who have purchased the Maxi Sheet Dress Pattern and would like longer sleeves for fall/ winter.  
Or anyone who has a short sleeve pattern and would like to lengthen the sleeves.

Also, I've been curious about making a maxi dress with knit, and so I made another dress with white knit and while I was at it, tried out a long sleeve too.

First off with the knit:
I used a white ponte knit so it won't wrinkle.  
It worked just fine and makes it easy to wear since you don't have to iron it.
It makes things a little more challenging as you sew, but ponte knit is a less stretchy "more stable" knit, so I didn't find sewing this dress with it that different from a sheet. 

How to Adjust the Pattern for Long Sleeves
1. Measure your desired lengths:
a. SHOULDER TO WRIST LENGTH: take your measuring tape and measure from your shoulder to your wrist for long sleeves, or anywhere in between where you'd like your sleeves. 
 Add 1.5" to your measurement for hem and seam allowance.
NOTE: Typical women's standard sleeve lengths:
Full long sleeve 23" finished (24.5" to cut)
Half Sleeve {hitting just above elbow} 11" finished (12.5" to cut)
I have orangutan arms, so my long sleeve was 28" to cut
b. WRIST CIRCUMFERENCE: measure around your wrist to the fit you prefer.
Add 1" for seam allowance to your measurement.

2. Arrange Fabric and Draw Pattern Using Longer Measurements
Lay out your fabric in two layers so you can save time by cutting both sleeves at once.
The fabric direction should run the length of the sleeve.
First center the pattern piece for the short sleeve near an edge of your fabric. and pin in place.
1. In the center of your pattern piece, at the highest point of the curve, measure out your shoulder to wrist length.  If you have a yard stick, it makes it easier than  a tape measure.
2. Using your wrist circumference measurement, you'll  draw a line (shown in blue)  perpendicular to your centered length (shown with measuring tape).  Center the measurement with half on each side of the length/ measuring tape line.  
Example: If your wrist circumference (with 1" seam allowance included) was 10" you'll want to make sure 5" is above and 5" is below your measuring tape length line.
3. Connect the original pattern to wrist circumference line.
Shown with the red side lines, you just draw a line to create the sides for a long sleeve. 

Once you cut out your longer sleeves, you follow the instructions in the pattern the same, you'll just have a much longer side seam for the long sleeve as opposed to the original short cap sleeve.
Hope this helps and helps make the pattern a fall/ winter option.
I have to admit, my combo of both the maxi long length with the full long sleeves makes the dress seem a bit frumpy/ douty.  But a reader wrote me to ask for this tutorial because she was planning to make a longer sleeve with the shorter skirt version for fall. I thought it sounded really cute and the shorter skirt version would probably fix the "pioneer" look I have going on here for a longer sleeve.
I've been thinking about making another (I have too many as it is) with a half length sleeve and the shorter skirt for fall/winter to wear with boots.
Just some ideas!

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  1. So... when I saw the first pic I thought this would make a great temple dress!!! And comfy too! I like it!

  2. I was thinking the same thing, been wanting a new temple dress anyway!

  3. Looks so comfy and pretty. I'm really going to have to give it a try. I also noticed that the Hipster Hoodie is going to be available in an adult version?! I can't wait for that. I could totally use some new (Texas) winter clothes!

  4. So I am not the only one that thought this would be a super comfy temple dress. I love the short sleeved sheet dress. So cute!

  5. This is so pretty :)
    I love your stuff! My daughter and I really want to get sewing. I think I need a new machine though... my old one is having some issues... :(

  6. If you were selling these, I would totally buy one. I have been wanting a temple dress forever, but don't have a lot of motivation to make one myself. This looks awesome.

  7. when I saw it "temple dress" was the first thing I thought. great job

  8. yep. Temple dress. great job on it!

  9. You could always add a sassy belt to it to un-frump it a little. Or perhaps dye it? (no idea if knit will dye or not) Good to know knit works well for that pattern too! I made mine with an unknown fabric (freebie from my grandmother) and it didn't work out like I envisioned. Still wearable, though. I did the short version and changed it up to be sleeveless! (Louisiana is ridiculously hot -- I can still wear it throughout the winter by adding a sweater)

  10. Oh my goodness my first thought was a comfy temple dress. I bet when it is made with patterned material you will get a completely different look.
    It looks so pretty!

  11. I also thought temple dress and will be buying the pattern today. I desperately need a new one and like that this one doesn't look too old fashioned.

  12. I guess we were all thinking temple dress :-)

  13. I am considering making this for a temple dress. Did you line the white knit dress? Money wise I am thinking of just making it out of a sheet and line it, but it will wrinkle. I still might do this because I am nursing and my size may change again later. Any suggestions on fabric?

  14. I must say I also thought it was a dress for the temple ... it is good to meet other women looking to make modest clothing ... in my case it's for my little daughter, but I also do something for my


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