Hi, this is my first sewing tutorial so I'm sorry if it's not very clear in parts I'll try to explain everything as best I can. I was walking through my local fabric store and saw this blue and black zebra print and immediately thought about making a maxi with it, I hope this helps others to make one similar.
The length of your dress will depend on where you want your waistband, mine was right under the bust. So, throughout the tutorial you can make adjustments where needed for correct length.
Also, I used a one inch seam allowance for easy adjustments.
For the top I suggest using some scrap fabric first to make sure of the yardage needed. You need enough to make two front pieces and two back pieces.
First, layout skirt fabric. Decide how full you want skirt to be, I wanted mine extra full so I used the whole width of fabric. As for the length as noted above it depends on where your waistband is, (the width of your elastic as well) I used 2 inch wide elastic so i measured from two inches below my bust to the floor. Then add 1 inch for the seam allowance at top and add hem allowance as well. (I like wide hems so I added 3 inches)
after all that cut your fabric width wise.
Now if you have a serger serge the top and bottom of skirt.(if not then just finish the edges with your sewing machine.)
Sew sides together down length of dress.
Next, sew two rows of gathering stitches (one on seamline and one inside the seam allowance) on the top edge of skirt, pull threads until skirt is just a little too big. (make sure you can still slip it on and off)
Make sure your elastic is the right size then, sew ends together.
Now, here is the tricky part (or at least it was for me), lay out skirt (right side out) then, lay your elastic on top of skirt so that it overlaps about an inch, and make sure the seams line up.
Sew elastic to top of skirt stretching the elastic as evenly as you can, as you sew.
Now that you have the skirt almost finished it's time to work on the bodice of the dress.
NOTE: I made my bodice out of black matte jersey but, in the pictures I used some purple knit fabric from some scraps, so that it's easier to see, because the tank top I was going by was black as well and in the pictures it was almost invisible.
As noted above I strongly suggest using scrap material before cutting into your good fabric just to be sure of you yardage.
Layout your fabric fold lengthwise so you just have enough to make one front piece, do this again for the second piece. For the back piece fold in the same way. Try on your tank top and mark where you will cut the fabric for the waistline, don't forget to add seam allowances. Fold the tank top in half lengthwise down the middle of the front and back.
Line the fold in your shirt with the fold in your fabric, also making sure the end of your fabric lines up with the waistline mark you made.
Pin top to fabric under the neckline, arm hole, a few inches up the strap, and down the side seam.
First, cut around the neckline and follow the strap up, use a ruler lined up with the strap and cut as long a strap as you can.
Carefully fold the top down the side seam, so that the back is on top of the front. Cut up the side seam with seam allowance, stopping about an inch above the armhole.
Continue cutting around the armhole and up the other side of the strap, just like for the front.
Once you have that cut out it should look similar to this picture, cut out another one using the piece you just cut as a pattern.
You now have two front bodice pieces.
Make two back pieces by measuring the height of the side seam on the front bodice, and the width across your back from seam allowance to seam allowance. Then add the seam allowances. Cut a rectangle using your measurements. Then cut another the same as the first one.
You now have two back pieces.
Since the edges will all be inclosed I didn't serge them you can if you like.
Pin bodice front to back at sides.
Sew down sides.Do the same for the facing pieces. At this point you can try on the top to ensure fit, make adjustments as needed.
You now have two full bodice pieces.
Pin bodice pieces right sides together, and sew together along straps and neckline front.
Leave an opening in the back for the straps to fit into, sew along the back of the straps.
Turn right side out, and iron seams.
Now decide how twisted you want the straps, I made mine with 7 full turns, twisted toward my shoulder.
If you don't have a dressform then you can get a friend to help you pin the straps in place. After you twist one strap, tuck it into the back opening and pin. Do the same for the other strap, making sure you twist them the same amount of times.
Now, another tricky part.
Very carefully not moving the pins, turn bodice wrong side out, pinning straps on inside. After pinning straps be sure to take out the pins on the right side so they don't mess up the garment (or your sewing machine). Your top should look somewhat like this picture.
Sew up opening on back.
Turn right side out and iron seams.
Baste lower edge of bodice together.
Now sew the bodice to the elastic in the same manner as for the skirt, the seam in the skirt should be in the back of the bodice.
This picture is of the actual bodice I used since I didn't sew the purple tester to any elastic.
Finally all you have to do is hem the bottom of the dress making sure it is the right length and you're done!