Fibre Mood Chloe: Swishy Maxi-Dress Hack
The easiest hack of this sewing pattern is to lengthen it into whatever dress length you want, and voila… the blouse becomes a dress. I’ve seen some versions in the Fibre Mood Link Party, and these hacks are all delightful. The lengthened garments exude elegant Greek Goddess vibes. What I envisioned for my maxi dress required more toil and trouble.
Before the hack could begin, I had to make sure that the sizing would work, so I sewed up a wearable muslin to check that the one-shoulder detail would fit properly. According to the size chart, the bust measurement is the crucial one that matters. Sizes go from 4-32 catering to bust sizes of 76cm-146cm. My size fell between size 6 and 8, and I chose to go with size 6. I reasoned that it was probably better for the garment to have less ease in the upper bust since I’d be adding all this extra fabric for my maxi and I didn’t want extra weight from the added fabric to pull the one-shoulder yoke (they call it a “trim” in the pattern) past my pancake boobies. Also, from previous makes I knew that the size 8 tends to fit a little oversized on me for Fibre Mood patterns. Anyway, I was starting off with a muslin, so if that didn’t work, then I’d readjust. And it turned out that size 6 is good for me.
Now that I know that the one-shoulder yoke fits me fine, then I went ahead and redrafted the bodices. Both front and back bodices have straight side seams running from the underarm to the hem. In order to create maximum swish for my mega-maxi dress, I had to tent out the bodices. I did this by first shortening both front and back bodices by 12cm. This first step is optional, but I had to shorten mine for the sake of proportion as I was anticipating adding on more tiers. Next, I drew straight lines dividing the bodices lengthwise into sections.
Some of these lines are positioned with the help of the notches indicated on the top edges which meet the yokes.
Then I cut up the bodices according to these lines drawn from the hem to the top edge. However, I kept a couple millimetres still intact on the top edge so that I can fan out the sections.
With a piece of drafting paper placed underneath, I traced out the new pattern for the bodices. Now the angles of the side seams fan out or tent out in such a way that if the lines of the side seams are extended towards each other, they would make a 90 degree angle. Well, almost. I eyeballed this without formally checking out if it’s a true 90 degree angle. What I was aiming for is that both bodices when sewn together would make a semi-circle, and this would provide enough swish factor for the dress.
The important notches were transferred, and the bottom edge or the hem of the new paper patterns had to be rounded off. Then I had to measure the bottom hems of both redrafted bodices, and the next tier of the dress would be drafted based on these measurements.
The second tier is basically made up of rectangles, and I made them 53cm tall. The width of them is 1.66 times the width of the bottom hems of the bodices. I picked 1.66X just because it fit my fabric that way. The 2nd-tier rectangles are gathered up at the top edge where they meet with the bodices, and have to be at least 1.5 times the width of the bodice hems. Remember to include seam allowances to all your gathered tiers
The third tier is 21cm tall and again, the combined width of the rectangles should amount to at least 1.5 times the width of the second tier. Mine turned out to be about 1.7 times the width of the 2nd. And there you have it, those are all the changes made to hack the Chloe Blouse into a maxi dress with enough swirl and twirl to last 2 lifetimes. I was ecstatic and giggly making these endless turns in the dress. Then I got swirl-sick and light-headed and had to crash onto the sofa to keep the room from spinning. What a cool way to have the effect of imbibing alcohol when not actually drinking a sip! It’s amazing how these swishy dresses make me feel all giddy and girlish. Perhaps I harbour a secret desire to be a whirling dervish. Whatever it is, this swishy garment is not my first and will not be my last. Gathering up all that fabric is like running a marathon, though. It feels like it's never going to end when in the midst of it. But it's so worth the time and effort when it adds so much drama to a garment.
Here’s a few words about the fabric because there’s an interesting story that goes with it. I got it at some kind of wholesale fabric place in South Tel Aviv called Goodies, which has 5 floors of fabric to choose from. This fabric caught my eye because I loved the colour combination of teal, gold, black and cream stripes, and thought it’ll make a wonderful lining for a jacket. It was placed in the viscose/rayon section, and I wanted to double check the fabric make up. It looked to me that it may be a polyester blend. I was not going to tolerate polyester in a jacket lining! The salesperson who was helping me out swore on his mother’s life that this was definitely a 100% viscose; and that it’s designer deadstock from Italy. It sounded too good to be true for the price that it was going for. I thought I was getting a great deal, and I bought about 5-6 metres of it. When I was pressing the fabric after the pre-washing, my nose detected the undeniable smell of polyester. The burn test confirmed my suspicions. I was so bummed out from being duped that I stuck this fabric at the bottom of the stack and endeavoured to bury its memory.
When planning this make, I couldn’t settle on a fabric for this swishy maxi-dress Chloe because everything I had in my stash didn’t have the weight, drape and/or length that were required. But I dug deeper, and there, at the bottom was this abandoned piece of 5-6m of TREASURE! The surprise of finding it was like discovering a $50 note left forgotten in a jacket pocket! The polyester was not suitable as a jacket lining, but it’ll work for a swishy dress. It was a nightmare to cut it since it shifted and moved every time I took a breath. This fabric would not keep still. It had some kind of Jedi life force that was controlling my scissors. It also shed like a Siberian Husky in spring time. After working on it, my floor looked like it was covered with enough fibres to make a rug. Anyway, all that didn’t diminish the love-at-second-sight glow I had for this polyester.
Besides the Chloe, there are other cracker patterns in the new Fibre Mood Issue. Go check them out:
I am including an affiliate link here if you are inclined to purchase some of these patterns. This link helps me earn a small commission with no extra cost to you. And if you like this hack of the Chloe Blouse, and sew up your version of it, please tag me on Instagram (@geri_in_stitches) or share it with me in the chat or the comments below. I’d be sew happy to see it!