I promised at the beginning of summer that I would try to come up with a few no pattern maxi dresses and this is the latest one I’ve made. When I tell you that this couldn’t be simpler to make, I mean it. If you’ve got an hour you can easily sew this and be ready to wear it. I used a silky polyester blend fabric but you could really use anything that drapes well (stiffer fabrics won’t work well with the halter neckline). I was inspired by an old tank that I’ve had forever which I really didn’t like but I loved the chain it came with. I removed the chain from the shirt, designed the dress and used it here but you can find chain at any fabric store. I have the dress belted in the picture above, but you can also wear it as is.
I got my fabric at Joann’s and I LOVE the watercolor print… it reminds me of the BCBG line from a few years ago! Start out by cutting two rectangles of fabric that are 53″ long and 22″ across. (** you may need to adjust the measurement across, obviously you may need it larger or smaller). My fabric was 53″ from selvage to selvage so I simply bought 44″ of fabric and ripped the piece in half to get my two rectangles.
You need to cut out slight curves for the armholes so I used a design ruler and used the armhole curve from 11-21. If you don’t have a design ruler, you can eyeball it but you must make sure all 4 cuts are identical so that the armholes line up. Cut out curves on both sides of the front and back rectangles.
Sew in a finished seam along all 4 armhole curves and press.
Your front and back rectangles should now look like this:
Now you need to create the casing for the chain to slide through to create the halter. If you’re sewing in a label, do it now so that the stitching can be hidden. Sew it upside-down near the top of the neckline in the center on the fabric’s right side. Depending on the size of your chain you may need to adjust this measurement but for mine, I fold over 1.5″ for the casing. Now your label will be right side up. Stitch along the bottom and repeat for the front rectangle.
With the right sides of the fabric together, stitch together the front and back rectangles on the side seams.
**Note, a few of you have suggested leaving a slit on one side to make this dress easier to walk in. I would suggest pinning the sides together, trying it on and adjusting the slit as you walk to find out what works best for you!
Slide your chain through the casing and then attach the chain together so it’s a circle.
Now you can adjust the gathering at the top the halter to evenly distribute the fabric around the chain leaving gaps for over your shoulders.
Once you’ve done this, you may need to take in the sides of the dress more at the waist (at least I did, it fit well in the hips but was big around the waist). If you’re going to wear it belted, you don’t need to work about this. Sew a finished hem around the bottom of your dress and you’re done! Like I’ve mentioned, you don’t have to wear a belt with it, it just adds some more shape to the dress but it looks great without one also!