Behold! My first maxi dress ever!!! And it's not just the first maxi dress I've made - I've never even worn one before!
These pictures were also taken at the very cool Greystone Mansion - a mansion in Beverly Hills whose gardens are open as a public park.
Pattern: Closet Case Nettie, Colette Moneta
Size: 14 (bust) / 12 (waist) for Nettie, Medium skirt for Moneta
Alterations: Lengthened skirt to maxi length
Fabric: Pea Dot 5mm White On Black (main fabric), Perform Muscular Compression Black (lining) from Funkifabrics*
I'm going on vacation next month, and while St. John is pretty casual, it's nice to have something a little more dressy to wear out at night (I'm hoping the super delicious Italian place we went to 2 years ago is still open). Add in the wrinkle resistant qualities of this spandex knit, and I'm good to go (no ironing required once I arrive).
I've made several versions of the Colette Moneta, but I've never been 100% satisfied with the pattern. The closest I've gotten is probably this dress I made last fall, but sometimes I still feel like the skirt is a little longer than it really should be, and there is too much extra fabric at the arm holes. However, like the woven Hazel (I haven't had a lot of success with the Hazel bodice) - it provides a great simple skirt to mix together with a top from another pattern.
Enter the Closet Case Nettie! I'll admit, I was never quite sure a bodysuit pattern was for me - but Nettie is really oh so much more! The pattern already comes with a skirt (which might be a wee bit too bodycon for me, but we'll see eventually) - and I think it would make a perfect crop top, tank top, or (like in this case) a great top to add to a skirt from another pattern.
Additionally - Colette happened to send out in a Snippets email recently a "hack" for adding a cross back to Moneta - but it translates to Nettie's medium back as well! And with these powers combined (Captain Planet anyone?) - my new maxi dress was born!
Throwing this dress together could not be more simple - and I love it for that. I actually made a practice version before this one with a knee length Moneta skirt, and I think a lot of my stash knits are going to be eaten up by using this combo pattern (so many back and front options from Nettie!).
To prep the patterns for this dress, I traced off the Nettie scoop neck with medium back, down to the lower lengthen/shorten line. For maxi length, I measured my waist to the floor, which was 41", and I added an extra inch to grow on/hem with for a total of 42". I then traced off the Moneta skirt, and added 18.5" to get to 42" total in length (I'm 5'6" for reference).
I also added a sort of built in bra to the lining layer (I cut two fronts and two backs like Moneta) - and used Heather Lou's instructions here (see image below). The bra cups are from Porcelynne, and I used 1.5" elastic for a bit more support (and I had it on hand already). Luckily this beautiful built in bra is hidden on the inside of the bodice :D
To assemble, I followed the neckline directions from Nettie (using a pre-measured band), and the armhole directions from Moneta (it seems confusing at first, but Colette has a video here). After this was complete, everything else followed Moneta directions: I used clear elastic to gather the skirt, used my serger for everything else, and hemmed at 1" using my cover stitch machine.
To make the cross back detail, I cut two bands that were 1.5" wide (the Moneta hack suggests 3", but that seemed too wide for me), folded them in half, stitched, flipped right side out, and placed the dress on my dressform for placement. When I decided where they should go, I stitched in the ditch between the band and the dress to attach them.
Now for the fabric! Funkifabrics was kind enough to provide the fabric for this project. They're based out of the UK and specialize in stretch fabrics. Their fabrics are great for bathing suits, workout gear, and any kind of tight fitting garment. I think the fabric is great quality, and I would definitely use it again... however, it's a bit expensive - but if you're making bathing suits or even leggings, you don't need much anyway! If you're into it, they also have a ton of really awesome/crazy prints. I went with a more conservative black and white polkadot, but only because I knew I wanted to make a maxi dress, and some prints would be too nuts if they were all over my body. But more power to you people using animal prints, jelly beans, and ice cream cones! Super cute!
This is truly a simple dress to put together and there are so many possibilities between the Nettie top and different length Moneta skirts. I also love discovering new wardrobe choices within existing patterns - so go forth and mix and match!
*full disclosure: Funkifabrics generously provided this fabric to me for free, but this project, and my opinions are fully my own.