When I was pregnant with Caroline there were a bunch of amazing sewing patterns that were released. I wanted to start sewing some of them right away, but decided that was mostly a bad idea since I had no guarantees that any of them would actually fit after the baby was born. One of the patterns that I couldn’t wait to sew was the Marianne Dress from Christine Haynes. I loved the easy, flared shape of the dress and the options for cap sleeves or 3/4 sleeves. (Not to mention that sweet Peter Pan collar! And the button detail on the sleeve cuffs!)
So when the Spring edition of Selfish Sewing Week was getting close, and I was offered a pattern to sew up from Indiesew, it was a no-brainer for me to choose the Marianne Dress. I figured it would be a fairly forgiving style for my post-partum mid-section and it looked like a quick sew, which is key for me with a newborn and two energetic boys.
Soon after this pattern was released, Christine Haynes posted a maxi version on her blog. I knew I wanted to try this dress as a maxi. I decided that I should do a test run before modifying the pattern to be floor length. I opted to make a top out of some fabric that I had in my stash. I used the existing curved hem from the dress pattern, and just shortened it to hit at my hip. I made a size 12 through the top and graded it out to a size 16 at the hips. I ended up with a little bit of fabric pooling at my lower back and I felt like the sleeves were a little snug. Otherwise I was really happy with the fit of this top.
I have worn this top pretty much whenever it’s been clean. (And it’s clean fairly often. All these kids generate a lot of laundry!) I like the shape of it so much that I used it as a guide to take in the sides of one of my handmade maternity tops. I definitely have plans to make another Marianne top.
After I finished my top I set to work on my Marianne maxi. Art Gallery Fabrics was gracious enough to provide me with fabric and I chose this fun feather print called Panache Profundo in knit from Bari J’s Petal and Plume line. I have used Art Gallery knits a few times before and been very happy with the quality. (In fact, the yoke on my Marianne top is an Art Gallery knit from April Rhodes’ Arizona line.) The colors stay true after repeated washings and the fabric is so soft and cozy.
To lengthen the pattern I used this tutorial from Made By Rae that I had used previously to make a maxi Washi dress. I cut my pattern at the hem line I’d used for my top version and lengthened it by about 20″ to be sure it was long enough. I extended the side seam line from the upper part of the pattern down to the length of the bottom hem. Because of the curved shape of this dress, when the side seam is extended it naturally widens the skirt to allow walking ease. Then I extended the hem curve out to meet the new side seam.
I made a slight swayback adjustment to the dress to help with the fabric that was pooling at my lower back. I used this tutorial from Kitschy Koo and overlapped the pieces by half an inch, which seems to have done the trick! My only other change was to cut the sleeves a size bigger on the dress. I didn’t make any changes to the armholes, I just eased the sleeves in a bit and it worked great. The fabric I used for the body of my dress is a little bit softer and has more drape than the knit I used for the body of my top. I think I would have been fine to keep the sleeves the original size with this knit, but I don’t mind the extra room.
I am so happy with my new dress. It is soft, swishy, and feels like secret pajamas. I am looking forward to making the cap sleeved, knee length version of this once the weather warms up here. The dress has such a great shape and the details make it really stylish. Have you made a Marianne dress yet? What else did you sew during Selfish Sewing Week?
Disclaimer: Indiesew provided me with a pattern of my choosing as part of Selfish Sewing Week. Art Gallery Fabrics provided me with a fabric of my choosing as part of Selfish Sewing Week. All opinions are my own.