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Did you enter one of the sew-along contests for Sewing Indie Month?  I just finished my entry using the Out And About dress pattern from indie pattern company, SewCaroline, and a wonderfully soft and drapey bamboo jersey knit from Britex.  I made a number of alterations to the pattern (since I’m entering my dress in the Pattern Hacking contest) and am really happy with how the dress turned out!

The Out and About Dress has two sleeve options – elbow length and full length – but Caroline has also made a tutorial to create a sleeveless version.  I thought a dress with full sleeves and a full length skirt in a distinctive stripe would be a bit too stripey and I am glad I went with this sleeveless version as ever since I finished the dress it has been so hot that there has been no need for sleeves!

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The next change I made was to create a chevron effect on the front and back bodice.  I did this by placing the pattern pieces on the bias and adding seam allowances at centre front and centre back.

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I made sure to line up the stripes on the side seams so that the chevron would continue all the way around the body (you can sort of see this effect in the photo below).

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And here are the back chevrons!

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The only thing I don’t like about the results from this little alteration is that the bias cut fabric (understandably) likes to stretch out and resulted in drag lines at my shoulders.  I don’t think they are too noticeable though.

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This pale lemon and tan striped bamboo jersey is so beautifully drapey – perfect to show off the gathered maxi skirt.  It feels very swishy when I walk but also very light.  I really dislike when maxi dresses make me feel weighed down by folds and folds of skirt fabric but this light jersey almost feels like I’m wearing nothing!  Although it is light and delicate feeling, its strength has been thoroughly tested with this dress.  I spent a day out in the sun with my husband and brother and sister-in-law playing bocce, attempting handstands and taking a stab at acro yoga (so much fun!) and the dress survived all sorts of horseplay and even a blood stain from aggressive acro :P .  The blood stain came out easily and the dress had no sign of heavy wear – this was a level of resilience I would not expect from a delicate knit maxi dress!  Indeed, it hadn’t even been washed when I took these photos (after wearing it for two hot days and storing it in a suitcase) and it still looks crisp and new.

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The last modification I made to the Out and About dress pattern is that I added a tie belt to help support the weight of the gathered skirt and to camouflage the bulk added by gathers at the waist.  Each tie is 50” long and is a sewn tube of fabric with one end that has been finished and another that is sewn into the side seams directly above the waist seam.  I made them really long so I could wrap them around a couple times so I had more coverage across my stomach (I like the feeling of structure this adds to an otherwise very comfortable and floaty dress).  Aside from the tie belt, I also added clear bathing suit elastic along the waist seam (and shoulder seams) to further help these seams hold their shape.

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I really enjoyed sewing Caroline’s dress pattern and have already begun to imagine many more dresses to create with it!  In fact, I think a maxi using the Abstract Smoke & Gold Rayon Knit jersey would be absolutely perfect for a wedding that I am attending in August. I think I’ll add the flutter sleeves that Dixie made a tutorial for as part of Sewing Indie Month and finish off the dress with a shimmery gold belt.

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In my opinion, there is nothing more comfortable and also elegant than swanning around in a maxi dress on a hot summer afternoon – something I know I will be doing all summer long!