Dune top and maxi dress

Dune is here! And I’m even writing the blog post to accompany it on the day of the actual launch. That’s a first 😉

If you read my recent blog post about drafting Dune, you’ll know that we were heading towards the 6th version and I thought that would be the final one. Nope. It was the 9th. At least, I think it was, we made so many of them over the course of that fortnight that there might have been more! We weren’t making big changes: it was the combination of getting the kick hem exactly right and making sure there was the right amount of fabric in the back (not pulling across the lower back, but still fitted). We’re talking a few millimetres difference in each draft, but the 6th, 7th and 8th drafts came and went and it still wasn’t perfect. You know what they say, the ninth’s a charm 😉

We were still on the 8th version when we made the dress option. Happily, all the modifications we’d already made to the top came into their own and that one was just as we imagined it straight away! The only issue was that it was the perfect length unhemmed, and so we went back and added an inch to the length to take the seam allowance into account.

So, Dune is a maxi dress! I was so excited and nervous about that. I have never worn a maxi dress before, I always feel swamped in them, and find they just hang down from the hips and make me look the width of my hips all the way to the floor. So what we wanted from this was for it to be fitted to the waist, then gently flow to the ankles without being too voluminous. I tried this on and couldn’t believe how good I felt in it. And then the reaction from the lovely IG sewing community when I posted a toile was just amazing, so it felt like the right decision! This one was made from a lovely soft cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. Here are some shots of maxi Dune in action, so you can see the swishiness of the dress:

Because it’s important to get the length just right on a maxi dress, Rich has written a tutorial for you to make sure that your Dune maxi is just perfect for you: Look for ‘Maxi dress length’ under the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the ‘Patterns’ section of the menu bar; do have a look if you’re planning to make the maxi version!

Of course the basic version of Dune is a summer tank top. As you might know from my last post and the pics I’ve posted on Instagram, we wanted to create a sleeveless summer top that would be flattering and fitted while still leaving enough room to have an ice cream or two! Dune has a subtle cutaway at the shoulder to flatter the top line, but will still cover bra straps. It has both a higher neck option and a scoop neck variation, and a pretty kick hem that has a slimming effect on the legs.

We recommend that you choose a fairly lightweight fabric for Dune, to keep that floatiness over the hips in the top and over the legs in the dress. It will work in a heavier or stiffer fabric, though the effect at the hem will be more structured (but hey, you may prefer that!) You can see in the green floral version above that I used a more stable fabric (polycotton blend, again from Girl Charlee) and it still has some drape, but is slightly more structured at the hem.

Practising my “looking off into the distance” pose 😉

The finishings of the neck and arms are done with bands, which you can either sew up as invisible bands or exposed/ contrasting ones. The method in the instruction booklet makes the bands up into a circle first and then attaches them to the neckline/ arm hole, but if you are a beginner and want a slightly easier method, check out the second tutorial we’ve created, ‘Alternative binding method’ (also under ‘Patterns’ then ‘Tutorials’ on the website), for an alternative way to do the finishings!

The instruction booklet now has a new feature too: a print layout, and a clear indication of how many sheets of paper you will need. We will be doing this for all our patterns from now on!

We hope you will love Dune this summer. And, just in case you wondered why the co-host of Sleevefest is releasing a sleeveless pattern… we will be offering a free sleeve bonus download that you can customise any way you like, PLUS tutorials for how to hack it to create different looks! So watch out for those…

So I’ll leave you with a gallery of different angles. We hope you’ll love Dune as much as we do! Till next time, thanks for reading!

 

8 thoughts on “Dune top and maxi dress

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thank you so much Sarah! I hope you’ll love it. I want to wear mine every day, just for the swish factor!

  1. Diane G

    I’m so impressed by the time and effort you and Rich put into creating your patterns. I love the kick hem and back view if the armhole line. I look forward to seeing the sleeve design and pattern hacks too. Great job Helen and Rich!

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thank you Diane, you’re so kind! We both agreed that if we’re not 100% happy it’s not happening. The sleeve is going to be a basic wide sleeve, basically a blank slate ripe for the hacking in honour of Sleevefest!

  2. Kelly Casillas

    Thank you for such a detailed post Helen! It really shows the dedication you and Rich have to your products! I can’t wait to sew up my first maxi dress and actually own a maxi dress that I’m not swimming in! I’m so happy that Rich put together a tutorial that helps gals out like me that need a little help in the hemline area haha 🙂 Thank you Helen and Rich!

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thank you Kelly, and it’s a pleasure!! If you want to check anything while you’re tracing, cutting etc. then please do shout out. Since I know your height from a previous conversation I think you will probably want to shorten it by a couple of inches, but it’s an easy process and much simpler than trying to shorten it once you’ve sewn it up! I can’t wait to see your Dune maxi!

  3. Maxine

    Looking forward to making the dress, will definitely check out Rich’s tutorial on the perfect length! Well done to you both in getting there with this pattern, sounds like hard work in the making but I’m sure all the extra effort has been worth it! 😁

    1. valentineandstitch Post author

      Thank you Maxine! Yes, it’s so worth getting the length just right. And yes, it’s so weird because the first draft of this was almost spot-on, but it took so many goes before it was exactly how we wanted! I hope you’ll enjoy making it – I can’t wait to see!

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