The Under The Impression Dress

Happy 4th of July, everyone! I hope that if you celebrate the United States of America’s sort of kind of birthday you had the best day, and if you don’t, I hope you had a decent Thursday and ignored all the fuss. I actually worked today (time and a half whaaaaaaaaa?!?) so I didn’t exactly get to do the whole bbq and booze thing, but I hope you did, if that’s your bag!

So, as a short person, I have always been a bit wary of this whole Maxi-dress/skirt trend. That’s for all willowy giraffes, I told myself. A short curvy struggle like myself would look like she was swimming in fabric! No, no, no, none of that nonsense for me, I sensibly declared, and then watched in envy as seamstresses the world over made gorgeous curve hugging breezy-looking maxi-dresses from Jamie Christina’s oh so popular pattern.

But this summer, I had  a long talk with my friend Becca (hi, Becca!) about the subject, because I don’t know about you, but with some of my friends I can literally debate an item of clothing, a shape, a material, hell, a COLOR for, like, an hour and not get bored. This must be a me thing. That said, some people can talk about sports forever and beyond, they won, balls were thrown, running happened, I literally have no idea what that would be like, so we’re all different. So Becca and I weighed the pros and cons, she described her own maxi-dress (a very cute woven number, for those inquiring minds wanting to know, it’s good, I’ve seen it), I shared my fears, she comforted me, we laughed, we cried, we loved, and we learned. It was a deeply emotional journey, I don’t mind telling you, but I’ve come out on the other side now, a stronger better woman for it.

The point is, I flipping went for it and bought the pattern and made a damn maxi-dress. Which, as it turns out, really isn’t such a big deal! Concerned as I was, I figured, well, you hate it, you can  chop off a few feet at the hem and make it a normal-sauce dress. This isn’t brain surgery here. Sidenote, if it was brain surgery, I would currently be being thanked by a grateful patient and their gushing relatives because I’m pretty sure I rocked this:


I KNOW, RIGHT? I’m pretty into this. Like, in a big way. Probably because I was so concerned it wouldn’t work, that the fact that it does (it does, right, I’m not taking crazypills here?) has filled me with glee and delight. I seriously feel like a goddess in this thing. I feel like a model. I feel like no one even noticed me tripping over my hem because I look so damn good. AM I RIGHT?


This pattern is unbearably easy to put together. Like, it’s STUPID easy. For my first go-around I picked view A, which seemed the simplest. I used a cotton jersey from Paron’s, which I scored on sale recently (I have a problem….). It was a dream to sew with, actually, and I have enough left to make a tank top, I think….

UTI 3The bindings are a little interesting, but I like the final result:

UTI 12

There is a bit of a bra-showing going down here, about which I am not wild. Ah, well.


My friend Jacqui, who I ALSO discussed this with, because seriously I think I talked to, like, five separate women about this if not more, so nervous was I, told me that she thinks maxi-dresses look GOOD on short ladies because you look like a column. Thoughts?


So why the title? Well, for one thing, I had been under the impression that this style wouldn’t work for me, and lo and behold it does! In fact, a total stranger told me she liked my dress on my block yesterday. Granted, she may or may not have been a crack addict, but you know what, still counts!

UTI 5I really crack myself up during photo sessions, especially when there is ice cream involved.


And for another thing, yesterday my friend Victoria and I (hi, Victoria!) went to the Met (museum not opera) and decided to devote ourselves to the impressionism wing. In between picking out Matisse paintings we would hang in our summer homes if we A. could have a Matisse painting and B. had multiple summer homes, we devoured the Van Goghs and firmly ignored the Renoirs (because….gross), and generally had a lovely lovely time. And then we got wine. Which made it all even lovelier…

UTI 9(My met admission sticker is still clearly stuck to my hip. Sigh….)

But in between she took my photos! So in tribute to the day, which was lovely, and the dress, which I’m pretty damn into, I dub this the “Under The Impression Dress”.

I also saw some lovely paintings, two of which fascinated me particularly because of the ways the painters depicted fabric:

UTI 10Gorgeous, no?

UTI 11Don’t you just want to touch this dress?

So I had to make some art of my own, obviously:

UTI 13Still life with cat. It’s pretty brilliant, I know….

Have you ever had an assumption about something and then tried it out and just loved it? Do tell…have you made a maxi? Tell me about that, too!


Filed under Jamie Christina Patterns, knit, Sewing

54 responses to “The Under The Impression Dress

  1. KC

    I love the happy dress and the happy post! That dress totally works every bit as much as you think it does.

  2. You are totally rocking this dress! I had all the same worries about maxi dresses (and skirts) as you, but I’ve now made this dress 7 times (2 of them failures because of poor fabric choice, but I love the others).

    You need more of these!

  3. Katharina

    Totally! You look great!

  4. You look like a goddess Leah! And that colour is superb. So now you can make like ten more of these? Oh and a word on the bra thing… Criss-cross straps my dear.

  5. This looks amazing on you – that minty green colour is perfect!

  6. This dress is great (and looks great!) I made one of these the other day, but I think the fabric I used was too drapey, and its super clingy and not very flattering… Can I ask how much drape your fabric has?

    • Hmmm, I’m not sure, I bought it at the store and they didn’t say, but I would say that too much drape could kill this puppy, I would do a stiffer jersey if possible.

  7. isabel

    Wow, you look amazing, girl! The fit, the colour, everything ist right.
    Still reading your blog in the shadows of blogless-land, and apreciating your sense of humor!

  8. Terry

    you look great! well done…good color too…enjoy reading about your NYC adventures.

  9. I’m vertically challenged myself, and I freaking love a good maxi dress. I think it makes us look even more awesome and really does the job of accenting those curves! You look great and should totally make a million more!

  10. saro

    I love this and your red lipstick suits you too!!

  11. Another Petite here at 5’05” (1m53) and I was reticent about long skirts and maxi dresses too myself until I made an A-line skirt from a Burda pattern and bought a woven maxidress years ago. Still have the maxidress (let me not start a rant about holey, aged clothing surviving an earthquake when lovingly sewn garments of love do not *expletive*) and plan to turn it into a pattern for another iteration this summer (remember, HOLEY).

    So, yes, short people can wear length…as long as the proportions are right.

    In other words, a tank maxidress or a strappy or a strapless maxidress will work but if it was sleeved, I don’t think it would be cute.

    That said, LOVE THE COLOR of your dress and I pilgrimage to the Met every single trip I take to NYC. Usually, if there is a garment exhibit, I go there first, then the photography, then I just roam around. Aaand my mother just drools over the Impressionist (I do love Renoir myself) to the point where she has accumulated several items featuring their work: keychains, calenders notebooks, mousepads etc.

    • I think you are so right, it’s got to show some skin somewhere or you go towards Amish. I’m so glad you make the Met a regular stop! I try to go once a month, it’s one of my favorite places!

  12. You are absolutely ROCKING this dress, so maybe I can make one for me after all….because I, too, was “under the impression” that maxi dresses would make my already stubby self look stubbier.

  13. i love it! looks great on you, and just looking at you one can tell than you feel great in it, and that’s even more important..

  14. Fabulous! This looks great! I had serious doubts about maxi dresses, too, but this pattern is magical, I tell you! It has just the right amount of curve and somehow makes everyone look like the world’s tallest person! Love this color on you, too! Utterly fabulous!

  15. Amy

    It looks totally fabulous! Love the color!

  16. Yes, you rocked it! I love a good maxi for summer, they’re sooooo comfortable. And the color is great!

  17. Judi

    For sure you can wear maxi dresses!!! You look taller and yes…like a Greek goddess. That color is beautiful on you too. I think it’s the most beautiful dress you’ve made!

  18. You rock that color AND that style, woman. And ALL compliments count, no matter what the giver’s particular demons or motivations, I always say…

  19. I just made my first maxi dress this year and I love it! I am also short–I don’t know if it makes me look taller, but I do think it is a flattering dress. I love the racerback of your dress.

  20. I love your dress — especially the color! You did a great job on the construction, too. I made the McCall’s maxi dress recently (blogged it just a few weeks ago), and I have to make myself wear other things so people won’t think I only own one article of clothing! :)-

  21. nice work! you look beautiful. so summery and breezy! i always had a love hate with maxi dresses too. good for others, but not for me. then i bought a cheapy on sale from target and discovered the wonders. so comfy! like wearing a nightgown, but acceptable to be in public. and actually kind of elegant. like you! great dress. 🙂

    • Right! It totally feels like wearing a nightgown all the time, that’s a great analogy. I was almost worried leaving the house that someone would stop me and be like, miss, you have to put real clothing on!

  22. Paul


  23. uh, yeah, you are totally rockin’ this maxi! and what a great color, too. seriously you need to make these in, like, every color and pattern ever. you *are* a goddess in this dress!

  24. I don’t know if it’s the ice-cream you’re holding, but every single picture I saw, I wanted to eat you up, and in my head you would taste like mint-choc ice-cream. That is a slightly creepy way of saying – LOVE the dress, and if you are taking crazypills, they haven’t affected your sense of style, because that dress is amazing!

  25. victoria frings

    Hi Leah! You do rock this dress. And you’re so pretty and photogenic! Woohoo! I’ll take one of these blown up and taking up one whole wall of my summer home! *Creepy stalker laugh*

  26. I’m late to the party, but I had to say that you need to make more maxis!! Jacqui is totally right; it makes people look like columns. And let’s not talk about how many times I’ve wandered around entire cities with admissions stickers still stuck to me.

  27. Pingback: The In The Pink Dress | Struggle Sews a Straight Seam

  28. Pingback: The Hemline Adjustment Skirt (and a top, just for fun) | Struggle Sews a Straight Seam

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