D.I.Y Tribal Side-cinched Maxi

Ada Spragg // DIY Side-Cinched Maxi DressI found the inspiration for this maxi with a difference in this Lululemon dress. I was however slightly bummed that someone clever and witty named it the ‘It’s A Cinch Dress’, stealing the perfect would-be blog post title. Oh well, I forgive them and give thanks for the inspiration behind my new spring / summer / autumn / winter maxi. It’s winter here, albeit mild and mostly ignorable, so I’ve been wearing it with a blazer and some boots but come summer I’ll be donning strappy sandals and hopefully longer, slightly less temperamental hair. Multi-seasonal? Very wearable? Check and check.

_MG_4281 Ada Spragg // Side Cinched Maxi Dress DIYSo maybe you recognize this pattern from here, it’s the Mission Maxi transformed with a really simple mod. After studying the Lululemon number, squinty eyed, I decided surely it couldn’t be that hard to add a cinched side? The seam allowance for the Mission Maxi is a scant 3/8″, so I kept that around the bust but then widened to 5/8 ” from the waist down to allow room for the allowances to become a casing for the drawstrings. After sewing the front and back side seams of the dress, I pressed the seam allowances open, then sewed them flat against the dress 4/8″ either side of the side seams, starting from thigh height down to the hem, to make the casing. As for sense, just holler if I’m not making any. We can try diagrams.

Ada Spragg // DIY Side-cinched Tribal Maxi Dress For the actual drawstrings I was going to use some plain navy cotton cording but it all looked a bit home-eccy. But then I had the idea to make the drawstrings out of the actual dress fabric so I used the bias pattern piece included to make the drawstrings. I knotted the ends several times and added some little brass stoppers found at my new place of work (more on this soon). It seems sometimes the smallest details can really lift a hand-made garment.

Ada Spragg // DIY Tribal Maxi Dress

Sometimes a girl just needs a little tribal in her life. There’s no telling when and where the urge will strike. Just know it will. Since interesting knit prints are a rare breed, when I came across this beautiful cream and navy jersey here, I snapped up two yards. This pattern used about 1.5 so there’s still enough for say, some tribal leggings. I decided to use the wrong side of the fabric because the cream tones on the right side, were more yellow and looked a little sickly next to my ‘winter complexion’. In creating a very-wearable wardrobe I am always thinking about color. Some make me feel joyous and others completely flat.

Ada Spragg // DIY Side-Cinched Tribal Maxi Dress
Take a moment to admire the majestic beer bottle. Not mine!  How did I not see it? Next stop: Peplum top.

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  • Laurawrote:

    Gorgeous gorgeous dress and I love the cinch. Very cool photo location too. I have a maxi dress in a very similar (but woven) fabric – bought not made though. Looking forward to hearing about your new job.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Laura! The cinch is dead easy but I think I made it sound complicated haha.

  • Johannawrote:

    Did you get a job at an awesome fabric store? Hmm yes, ets hear more! Despite being gainfully and happily employed in our country’s federal bureaucracy, I secretly want to quit and work in a fabric store. Only problem? There isn’t a nice enough fabric store here that I’d want to work in! ha. Oh and the dress is awesome. I want a maxi dress! I wonder if I could alter the mission maxi to make it maternity (temporarily?) hmmm

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Hmm that’s a tough one, how to alter it to be bump friendly. I have no clue how! Thanks so much, I did get a job at a rather fabulous fabric shop, but before this shop, our city was rather lacking in nice fabric shops so I feel your pain!

    • gingermakeswrote:

      I would use Zo’s tutorial for jersey maternity tops as a starting point: http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.com/2012/07/maternity-tops.html

      Basically, you’re adding a great deal of length to the front piece, so you get sort of a ruched detail that’s really cute. Good luck!

    • Johannawrote:

      Thanks Ginger! I was actually thinking to do something similar. And perhaps after I could even take out part of the side seams (and ruching)), shorten the thing back up, and voila regular dress again. Hmm off to research more…

  • Merche Martinezwrote:

    What a great dress! Not only is it gogeous, wearable, multi-seasonal, it looks really comfortable too. Great photos!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thankyou! It truly is so comfortable, the only thing I’ve had to figure out is the bra situation since the back is a ‘racer back’ style.

  • kristinwrote:

    So funny, I was just wondering earlier today when we might have another sew storm post hit! Yay! This dress is so awesome on you – it’s indeed elevated handmade. And hey yeah, we definitely want to hear more about your new employment!!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      So you missed me? I’ve been working a few more hours / days than I had planned so I’ve had a lot less energy for beloved sewing. Thanks Kristin, I’m glad you likey~!

  • nicole eatonwrote:

    great print! the cinch is a cool feature 🙂


  • Madalynnewrote:

    Oh I definitely want to hear about your new employment! Congrats. I love the dress and can’t believe your braving winter in it!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks so much on the job and the dress. It was a little chilly taking the blazer off for those pics hehe.

  • smunchwrote:

    Love it! I get so excited when you have a new post. This fabric is awesome (as always, you find the best prints) and I agree the ties in the fabric itself make it.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Aaaaw thankyou, I always look forward to your posts too.

  • jenwrote:

    So cute and as usual your photos are gorgeous also! That jersey sure was a score, you are not kidding about finding good knit prints. I sometimes feel like I’ll never find one!! Can’t wait to see the peplum top also, I keep seeing peplums everywhere but I need to see some actual people in them before I decide if I can roll with it.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Jen, well I look forward to your opinion on the peplum top. I think I will be convincing myself too somehow.

  • Inna Swrote:

    I always admire your great eye for fabric! This jersey is not an exception 🙂 Only recently I started shopping @ Tessuti and, man, they offer such a great variety of interesting prints!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thankyou, that’s such a lovely compliment. You are so right, tessuti has some great stuff, but um, a little on the pricey side. This was a special occasion for my birthday fabric, so I ignored the price tag!

  • Max of Max California ★wrote:

    This suits you so much! I love it

  • Amywrote:

    Your dress is lovely, lovely, lovely. And I KNEW I recognised a certain skirt on a staff member when I was in there the other day 🙂

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Amy.Aha, so you’re a Fabric Store customer on the sly. You should say hi!

  • small + friendlywrote:

    Adorable! I love that print, what a score!

  • anu*mikiwrote:

    I love it!!

  • Iliska Dreamswrote:

    Having a little bit of a boot lust! So cute. Can’t wait to hear about your job.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thankyou kindly. And the boots are sweedish hasbeens jodhpur boots if you’re interested. I got them on ebay a bit cheaper than from the shop.

  • Scared Stitchlesswrote:

    Love this maxi! I adore these kinds of prints and can never seem to find them when fabric shopping, nice work!

  • gingermakeswrote:

    This is so gorgeous! Your color and print selection was spot on, and I really like the cinch detail. Great job, gal!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thankyou lovely! Your maxi re-inspired me to go back to this pattern for more.

  • Neuswrote:

    woww!! It’s precious! Well done!!

  • Rosiwrote:

    The cinched sides are such a good idea for when Brisbane summers get a bit too hot. I am definitely stealing this idea. And will visit your store soon. Just let me finish making up the last bundle of fabric I bought there.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Rosi, I know, it gets a bit like that. I bought a buttload of fabric from there before I started and since then I’ve been very very restrained, trying to use up what I’ve got. Look forward to meeting you!

  • Carolynwrote:

    A-mazing! And you are rocking that dress! It looks gorgeous on you!

  • Amber Nelsenwrote:

    That looks like the kind of dress you can live in gladly while still looking stylish. I’m excited to see the rest of your plans. Oh, and those walls are perfect backdrops for your photos!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Amber, it is sooo comfy. As for the plans, I’m excited to and hoping they come to fruition. I’m merging two patterns to make the peplum top and I guess we shall see if it all comes together!

  • Ashleywrote:

    I love this maxi and I’ve been playing with the idea of making a drawstring skirt, but I love the maxi version instead!

    Great work, it looks beautiful. 🙂

    -Ash P

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Gosh thanks Ashley, a maxi skirt with a drawstring would be cool also. It was a surprisingly easy mod to make considering I was just winging it.

  • Colettewrote:

    Gorgeous as always! The maxi dress is a perfect fit for our tribal printed jersey…great work!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Thanks Colette. I love that fabric soooo much. Was definitely a great buy!

  • Stephaniewrote:

    So pretty! That’s such a great length and a stylish way to pull it off. If I’m not careful I’ll trip over my maxis.

    Love the styling, too!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      I know Steph, maxis are dangerous. Thanks for your lovely comment, that means a lot coming from you!

  • Paunnetwrote:

    I love the print and you look stunning in these maxi dresses. Also, love the photos as usual, thanks for the eye candy!

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Oh I’ll take ‘eye candy’! Thankyou so much, I love following your creations too.

  • Trulawrote:

    Gorgeous, as always. And love the red and white wall in the background.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Hey thanks a lot. Yeah the wall was a pretty good find wasn’t it?! It’s underneath a railway bridge…

  • Rosalindwrote:

    Hey I found that transfer paper at Spotlight last week – new in they said!! $20 a pack.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Woohoo! Thats good to know, I paid too much for shipping. So we can expect some transfers from you in the near future?

  • Tinawrote:

    I feel as though I may have to purchase this pattern. This is like the 10th Mission Maxi I’ve seen that I TOTALLY COVET.

    • Cirque Du Bebewrote:

      Tina, you TOTES should. You won’t regret it. That’s the Sophie Promise. There’s the normal version, and the godjet version and then you can side cinch. Options galore and a pretty straightforward sew.

  • hugsandkissesclothingwrote:

    Hey there!
    I’m loving this dress. Infact I’m loving your whole blog! This week I was lucky enough to win three blog awards and I have nominated you to recieve them also. here is the link:
    I hope you enjoy them
    Hannah xXx

  • Nathaliewrote:

    Where did you go?Come back and post up some more totally inspiring creative goodness!

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