Sunday, 3 August 2014

Chinelo Bally maxi dress freehand pattern cutting

At the end of June I went to Chinelo Bally's second freehand pattern cutting class with my friend Helen to make a maxi dress. This time the class was held in Canning Town. The first class Chinelo did was to make a peplum top, you can see my post about this here.

Chinelo provided a range of fabrics to choose from and matching threads. I chose a blue and purple fabric that gives a marble-like effect.

The first thing Chinelo did was to show us how to take a range of body measurements. This meant we could measure out on the fabric the pieces of the maxi dress to fit our body measurements exactly. The maxi dress was made up of two skirt pieces and four bodice pieces.

The fabric was folded twice for the skirt pieces. The waist measurement was marked out with chalk and the length then marked for a full length skirt. The pieces were cut out and with the remaining fabric the four bodice pieces were measured out.

The bodice pieces were sewn together at the shoulders and along the right side. The skirt pieces were then sewn together down the right side before the bodice was attached to the skirt. Thick elastic was then sewn into the bodice/skirt seam before the left side of the maxi dress was finally sewn together in one continuous line. Finally we checked the length of the maxi dress before sewing the hem.

I felt much more confident this time calculating measurements and transferring them onto the fabric. The benefits of freehand pattern cutting and the knowledge of how to measure your own body dimensions properly allows you to create garments or at least modify commercial patterns to give a really great fit.

Chinelo explained everything really clearly and I actually found it simpler to make the maxi dress than the peplum top from the first class. I would definitely recommend going to one of her classes if you like the idea of learning about freehand pattern cutting. Having some sewing experience before taking this class will make it much easier to get your head around what measurements go where!

I really like my maxi dress and have been wearing it loads over the last month with all this hot weather we have been having. I plan to make another one soon and use these new skills!


  1. It looks stunning, great fabric choice. You'll certainly need several of them in this heat!

  2. Thanks Fiona! You're right, they are perfect for this weather!