Ah the midi dress trend, are you a lover or a hater?? I have to say, for a long while I was unsure about this oh so difficult length to get right, particularly in ready to wear dresses where my little old petite self would simply end up drowning in what should have been midi length and invariably turned out to be maxi and possibly a little bit more in the shops. Enter yet another reason why I love being able to make my own clothes…
I have to say though, I really like the midi dress trend. I think it’s that little bit more flattering than maxi if you are on the shorter side (just my opinion of course) and I love how the flash of calf looks as good with a pair of trainers or boots in winter as it does with a pair of sandals in the summer.
I recently made my first Lyra Dress by Tilly and the Buttons (see my review here if you’d like to) a dress who’s skirt is labelled ‘midi’ but, as expected, I ended up having to take the bottom frill up quite considerably to make it midi for my height (5’ 3” if you’re wondering).
So, after a little while of pondering on this midi dress trend and how I might best continue to jump on that bandwagon, it dawned on me one day that I had in fact, already created the perfect midi length skirt pattern with my Lyra Dress alterations which could effectively be adapted as necessary and then added onto my bodice of choice.
I’d been after the perfect simple, easy to wear midi, babydoll style summer dress for a while now and in my opinion Tilly’s other very popular pattern, the Indigo Dress is pretty up there as a perfect ‘baby doll’ style dress so I decided one day to have a go at a midi length Indigo/ Lyra mash up and see how that turned out.
Here’s how I went about it…
I love the style of the Indigo Dress bodice as it is but, on this occasion and for the look I was wanting to achieve, I decided to shorten the bodice slightly so that is sat very high waist. For me the bodice now falls just under my ribs so quite high but I wanted that empire waist baby doll style look so that’s what I went for. This meant that I chopped an inch off of both bodice pieces at the lengthen/shorten lines. The back pattern piece of the Indigo Dress dips down slightly which is a lovely detail but for my midi dress I didn’t want this so I also straightened off the back bodice too. I actually much prefer this shape and think I’ll keep this change for my next Indigo dress too.
So, onto the skirt panels. The Lyra Dress comes with two skirt pattern pieces, a top skirt (this is also used for the short version of the Lyra Dress) and a frill which, if you are making the midi length Lyra, you would add onto the bottom of the skirt.
For my midi length babydoll dress, I decided that I wanted two panels with the first frill being slightly shorter than the bottom panel. This meant that for me, I ended up using the top skirt pattern piece for my first tier but shortening it to be 30 cm in length plus a seam allowance at top and bottom so 33cm high by the width of the pattern piece as it was. I also shortened the sleeves to fall higher up my arm as the sleeve piece of the Indigo is quite long on me.
For my bottom tier I measured where I wanted my dress to fall on my calf and went from there. This meant that this time I used the frill piece from my Lyra Dress pattern again, but this time I lengthened the piece to be 50 cm high. Here I added 3cm for the hem and another seam allowance at the top for attaching to the first tier. If you are thinking of trying out this hack for yourself it’s obviously important to make sure you measure yourself and cut your tiers according to the length you would like your finished dress to be.
I made my first version in this absolutely beautiful embroidered chambray fabric from Abakhan Fabrics (kindly gifted). For this version I had to be slightly more careful with cutting my bottom tier to ensure that the embroidery at the edges lined up correctly. I also needed to ensure that I had enough fabric below the embroidery border so that I could take up the correct amount of hem as obviously I wouldn’t want to be turning up the embroidery itself, just the fabric below it.
I‘m so pleased with how this dress turned out, the chambray is super soft and comfortable and I think the embroidery really gives it that boho, cottagecore feel that’s so popular at the moment.
I loved this dress so much that I immediately made a second, this time in this beautiful ditsy floral viscose fabric from Stoff and Stil. This fabric was a dream to work with and it’s so floaty and cool for hot summer days (which unfortunately, have been few and far between this year!).
I love how this length has turned out on me. I finally have my midi length dress of dreams and the great thing is that, in the future I just need to adapt the pattern pieces of any other dress I might be making to fall at this length and I know it’ll be right for me.
The beauty of this hack is that it’s so versatile, you can play around with tier height and you can add or remove tiers to give a completely different look. I’d love to try a three tiered version but I might need to psyche myself up a bit for all that gathering first!
I hope you like how my dress turned out. If you do try this hack I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below.
Thanks so much for reading!
Until next time, lot’s of love…