May 25, 2015

All aboard the True Bias Southport Maxi Train (And: I’m teaching a course!)

Man, I love maxis. It was therefore written in the stars that I’d jump on the True Bias Southport maxi train as soon as it went chugging by.


As soon as I saw Rosie’s version (proving that it looks awesomesauce on curvy ladies) I jumped straight into the stash and emerged clutching this grey/lilac and yellow/lime seersucker from the most recent Japanese pile. It’s all cool and reasonably flowy, albeit with a slightly off grain printing which makes my dress look a teensy bit tipsy. Of course, I did a little bit of planning in my sketchbook first (note: this was an early version of the sketchbook – the croquis was slightly updated for the final version with fewer lines within the body!).


Do you like the way the date seems to indicate I designed this a year ago? Apparently my sketchbook can time travel.

Looking at the finished measurements, I could theoretically squeeze into the 18 without alterations but I knew the top was meant to be a bit drapey so I FBAed by 2 inches. It was a bit of a calamity as I managed to move the dart way too low (no-one needs bust darts pointing to the waist, trust me on that one) and I only noticed after I’d French seamed the bodice. Oops. I therefore had a fun time seam ripping the whole thing, getting rid of the holes in the fabric (rubbing them with my nail did the job) and re-orienting up up up. This diversion did end up taking a bit out of the seam allowances at the side so I was even more glad for the FBA! The only other problem I found was that the armscyes are a bit too big on me (perhaps FBA-related) – next time I’m going to add an inch to get more bra coverage.


After the bust dart saving, the whole thing went together really easily – the instructions are awesome and the whole thing is well-drafted. It turned out to be the perfect length for me with a baby hem (I’m 5’6″) and I eyeballed the slit height – I think it’s probably slightly lower than drafted. The only other change I made was to sew down the placket – I did make a fully functioning one, buttonholes and all, but despite it fitting through the bust it was still gaping. Given there’s really no need for the buttons on the front I decided to just sew that baby down. Next time I won’t bother with the buttonholes!


(The whole dress is shifting up in the front in this photo hence the darts being a little *too* high!)

The final verdict is, I LOVE THIS DRESS. Another winner from Kelli! (I also wear my Hudsons all the time). Now I need to rifle through my stash to see if I have enough of anything floaty to make myself another 5 Southport maxis…. If not, I guess I’ll just *have* to do a bit more fabric shopping…


Oh, maxis. I think they’re the perfect combo of cool (temperature-wise), cool (awesomeness-wise) and swooshy. I value swooshy highly.



Are you on team maxi? What fabrics do you like to use? Does anyone have an awesome knit maxi pattern? I feel one in my future…


I also have a mini-announcement: I’m hosting my first ever online class this week!

It’s a One Hour Power Session on BurdaStyle Academy called Sewing Blogging 101– it’s aimed at people who want to start blogging, or people who have a blog but want to improve or grow it. I’m going to be giving lots of advice on design, posting, photography, growing your readership and things like that. Those who know me in real life know that I love public speaking and teaching, so it was a natural fit! Also, you get to hear my British accent, which seems to come as a surprise to so many people 🙂

Once you sign up you have indefinite access to the class, and I’ll also be giving personalized advice to attendees during the first week. It starts this Thursday, May 28th, and you can sign up for it here (registration closes at midnight May 28th). Hope to see some of you there!

40 thoughts on “All aboard the True Bias Southport Maxi Train (And: I’m teaching a course!)

  1. Love your seersucker fabric version! Looks so cool. Here in South Carolina, cool is important and I never thought about using seersucker. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. Thanks! I didn’t really know there was seersucker other than the stripy kind, but it’s totally on-trend in Japan right now. I also bought one which is hand-painted gingham (or at least, appears to be hand painted!) and another one that’s really big navy gingham. I think I’m going to make a shirtdress!

  2. Nique says:

    I love the fabric. This is the only version I’ve see that’s makes me want to make a maxi version even though I know it’s too humid in Florida for it to be practical.

  3. Amanda Smith says:

    This is an awesome dress on you! Looks perfect for summer. Maxi dresses are a little hot for down here in south Texas but I still wear them in early summer or early autumn.

    1. I can’t even imagine how hot it gets for you! Boston is baking enough for me. What do you end up wearing if maxis are too hot?!

  4. Andie L. says:

    The dress looks great! I have read a lot about the armscye being too big in the larger versions. I don’t think it’s the fault of your FBA. That fabric is awesome. 😀

    1. Yeah I’m not entirely sure what the origin of the gaping armscye is, but either way I have to fix it. I usually do regular FBAs but I’m wondering about starting to do Y FBAs to get a bit more width through there…I will try and report back!

      1. Andie L. says:

        I wonder the same about me. I can’t wait for Michelle’s tutorial on darts for large busts. 🙂

  5. patsijean says:

    I love the way the dress shifts up in front!

    1. Ha, that’s not intentional, but thanks!

  6. This dress is a great staple item! I love seeing everyone’s version pop up around the blogosphere.

    Congratulations on your first course. I am one of those who didn’t know you had a British accent either!

    1. It is indeed! It’s simple but lovely. I am already brainstorming more fabric combos.
      And yes, it seems most people don’t read bios 😀

  7. I think one thing that puts me off about maxi’s is how much they hog fabric – I have to take the suggested yardage and add to it. E.g. I’m 5’10” with most height in my legs, so I’d probably have to add 15cm to the length.

    But one day I’ll get there! This looks great, although the cold weather here (first frost) means I’m shivering on your behalf

    1. Oh definitely, and they’re terrible for stash busting because I never have enough in my stash! (note to self: buy more fabric). At 5’10” I think you’d need to add more length for sure. Sorry to hear you have frost already though unless you have 17 feet of snow this winter I may restrict my sympathy ;D

      1. I adore Maxi dresses, and while they use quite a bit of fabric, it’s not so much for me. I am 5’3″ (I don’t believe that fun size women can’t wear long dresses/skirts!) so I generally am adjusting patterns up!!! Quite a gorgeous dress, love how it looks on you! ~Serina

    2. I’m 5’10 and I didn’t actually have to add any length, I’m not sure why? I do think it’s really long!

      1. That really is curious!! My bust may be bigger than yours, hiking it up?

  8. michelleinsea says:

    This is really cute. I really liked both yours and Rosie’s versions. It seems to be a really good silhouette on just about everyone, but I’m pretty sure that every version I’ve seen on a larger busted woman has also mentioned the gaping issue–at this point, I’m suspecting that it’s a drafting issue.

    1. yeah it seems like it’s a quirk – and one that I often see. I wonder if the armscye grading just isn’t usually sufficient to account for bigger busts? Also I usually do a traditional FBA which doesn’t give me much additional there – I think I’m going to start trying a Y-FBA instead and see if that works better.

  9. michelleinsea says:

    BTW–Congratulations on your course! (I hit “Post” too soon.)

  10. Looks fab! I’m working out how many maxis are too many maxis at mo – can’t stop making them! Got M6744 long version on the go at the minute, nice wrap dress meet maxi dress 🙂 another Southport is definitely on the cards x

  11. Definitely have to put a maxi dress on my list of must makes come summer time! Your dress looks fantastic! Ooooh and my Curvy Sketchbook arrived today…….. exciting stuff! 😀

    1. Thanks, I highly recommend it! And I hope you enjoy your sketchbook!

  12. I’m delighted to are planning on five more versions, me too! I didn’t seem to have gaping at the armscye, but I also sewed my button placket down for both my versions. I was going to do it ‘properly’ for the next one, but as you said it gaped even with an FBA I shall save myself the hassle!i love your version, that fabric is lush. What is a Y FBA? The FBA I did on my short version wasn’t massively successful!

    1. Yours totally sold me on it! And yeah I’m not sure there’s any point in making it functional given t doesn’t need to… Function 🙂 A Y FBA is a type that also has a cut line that goes up to the shoulder and gives you extra fabric through the upper chest and armscye. Michelle is going to cover it on the CSC soon! I’m

  13. Mary Kay Michaels says:

    Next time, match the plaids. It will make your garment look super professional.

    1. Hi Mary – as I mentioned in the review, the stripes were slightly off grain so I pattern matched at the front where it was most crucial, but that meant one of the side seams was inevitably not going to match.

  14. I had the same problem on the armscyes of mine, and that was without an FBA. Your fit looks better than mine, so I am definitely doing an FBA next go-around (I just sized up at the bust, but it definitely needs more boob room), and I’ll redraw the armscyes for a bit more coverage too.

    And your fabric is awesome!

    1. I’m hearing the same thing from others on the armscye so at this point I suspect it’s a pattern quirk! Easy enough to fix though. And, thanks!

  15. LinB says:

    Also, you don’t have to shave your legs when you wear a maxi. There’s that.

  16. misscrayolacreepy says:

    This dress looks great on you! xo

  17. I’m absolutely on the maxi train! I’m working on sewing mine now, though in stalled until I can pick up some microtex sharp needles as recommended via Instagram because my sewing machine does not get along with my rayon challis, and I have basically all top stitching left to do. I have the same issue with the arm syche. I’m trying to figure out how to fix it before I make my next one, the short version in the most lucious voile! Also I’m going to sign up for your class! Yay! I really need tips on photography.

  18. Kimmie says:

    I just completed your course on blogging, and there was lots of good information. I am a little disappointed that it was just your voice over a series of slides with no live action. I probably missed something in the course description that explained that. I do love your blog and the wonderful clothes that you make. Thanks.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! All the Burda Power Sessions are in the slide-and-voiceover format, but I’ll send them the feedback that they should make it clearer! Thanks

  19. gingermakes says:

    This is so pretty! It makes you look super tall! I love the print you chose… it’s so summery! I really need to get on the Southport train, too! Just need to work up the energy to print and tape the PDF! 🙂

  20. Jennifer Hill says:

    Hi Jenny! Love your dress! And just wondering if you might run another blogging course sometime (hopefully very soon!) as I was so excited when I saw it, as I really (really) want to start my own blog, but haven’t been well the last few days and just haven’t been able to manage this course. Or maybe something in your blog? (she begged, pathetically, hehe). Thanks, Jen (another Brit)

Let me know what you think!