Monday, May 16, 2011

Karina Grimaldi maxi dress knockoff

I've been drooling over this Karina Grimaldi maxi dress on shopbop for awhile now, and finally decided to do something about it over the weekend.   Here is the description from's website.
This scoop-neck jersey maxi dress features a racer back and a striped skirt. Unfinished hem. 1.5" straps.

* 56" long, measured from shoulder.
* Fabrication: Jersey.
* 100% modal.
* Hand wash or dry clean.
* Made in the USA.

I started with my favorite tank top pattern, and changed the back to more of a racerback style.  I lowered the neckline as well.  For the skirt part I cut wide crosswise strips, then serged them together to make panels for the front and back.  The only tricky part was figuring out how wide to make them, I really liked the proportions on the model but seeing as I'm not 5'10" I wasn't sure it would work.  I tried to guess how long the skirt portion would be, divided that by 5, and came up with 7.2" based on my height.  I cut the strips 8" wide (including seam allowances), making them wider at the bottom.  I measured another maxi dress of mine to see how wide the bottom needed to be (~35"), and just made the strips narrower as I went up until it matched my hip measurement.   Once I had the front and back skirt panels, I pinned them together and serged straight a-line side seams, cutting off all the excess.  Even with good planning, I still had to make adjustments as I went along so it would hang parallel to the floor, pinning it to the tank top until I liked how it looked.
8" wide strips serged together
 I used 11oz rayon/lycra jersey from Emma One Sock.  Whenever I need a good quality knit I head straight for Linda's website.  I know her fabrics are always excellent quality and when I spend the time to sew something I don't want to run into pilly knits or poor recovery.  Not to mention the time saved not having to look all over the place for the right fabric.  I got a yard of the almond and 1.5 yards of the black, and had enough leftover for probably a tank top from each.  ~$50 in fabric, versus $196 for the RTW dress.  In addition I added a power mesh lining to the top part of the skirt, the 11oz weight isn't see through but in a light color it needs something.

Inside out: power mesh half lining

I did my usual neckline/armhole finishing using my right angle binder, I took some photos right after binding this time so you can see what it looks like before being turning to the inside and topstitched.  Depending on how much the strips get stretched when applying the binding, the fabric may look pretty puckered, but it usually turns out okay once it's on the body.  I always do a test run to see if the fabric will behave in the binder, some fabrics are just too thick or stretchy for it.

Top:  after binding  Bottom:  after topstitching binding to inside

 This is what the top of the dress looks like laying down, not too hot, right?  But when worn everything stretches out flat and those openings are nice and stable.

I spent about 8 hrs total on this, which would have been way faster with a full pattern but I do like the flexibility of the tweaking process.   Having a dressform to work on is a huge help when trying to picture proportions and lengths. 

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I want to lose 30 pounds and wear all of your clothes



This looks lovely and I am so impressed with your skill! I love that you are able to anticipate the problems with sewing with stretch and cleverly overcome them. I have been struggling with sewing with stretch and have just thrown away yesterday's effort! Beautiful result - well done!



Fabulous dress for summer. Is the half mesh lining to stop clinging around the bum?-



Gorgeous dress and great knockoff! I am wondering why you you cut rectangles instead of trapezoids. I am not very talented with flat pattern designs, so I think I would have used trapezoids as my first go to shape for the tiers. Obviously your use of rectangles worked. But I just can't wrap my head around it. This is not a criticism, just curiosity as I am geometrically and shaped challenged. Thanks!

Carolyn (cmarie12)


Awesome...just awesome! Glad to see you sharing your amazing creations again!



Way to go with your knockoffs!



Gail the lining was mainly to help with the sheerness of the almond fabric. The fabric is too drapey to really be clingy, it's fitted but not tight.

SEWN thank you! I cut rectangles because at that point the only thing I had decided was the width of the strips, but yes you are right they ended up being trapezoids when I sewed the side seams. I just don't like to cut away fabric until I'm sure I don't need it. :-) Does that make sense?



Oh wow, I love it!



Awesome dress! I am very impressed with your skill. Thanks for sharing amazing creations.
agenzie hostess

Peonies & Daisies


You really need to post more. I just find your blog and I love it. More, more, more!!!

Thanks for the inspiration.



You post wonderful stuff. I like this maxi dress very much. I wish you share some such beautiful collection of long sleeve shirts...
Long Sleeve Shirt

Cindy May


I'm so glad you are back. We need some skill and style back in sewing blogs!!!!! I'm so have not been inspired!!! I miss you!

Griya Mobil Kita

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I have been looking all over for, this, dress I wish, I could make I've, like, you! you want to sell yours!?

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Very amazing and interesting post

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