Tropical Wrap Dress maxi dress pattern hack

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

The most downloaded pattern from So Sew Easy is the Wrap Dress. It came second in the Craftsy best pattern award for 2014 and at the time of writing has been downloaded more than 52,000 times!  If I had a dollar for each one….. 😉

Wrap dress pattern - free sewing pattern. Easy to sew and great looking wrap dress - everyone should have at least one of these. From So Sew Easy.

So when I wanted to sew a tropical maxi dress, this pattern immediately sprung to mind.  Sometimes you just don't need to mess with a good thing!  I bought this amazing ITY knit print from Fabric Mart (sadly now sold out) and it's just perfect for island life.  But I wanted to make just a few changes:

  1. Maxi dress rather than knee length
  2. Enough room to walk properly in the longer skirt
  3. Loose flutter sleeves

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

We looked before at skirts when we made the Perfect Maxi Skirt.  If you take a straight skirt which is hip width and then simply entend it down to the floor, you won't be able to walk properly, you'll only be able to move your legs as wide as your hips.  This works OK in a knee length skirt but not in a maxi.

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

At the same time, we don't necessarily want to add a lot of volume to the skirt all over so there is more fabric at waist and hip to be gathered in. So I used the same idea on the Perfect Maxi Skirt to extend and increase the flare slightly on the Wrap Dress skirt.  I also made sure to use the whole width of my fabric too.

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

I changed the shape of the sleeves to give them a looser more summery look too.  Both are very simple changes you can make to this, or any pattern, to change up the look.  I'll show you how to do these simple pattern hacks in the video below.

The video below covers the two different pattern hacks to convert the wrap dress into a maxi with flutter sleeves, and also has the full sewing step by step too.  So if you've not yet made the original wrap dress, there are some pointers here that might be useful.  It's a very quick and easy to sew dress, has optional elastic at the waist and I'll be wearing mine everywhere!

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Pattern hacking the Wrap Dress into a Maxi Dress Pattern


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Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Useful links:

If you want to see the step by step sewing instructions in word and picture format, these are included in the pattern download and are also in the original article about the wrap dress here.

Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

Give this one a try, I think you'll like it.  Or start out with the original Wrap Dress too.  Either way, please do come share what you sew in our sewing chat group on Facebook.  24hr sewing chat, inspiration and sharing – on all sorts of sewing activities!  We can't wait to see what fabric you use for your maxi dress.

Download the free Wrap Dress Pattern

Wrap-dress-009---v-smallAs usual, to make downloading easy and reliable, the pattern is hosted in my design account with Payhip. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to sign up to download, but don’t worry, it’s free, quick and easy. Add the pattern to your cart, and then checkout – no payment/address details etc needed.

Download multi-size pattern pieces from my design account at Payhip...

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Oh wow, on my summer sewing list for sure. Free pattern and tutorial on how to make this tropical wrap maxi dress pattern.

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32 Responses to Tropical Wrap Dress maxi dress pattern hack

  1. Svenja Kohlmann says:

    I would like to use cotton. Do you have a sewing pattern for this?

  2. Lisa Miller-Mecham says:

    This is so beautiful! Thanks so much!

  3. Carol says:

    I am a size 14-16, big busted and a bit of a tummy, and I need a style that flows for a cruise. This dress is too covered in the top. Do you have any styles that I can download to make for cruising in a flowing fabric please.

  4. Yeah, my first real sewing project is finished! I love it!

    I uploaded a photo story to imgur:

    (the picture quality isn’t too good, but if you want to, you can use it to showcase the pattern)

  5. Helen Semrau says:

    Oh! This is just what I’ve been looking for. Can’t wait to try it. Knits don’t like me too much so this will be a good pattern to work on. I LOVE ❤️ your site and have mentioned it when I make something and photo it on Pinterest. Do you think you could give a thought as to how to alter sleeves?. Most of your patterns have cap, short or no sleeves. Even this maxi wrap. I have “hefty” arms that I’d rather not show and wonder how to lengthen this flutter sleeve without making it overwhelming. Thanks so much. Helen Semrau

  6. Elaine says:

    Lovely dress. How much fabric do I need to make it?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Elaine, it’s really going to depend on the size you choose to make. The pattern is free so suggest you download and do your calculations. This is a maxi dress so you’re going to need a reasonable amount of fabric as dresses go. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. Please let us know how you go.

  7. rosydragon says:

    I love dresses does anyone love dresses

  8. Kim says:

    Thank you for another great tutorial. Do you use a straight stitch or a stretch stitch?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Kim:

      If you are using a twin needle use a straight stitch, if you are using a ballpoint needle use a stretch stitch.

  9. Jo B. says:

    I absolutely love this dress and I’m going to attempt to make it.
    I downloaded the pattern and put most of it together. When I came to the back bodice pieces I could not match the connections. It seems that pieces #18, 19,20, and 21 are a smaller scale and do not match up with the other 4 pieces of the back bodice.
    I had no problem with the rest of the pattern.
    I am fiddling with my printer to try to enlarge those four pattern pieces to match with the rest of the back bodice.
    I hope I don’t screw it up. I have moderate experience in sewing and this dress looks like something I could do.
    By the way you look amazing in this dress.

    • Seems somehow your printer has changed the scale on those pieces. If you selected each page individually and printed at 100% that should work, but hey, print settings are a bit of a mystery sometimes. I hope you can work it out. And thanks, its one of my favorites 🙂

  10. Diane says:

    Love the dress and the fabric. I need to make it for my class reunion in Puerto Rico. Where can I get the fabric, or similar, love the hibiscus and it is a tropical flower.

    • I bought this one from Fabric Mart, but its all sold out now. When you see something there, you have to be fast! You might try, they often have a wide range of knit prints. I hope you find what you are looking for and have a great time at the reunion.

  11. You look fabulous, Deby!!!

  12. ana says:

    very lovelly.

  13. Hannah says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been wanting a nice maxi dress, and everything in the stores is either 100% polyester (sweaty!!) or is non bra compatible. This looks so lovely!

  14. Lori M. says:

    Yay… favorite maxi skirt to make now a full dress….love it……….

  15. Calditer says:

    Wow Deby, you look beautiful !

  16. onlynbaja says:

    Beautiful Deby, absolutely beautiful ! I do love the fabric also.

  17. Myra says:

    Thank you, a beautifully made tutorial. I was reminded how easy it was to alter a pattern which I used to do for my daughter.
    I always try to buy ‘nice’ long dresses with a sleeve and fail miserably, so I guess I will be trying to find decent material in UK. That is getting more difficult each year.

  18. Frankie says:

    Oh Deby, this is really nice! I LOVE the fabric you have chosen. It’s so pretty. Have you tried it with a belt? Could look good too, you look so slim! Must be all that hard sewing!! Keep up the good work, looks amazing

  19. Misha C says:

    Very feminine and elegant. I’m very tempted to give this a try.

  20. Patty Brown says:

    this is the first video I have watched of yours and you are doing an excellent job with your tutorials. Thank you for your time and help. I am very short and think I look very silly in maxi dresses but I may make this because your version is so slimming.

  21. Deby, I agree, you look fabulous! Love this maxi dress style.

  22. Gill Howdle says:

    Deby, you look absolutely fabulous in this and a little thinner too, if that isn’t too personal!

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