Muumuu. Kaftan. Shift dress. Rectangle maxi dress. Whatever you like to call it, this type of dress is great for comfortable, easy wearing. The rectangular or tent-like shapes associated with this style allow amazing comfort and freedom of movement (and hide any wobbly bits if that’s your thing).
I was approached by a client to take in some lovely crimped crepe pants, and we got to chatting while I was sitting at her feet pinning the hems. She did a lot of sewing herself when she was younger, she said, but struggled with a wrist injury more recently. With a daughter who favoured golf clubs over sewing machines, she had come to me. In her handbag was a beautiful cream beige flower print cotton fabric that she whipped out to show me.
The Construction Story
Fabric: 100% cotton, “Chrysanthemum” – Quilters Collection by Da Gama Textiles
A plan was devised to create the most comfortable dress from it. Mrs B was looking for a dress that was casual and indoors-y, something just one step up from a dressing gown. Another requirement was that she could easily slip it over her shoulders without any fuss. She suggested simply folding the length of fabric in two and cutting a neck hole – no finicky bits about inserting sleeves and whatnot. Although I felt the pretty flower print deserved more, I liked where she was going with the style. After giggling about the word “muumuu”, we spent another few minutes drafting the details and getting measurements (and many more minutes nattering away together)! Then off she went to return next week for the finished product.
Mrs B wanted a modest neckline, so I inserted a simple button and loop at the back of the neckline. This made it easier to pull over the head and shoulders, and could be fastened without having to twist around in front of a mirror.
The batwing sleeves were created by a straight stitch running about 15cm in parallel to the side edges of the fabric, tapering down to meet at the hips. This gave a bit of shape to the body of the dress while providing nice roomy sleeves. I made the armholes a little larger than necessary to help with the easy on – easy off thing.
The Final Product
The final result was a shift dress of ultimate simplicity and casual style. The hem sat just above the ankle, with a short slit up the side seam for easy walking. The dress looked completely shapeless on the hanger, and had only a little bit of shape on the dressform, but looked absolutely lovely on Mrs B. I wish her many lazy Sundays of relaxing in her comfy muumuu!
If you liked this Creation Chronicle, contact us to arrange your own Studio Brinnjal custom outfit in South Africa.