Hot! The “Ultra-Violet” Maxi Dress

The Facts

  • Fabric: purple textured cotton blend? (stash)
  • Pattern: Simplicity 6559 (10 cents at a garage sale)
  • Year: 1974
  • Notions: thread, invisible zipper, seam binding, stash button
  • Time to complete: 4+ hours
  • First worn: June 17, 2012
  • Wear again?: Yes
  • Total price: <$10 for all the notions

Maybe a pattern from 1974 doesn’t exactly scream “Summer 2012 Fashion Trends” but upon some Internetting I found that maxi dresses are trendy this summer. (My mother confirmed this for me as she has been in a clothing store far more recently than I). And it just so happens I have no maxi dress. What to do?

Lucky for me, in early June I stumbled upon 11 patterns in my size for 10 cents a piece at a garage sale (including this one) and I snatched them up post haste. Most are 1970s, which is a great era for the maxi, and I think we’ll be seeing more of that type of thing from my sewing room this year.

Construction was a breeze, though I could possibly have done a better job in the center front where the bodice and the skirt meet, and once again things don’t totally match up in the back (what the heck?). The fabric handles well and takes ironing well. And it’s very comfortable. Also, it’s great for those summer days when you just don’t have time to shave your legs.

Can I just say I love this dress? I love wearing it. I love how it looks. I love that it’s purple (perhaps only the third purple item of clothing I have ever had) and I think that a nice bold color statement is in keeping with the Summer 2012 Fashion Trend challenge as well.


There’s only one thing that gives me pause…




Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


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  1. I took graffiti backed pics this week, too!! I love this color on you and I love your parting photo, lol! I’m a big fan of purple, so you’ve got my vote no matter who your fashion twins are ;o)

  2. I like the fit of this maxi dress. It has more structure than many of the simple tank dresses and is very flattering.

  3. Hi Erin, great Maxi dress. I made my first one back for the art challenge and I wear it more often then I thought I would. So have a great summer wearing it in style!

  4. ROFL!! I love this color, and if you think you look like a teletubbies character you can always make the dress shorter? I don’t think so, though, I think it looks lovely.

  5. Brilliant- very funny parting photo- didn’t see it coming at all!

  6. I love that this dress has some structure to it. The color is beautiful too. You look amazing! Way to show off your lovely curves!

  7. Just don’t wear a hat in the shape of a purple triangle and you’ll be fine : ) Cute dress and I’m not a big fan of the maxi although I do like the idea of not having to shave the legs so often…

  8. I think this looks lovely on you Erin and not a bit of teletubbie! You could make it casual or dressy with differenc accessories too. I have not been game to try the Maxi dress look as I feel they might make me look huge – all that fabric – but the effect definately is flattering on you!

  9. Your dress is awesome! I can see this styled in so many different ways with the right accessories. Giggled at the last photo. You’re definitely the most fashionable and on-trend of the three.

  10. Don’t you just love finding cheap vintage patterns in your size? Oh you look fabulous Erin, Love you in purple and love the length and cut. She’s definitely a winner Yay!

  11. Lovely dress. It looks like it fits you really well and the colour is perfect for you.

  12. Looks really cool and comfy. Colour is great too!

  13. A marvelous maxi, Erin.

  14. You forgot Barney, LOL! JK, I love it! Can’t beat the ’70’s for great maxi patterns. I have a pattern for a palazzo-leg jumpsuit waiting for me.

    • Actually, I had a pic of Barney I was going to use, but his purple is actually very, very different from these guys, so it didn’t really fit. :)

  15. Look, forget Tinky Winky etc…..purple is, and always will be the Osmonds, oh hang on, that’s not helping is it. OK, forget them all….other than I’m glad that they caused you to do one of your lovely quirky pics as well as the incredibly pretty elegant ones. That colour looks fabulous on you and what a mega-find in that wall too!