Do you know about “Boundless Style,” the dressmaking book from Victory Patterns? If you don’t, you should, and I hope this lovely maxi dress spurs you to check it out.
This tome is framed as “a mix-and-match sewing pattern workbook.” It’s an interchangeable collection of bodices, sleeves, and skirts. Remember the Fashion Plates toy, where you could swap different tops and bottoms to create new looks? That’s the idea behind “Boundless Style.”
Boundless Style Maxi Dress: My Vision
I can’t even recall when I bought this book. The copyright is 2015, and I have to think it came into my possession not long after its publication.
Last summer, I set my intention to sew this dress; if you’re interested, I chatted about my plan in this video. (I didn’t get around to sewing it until this spring, in time to wear to my older son’s First Communion.)
My vision was a floaty and ethereal maxi dress, something heavily inspired by our First Lady of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks. (Fleetwood Mac was one of my mom’s faves.)
Anyhoo, Stevie Nicks vibes.
How I Came to Love Maxi Dresses
Over the last few summers, I’ve come around to maxi dresses and skirts. I used to think I couldn’t pull them off, because I’m not particularly tall and have short legs. To my eye, the proportions of maxi dresses didn’t work for my body.
Then I discovered how wonderful they are to wear after buying one on a whim. You see, in my humble opinion, maxi dresses and skirts are MORE comfortable to wear during hot weather than their shorter counterparts. That’s because you don’t have to worry so much about crossing your legs in a maxi dress. With a short skirt, ya gots to keep your thighsies pressed together to preserve modesty. Your sweaty thighsies. (You know what I’m talking about.)
With a maxi skirt, you don’t need to keep yer sticky stems in contact; fabric obscures your classified bits. And that’s why I’m in love with maxi skirts and dresses, friends. Once I discovered this fact AND realized that yes indeed, I too can wear maxi skirts IF my waist is defined (to balance my proportions), I was delighted to no end.
Goodbye, sweaty legs. Hello, leg capes!
My Maxi Dress Details
This rayon is weighty (but not heavyweight) and swishy and makes that glorious fah-whoomp sound when you whip it around. It came from Harts Fabrics last summer. I fell HARD for the juicy blue-red hue. Plus, the scatter print meant I didn’t have to worry about matching prints at seams.
But, because the print IS directional, I had to be a heads-up stitcher to ensure I wasn’t sewing any upside-down flowers.
For the record, I sewed the Georgia bodice and the Meryl skirt from “Boundless Style.” The bodice is a size 4, and the skirt is a size 6. I graded between the sizes at the waist. I also shorted the bodice length by 1 inch.
I extended the skirt to maxi length. The longest skirt length in “Boundless Style” is mid-calf. I set the length to hit at my ankle, ensuring I could wear it with flats, should the mood strike.
Annnnd to make sure the deep V-neck of the surplice top stays G-rated, I sewed in a tiny snap.
The raw edges are finished with a three-thread narrow serger stitch, and the armholes are finished with matching self-made bias tape. I’m especially pleased with how neat the arm openings turned out.
I did something clever with the invisible zipper. The zipper tape and teeth are gray, and I painted the pull with red nail polish to match the dress! The nail polish tip comes from our friends at the Sewing Out Loud podcast.
Speaking of the zipper, if/when I make this pattern again, I’ll sew slightly closer to zipper teeth. As it’s installed in the dress, the gray zipper peeks out ever so slightly every once in a while. The thing is, when you sew too close to invisible zipper teeth, the zipper is a beast to open and close. Here’s to finding the best line of stitching next time.
The dress isn’t *exactly* finished. I want to sew in a label and add a waist stay (as recommended in the book). The waist stay is a grosgrain ribbon sewn to the waist seam allowance. The waist stay closes with hooks and eyes, and its function is to take stress off the zipper. Instead of the dress “giving” (pulling apart slightly) at the zipper, the tension is transferred to the waist stay.
Thoughts on ‘Boundless Style’
I hope you don’t think my delay in making something from ‘Boundless Style’ is a reflection on my feelings for it. ‘Cause this book is just lovely, truly. Here’s why I like it!
1.) There are dresses for all seasons.
Yes, the photos in the book have a warm-weather vibe. BUT. This book features multiple options for long sleeves, high necklines, and longer hems. Your skin is covered, should that be your jam.
2.) It covers all construction elements.
With detailed photos and illustrations, “Boundless Style” provides ALL the knowledge you need to sew any dress in this book. It’s a great primer for dressmaking and includes chapters on getting started, tools, skills and techniques, and final steps.
3.) Variety is the spice of life.
Let’s do the math (or maths, if you speak the Queen’s English). 5 bodices x 5 sleeves x 5 skirts = 125 dress options! And that doesn’t include variations WITHIN each bodice, sleeve, or skirt pattern! This is the stuff of Fashion Plates dreams, people.
4.) It’s a feast for the eyes.
The photography in this book is mouthwatering — dreamy and vivid.
The only issue I have with this book — and this is an Erin problem — is that by the time I got around to accessing the patterns in “Boundless Style,” I no longer had a computer with a CD drive at my house! I do, however, have a relationship with author Kristiann Boos from the patterns I’ve tested for her, and she graciously emailed me digital versions of the “Boundless Style” patterns. She’s the sweetest, guys.
IMO, “Boundless Style” patterns are accessible to the confident beginner, maybe someone with 1-2 simple dresses — limited in the number of pattern pieces and fitting elements — under her belt. And I say this primarily because the dresses in this book have multiple pattern pieces.
Over to you, my sewing doves: Are you familiar with “Boundless Style” and Victory Patterns? Do you have any fave patterns from Kristiann Boos (regardless of whether you’ve sewn them)? What’s your favorite dressmaking book? And if you had to pick one rock ‘n’ roll muse, who would it be? 🤔 Please sound off in comments! Thanks for reading; you’re the best.
P.S. Yes, I got dizzy spinning for some of these pics. Spinning in platforms is no joke, dudes.
P.P.S. Here’s a link to the previous post-a-roo: The Sewjo Alphabet: 26 MORE Ideas to Kick-Start Your Sewjo.
P.P.P.S. Here are reviews of other patterns from Victory, should you be interested:
Victory Patterns Ulysses Trench: Chic Mom Vibes
Victory Patterns Jackie dress: Diving into scuba knit
Va-va-va-volume in Victory Patterns Esther Pants
Victory Patterns Samara Cardigan in Blue Merino
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