When I first saw the Madhu top from Seamwork, I knew I HAD to make it. It’s so cute in a relaxed way that’s perfect for spring and summer. I was instantly a fan! What I’m not a fan of though, is crop tops. They’ve never been my thing and they always look like I’ve squeezed into my little sister’s shirt. I have a cropped bandeau top that I received in a Universal Standard mystery box that’s currently crumpled in a dresser drawer, destined to stay there until I can figure out some use for it. So, I did what any savvy sewist would do when faced with loving/hating a top – I turned it into a dress! I used Robert Kaufman Cote D Azur Seersucker fabric provided by Minerva and hacked the Madhu cropped top into a two-tier dress. I think it turned out pretty darn cute if I do say so myself!
My immediate thought when I received this lovely seersucker check fabric from Minerva was to make a seersucker suit. Then I had a reality check and reminded myself that I rarely wear suits. This realization, coupled with the fact that we can wear casual attire to the office throughout the summer, meant that my suit fantasy melted into a much more useful idea – an adorable summer dress. This fabric was such a pleasure to work with. There was no snagging when I sewed it and the gorgeous blues didn’t bleed into the white checks (or each other) when I laundered it. Since it’s 100% cotton, I expected a little shrinkage after laundering, but I honestly didn’t notice any. If anything, it seems a little longer than its advertised 56.1 inches. I lightly ironed the fabric after I pulled it from the dryer, but part of seersucker’s appeal is its slightly wrinkled appearance. Another great thing about its slightly wrinkled appearance is that it’s perfect for grabbing out of your closet, throwing on, and heading out the door.
To turn the Madhu top into a dress, I made a few adjustments. Based on previous Seamwork makes, I knew that the elastic lengths for the neckline and sleeve hems would be too big if I followed my size suggestion, so while I sewed up a size 26 in fabric, the neckline and arm elastics were size 16. Next, instead of using ¼-inch elastic for the waist hem, I used 1-inch elastic. I figured the thicker elastic would be better for supporting the skirt portion of the dress, while also nipping in my waist a bit. This meant that instead of stitching the hem’s elastic casing per the instructions, I stitched a line from 3/8 inch from the hem and 1.5 inches from the hem. This proved to be the best size for easily inserting the elastic without too much extra casing fabric. I also trimmed a few inches from the length of the waist elastic. I matched the measurements of the waist to the top tier, so I cut 2 20×35 pieces. For the bottom tier, I cut 2 10×57 pieces. I also used the pocket piece from Seamwork’s Benning, but you can use any pocket piece you’d like. After that, I sewed it up like I would any other dress and voila – the Madhu dress was born!