The Oonaballoona Dress

 In the first week of December, Oonaballoona, that sassy woman from Kalkatroona sent me a piece of fabric I had admired just a few weeks earlier.

For readers post November 14th………..

During my one and only meetup with Oonaballoona, my husband’s camera broke while in her hands at Mood Fabrics. Oonaballoona erroneously blamed herself, and three weeks later this tropical banana leaf jersey arrived at my house along with a chocolate bar for hubby .

IMG_1340Or is feathers? The woman does love her feathers……….

Oonaballoona feather skirt

Whatever it is I wanted to savor every inch of this fun print, and I’m celebrating the return of warm weather sewing with my Oonaballoona dress!


Greetings from Edisto Island!

Do you know I’ve never made a fun Maxi dress? The last time I even wore one was at age 15, but after a rendition of this McCall’s pattern by SewWil, one of my favorite Pattern Reviewers, I was all about sewing a maxi dress with Oonaballoona’s gift.


The pattern is super easy and was sewn in a day. All of the edges are turned rather than faced , and my trusty roll of Steam-a-Seam was incredibly helpful in stabilizing the edges for even turning, pressing and top-stitching.

IMG_1355Indeed, I used every inch of this fabric – the belt must be 10 feet long!


Back in my RTW days, I didn’t consider trying on a Maxi because the limited wearability seemed like a waste of money. Now I think I’m nuts.

This dress is so fun and so  w e a r a b l e  –  it’s already made the rounds at Edisto very comfortably………… but don’t think I’ve been lounging around all weekend in my new dress.

Hardly. ….. more like washing windows and scrubbing concrete etc………. but now I’m done and it’s time to live a little –  Oonaballoona style :)


B o t t o m s  U p !

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134 Responses to The Oonaballoona Dress

  1. kathi giumentaro says:

    This dress is to die for.

  2. Becky says:

    Oh, I like this look on you. Great dress. As I get older, I like the maxi style more and more. I’ve never had one, but I love an elegant caftan, and this is much more versatile and elegant.

  3. Toni says:

    Fantastic! It looks amazing on you and the fabric is perfect for the style. Great job.

  4. Irene says:

    So lovely! This definitely looks to be the perfect dress to relax and have fun in. (Could you please send some of that lovely warm weather north?)

  5. Sam says:

    I love a good maxi dress, and this is certainly that! Gorgeous fabric, gorgeous style and gorgeous location too!

  6. jstarr4250 says:

    What a perfect pattern for your lovely Oona fabric! It suits you beautifully and the earrings are just the right touch. I agree with you exactly- I never thought I’d want a maxi for the same reasons you mention but once again you’ve whisked away my preconceived notions. It’s a gorgeous, easy breezy island style on you.

  7. Bobbi says:

    You are adorable. Wonderful outfit. Oona is a hoot!

  8. Angela says:

    I truly love wearing maxis — you look good and are comfortable all at the same time. And no better place to wear one than at the beach:)

  9. Susan says:

    That dress is such a flattering style on you (although I’ve yet to see a style you can’t wear)! The large scale of your fabric works so well with that pattern. Motivates me to actually start making my summer vacation plans…

    • Thank you so much for the nice comment, Susan! I wasn’t sure what to do with the large print but believe I made the right decision :) Hope you come up with some great summer plans!

  10. Lynn says:

    Your dress is very pretty and flattering.

  11. Lori says:

    Fabulous dress, it looks wonderful on you.

  12. You look MAH-VA-LOUS in your new maxi! Well done!

  13. Louisa Coburn says:

    Far out and outstanding! I am still enjoying your blog, Sarah. I thought the orange lace was pretty outstanding ,too. A brave choice of color, but worked for you. You make me remember how much fun it was to roam a good fabric store.

    • So nice to hear from you, Louisa, and I’m delighted you’re still following along! The orange dress was a stroke of LUCK! I wasn’t sure what color would appear after putting it in a sink of RIT, but miracles do happen :) Many thanks for writing!

  14. sewingaddict says:

    As a petite, I have shied away from maxi dresses, thinking they would overwhelm my figure. However, you have proven that a petite can wear them – and wear them well! Thanks for the inspiration. Your dress is lovely.

    • Thank you so much! Although I’ve seen lots of petite women wearing maxis I thought they would overwhelm me…….. The simple style helps and as big as the print is, I believe
      the limited colors keep it from overwhelming my height.

  15. Andrea Engelhardt says:

    Hi. I looked up Edisto Island. We go to Charleston & Summerville but have never heard of this Island. I will check it out. I didn’t see a lot of things to do there – it must be a place to get away and rest which is always good.

    • Hi Andrea! Edisto Beach is a wonderful family beach with little commercialization. There are a few restaurants, lots of water and boating activities and as you said ……… a great place to get away! :)

  16. A true winner of a dress…And fantastic on you!

  17. sewamysew says:

    You look fabulous is this dress!!!

  18. madrod1 says:

    Fabulous! I can’t believe you hadn’t made a maxi to wear, it is prefect. Great fabric!

  19. ewellons says:

    Great dress and wonderful pattern for that fabric! Like you, I was late to the maxi party but found that I loved the one and only one I made last summer. You’re going to get tons of wear out of that. Perfect for the beach.

  20. Kathy says:

    What a lovely dress! I’ve always stayed away from maxis as well…. but with a beach vacation coming soon I think I’ve now been inspired to give one a try. But I need a fantastic print like this!

  21. oonaballoona says:

    GLORIOUS!!! i gasped when i saw the reveal, you look like a goddess. i LIVE in maxi dresses in the summer, and you’re inspriring me to throw one on with a sweater today and say the hell with it! the print placement is perfect…i hope hubs has noticed that gorgeous swoop on le derriere :) .

    very, very jealous over here. (and also still repentant on the dropsies.)

    • You gasped?……..Did you say I look like a goddess??? Have you been drinking again?? There’s no need for jealousy with all of your chic maxis…… the David Bowie dress is too much! Many thanks again for this fun fabric and giving me the incentive to try something new!

      PS………Hubs notices everything :)

  22. cjgal says:

    I love your maxi dress, you are making me want to drop everything and head to the beach! You look fabulous as always, great job :)

    • Many thanks, KY girl! You live in Louisville……. but your cute last dress was more like UK colors. Are you a Cardinals fan?

      • cjgal says:

        Well I am a UK alumni but my husband is hard core cards fan, I had to cheer them on for their national championship! The city pretty much went bonkers after the win, it was exciting :)

  23. Teri says:

    What a perfect pattern fabric pairing. Your dress is wonderful Sara. Enjoy your time at the beach!

  24. Andrea says:

    I love this dress on you! Such a fun print for spring and summer. Would be a great vacation dress, especially to somewhere warm and tropical. I cut out a very similar pattern yesterday but in more sedate black, hope to sew it today.

  25. R says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! 1.) I love yellow! It makes me look terrible, but I am detirmined to find a way to wear it anyway. 2.) I love a bold print! 3.) I am so into maxis right now. I never though I could wear them because I’m only 5′ tall, but this year I’ve found that with the right cut I can so rock them! And I plan to!

    Great job, an inspiration as always!

    (and what a great friend, Oonaballoona!)

    • Thank you, Rachel! I’ve never worn much yellow and two summers ago I was told I need to bring more yellow in my life (long story)….. so I try :)
      ….. and you’re right, Oonaballoona is the greatest!

  26. Libby Paul says:

    Now I want a maxi dress. I’ll find a tailor in Bangkok to design and stitch one for me!

  27. artattack024 says:

    What great fabric and the perfect dress for it! I love the front and back V-neck. Killer combo on pattern and fabric for this maxi!

  28. Fabulous dress and fabric!!

  29. missmarys says:

    Do darn cute. Lovely really. Good tips on the edges. I “sew” shy away from those fabrics.

  30. danvillegirl says:

    Great looking dress!

  31. mzsweetpea says:

    Well I just found my dress for my son’s wedding in 4 weeks! The wedding is on the beach-as in N. Myrtle Beach….and this will be perfect! As in PERFECT………….Laura
    You look smashing in it, and now you’ll need to make 2 more and your set for the summer! Isn’t stream a seam just the best stuff…it changed my sewing life!

  32. jlundy6116 says:

    Lovely, as always. Good color on you. I just got back from a trip to Hilton Head, I love the east coast!

  33. Oh, I LOVE this dress! What a great fabric – and the pattern is wonderful! Perfect for the beach :) This looks terrific on you! Know what you mean about maxi’s – and I feel the same way (except for a Lilly maxi, I’ve dismissed them…!) No more after seeing this one on you :)

    Thanks for opening everyone’s eyes to the possibilities!

  34. What a beautiful maxi dress. I love wearing them! The dress pattern and the fabric work great together. I was debating over this pattern at the McCall’s pattern sale at JoAnn the other day. I passed, but now I kinda wish I hadn’t

  35. Sarah Jo says:

    A perfect print for that dress! Making one for our trip to Kiawah, although it might be too hit for the SC heat when we go in July. I will perspire in style!

  36. Jacqui says:

    wonderful rendition using some beautiful fabric! I have had a packet of steam a seam for yonks but never used it – you have prompted me to dig it out and give it ago . The edges look so good.

  37. CherryPix says:

    I love this look on you! The proportions are is that fabric – breezy

  38. I had this pattern in my hand this afternoon and I put it back due to the shoulder ties- ick. Now, I wish I’d bought it. Oh well, another excuse to go to the fabric store!

  39. Cindy says:

    This is a real sleeper. The fabric is quite visually interesting but not too fancy or cluttered, and the pattern is exactly the same. I love that there are very few lines to chop up the fabric’s pattern; this style really lets the fabric shine — a perfect pairing. The dress looks spectacular on you, and so ideal for a beach community. Another smashing success!

  40. Barbara says:

    Oh my!!! Fantastic fabric, beautiful dress. Once again, you leave me wanting to copy. I have a wedding in the DR in about a month and this one needs to be on the list of things to do!

  41. Karen says:

    It’s gorgeous!

  42. Victoria says:

    (Whistling) You look goreous Woman! I was just working on this dress for myself. Hope my results are as good as yours!!!!

  43. Heather says:

    I need to get this pattern and start shopping for fabric. LOVE this dress!

  44. Your dress is feather-liciously gorgeous! I’m sure Oonaballoonna is very flattered that you named your dress after her!

  45. sewmanju says:

    Beautiful classy dress in a fab fabric!

  46. wimmie says:

    There you go again making something beautiful that I have not even considered. I’m 5ft 4inches and a maxi up until this review has not been on my to do list. As always you look wonderful. You and Oonaballoonna did a great job.

  47. Sheila says:

    Beautiful dress and the print is absolutely perfect for it.

  48. Kay says:

    It is a beautiful dress.

  49. LLADYBIRD says:

    Whoaaa, you look fabulous!! That is the perfect fabric for that dress – so pretty and summery, and very Oona indeed :) Definitely get more maxi dresses in your life, that’s a good look for you!

  50. Wow this is awesome!! It looks so great on you. Really love it!

  51. I love this fabric! I’m a huge maxi fan and this looks stunning on you! Job well done yet again. :)

  52. Almeda says:

    And once again, your new creation is just wonderful! I am amazed at every new piece and it quickly becomes my “new favorite”…well, just until the next post. :) From your more formal and most beautiful lace dresses to your more casual pieces, like this adorable Oonaballoona maxi dress, your selection of fabric and pattern choices is so perfect. It is evident you are not only building a marvelous wardrobe, but having so much fun doing so. Thanks for inspiring!

  53. ……..and thank you, Almeda for this very kind comment! It’s true, I’ve had so much fun during my return to sewing clothes – such a pleasant surprise to connect with like-minded people from everywhere!

  54. jillybe says:

    Gorgeous on you! I swear, if I keep seeing results like this I WILL make myself a maxi dress this summer…… (if only I thought I could look as good as you do!)

  55. gingermakes says:

    GAH!!! This is jaw-droppingly amazing!!!!! I. LOVE. IT. Beautiful!!! What a perfect pattern for this jersey!

  56. Sandra says:

    What a fabulous dress – the fabric looks more like a cotton than a jersey which would just make it amazing to wear. I love the fall of the skirt, so flattering. Simply Beautiful!

  57. sewruth says:

    I’m fashionable late darling but you look divine.. Martinis did you say?

  58. Trisha says:

    Ooooh, how lovely! You look great in this dress, and the fabric is stellar.

  59. Ella says:

    I have to agree with how comfortable maxi dresses are, I could just wear them everyday. The pattern and the fabric are perfectly matched, it’s gorgeous!

  60. Crafty Claire says:

    I think the dress looks amazing in you. I’ve just discovered your blog, and I’m AMAZED by all you have achieved in nearly 2 years. Incredible, I’ll be following you from now on!

  61. coco says:

    Love love love your banana leaf maxi! You look terrific, great style for you.

  62. Woop woop summer has arrived! Lovely dress as always and thanks for the link to SewWil’s PR place. :)

  63. Lynne says:

    I can’t imagine a more perfect pairing of pattern and print! (OOO, THAT is some alliteration!) Seriously, great dress and it looks amazing on. We love the maxi!!!!

  64. Carolyn says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!! The perfect marriage of fabric and style. You look smashing! and so summer ready :)

  65. Stephanie N. says:

    Hi there! Slmstyle from Pattern Review here, AKA Stephanie. I love everything that you make as you are classy, sophistocated and create really beautiful apparel! You look so amazing in this dress and I just love the way it hugs your curves ;)
    I am planning to cut and sew this dress TONIGHT to wear on vacation in Mexico which we leave for TOMORROW NIGHT, so cross your fingers it fits me exactly like yours does and sews up fast and easy too. Luckily, I am a speedy seamstress!
    One question: did you sew it right out of the package as the size that is suggested on the pattern envelope or did you have to make adjustments? I am 5’9″, small busted, and hate to make patterns that end up humongous, which happens all too often with the Big 4 patterns. I usually need to add to the length of things, especially a maxi dress to get it just right, but hope that the bodice fits as nicely as your version does. I think I’ll go down a size and go from there.
    Thanks for creating such an inspirational dress!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! You’ll look greatin this dress- I cut a size smaller and am glad I did! I’ve also emailed you. Good luck with the sewing and have fun on your vacation!

  66. Pingback: Maxi Dress from Designer Tie-Dyed Silk | Mood Sewing Network

  67. Jenny says:

    This dress is beautiful! I think it looks fantastic on you! I’m the same height on you so I think I’ll give this pattern a try. It’s been sitting on my shelf too long …

  68. Pingback: Naughty Girl, Happy Girl | Goodbye Valentino

  69. Tonipet says:

    What a beautiful inspiration you are. Loved all your ideas. I would like to link my hub “Famous Dress Cuts You Should Know” to this wonderful blog, I hope it is fine. So many women will get the many practical ideas from your work. I knew how to sew but not as beautiful as those dresses you got. Thanks to you, now I can make use of my mother’s old sewing machine just lying around. I would love to sew my own dresses.

    Thank you very much for being an inspiration to us many women. More power and blessings! -:=)Tonette/Tonipet

  70. Lorna says:

    Hello! Your dress is really lovely – what a perfect fit! And perfect fabric, it looks fantastic. You’ve insprired me – I don’t own any maxi dresses, so I’m buying this pattern now! The sun is finally out in Scotland and I’ve nothing to wear (we’re usually just subjected to cold and rain!) so I’d better get fabric shopping.

  71. karen s says:

    This is a beautiful dress.

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