In the oddest of odd coincidences, I made 95% of this dress exactly one year ago. We were in London about to move to the US, I was three months pregnant, my sewing machine was about to be packed up with the rest of our things. We wouldn’t see those things for the next few months and I was desperate to have this beautiful dress to wear throughout the summer. However, I didn’t quite make it.
I had modified the Southport Dress pattern to be maternity friendly and though I was really happy with how it was turning out it still wasn’t at the wearable stage and got packed up. By the time that our goodies arrived in October it wasn’t seasonally appropriate anymore so I never finished it. However, last weekend I needed a black dress and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get to the store for one, so I pulled this dress out and removed the maternity elements. And I loooooove it. It is finally having it’s day in the sun. 🙂
My modifications, for maternity wear:
-I trimmed 1.5 inches from the front bodice so that it would sit above my bump, left the back as is, and trimmed the side at an angle so that there was a gentle downward slope from the front to the back.
-I cut the front skirt piece on the fold, adding 1.5 inches at the fold (so 3 inches total), and removed 13.5 inches of length from View B to get a midi length.
-I cut the back skirt in two pieces instead of one and removed 12 inches of length. I also used the slash and spread method (seen here) except dividing the back skirt pattern piece into only three pieces, and added 2 inches of width between the slits. I wanted to add a little more room for my expanding body, but didn’t want any more bulk at the waist since I had already added width to the front. This gave the back side of the skirt a bit of a swingy shape.
-When I tried on my bodice I realized that it was a loose enough fit that I could easily get it on and off without buttons, so I elected to stitch down the placket and omit the buttons completely. I also used 1/4 inch elastic in the casing instead of making a drawstring as I thought that these two elements together made for a slightly more formal look, which is what I was going for.
Making it non-maternity:
This past weekend I detached the skirt from the bodice and trimmed 1.5 inches of length off of the back bodice so that it was the same length as the front. I detached all of the skirt panels from one another, took an inch of width off of each one so that there was less excess fabric around the waist, and then sewed them back together. I reattached the skirt to the bodice and added a tiny rolled hem to the bottom.
I love it. As you can see in the pictures it has a beautiful drape that is hard to resist spinning in just a little. The flared edge of the back pulls the front skirt out and enhances the A-Line shape just slightly. Even though I evened out the bodice the front still sits a little higher than the back because it drapes over my bust (obviously). This raises the front of the skirt just slightly and gives a very subtle high-low hem, which I wasn’t planning for but I do like.
What do you think? I’m so glad that it turned out so nicely even though I fiddled with it so much, and I’m thrilled that I was able to turn something that was just sitting in my closet into something that will get lots of wear this summer. A new outfit and I didn’t even spend a cent, woo hoo! 🙂